Everyone's favourite red-hatted superstar has seen his fair share of spin-offs over the years. Here we have four sports in one game but was it worth the recent port to Wii U? Lace up your sneakers and let's find out.
Although Mario Sports Mix sounds like a delicious snack, it's actually a collection of four games each with that classic Nintendo twist. Whether it's basketball, volleyball, hockey, or dodgeball; you're in for the same enjoyable and easily accessible gameplay that Mario is famous for. Each game is controlled simply with a combination of button presses and remote shaking. After reading the in-game instructions, you may assume that it'll take a while to learn how to play because they go into such specific detail. However, it's a better idea to just jump in and start playing then read the instructions later to pick up a few things because each game is handled very intuitively. You can play with up to four players either competitively, cooperatively, or a combination of the two. Overall, Mario Sports Mix makes gaming with friends enjoyable due to its easy to pick up and play controls and variety of content.
List of characters in Mario Sports Mix
It should be noted that you can also play as your Mii. Anyway, the collection of characters is pretty cool. I love the fact that you can play as a handful of Final Fantasy characters and a Slime from Dragon Quest. Of course, those six characters are locked until you accomplish certain tasks. Although the selection is decent, I miss being able to play as common Mario enemies such as Birdo, Dry Bones, Boo, and Koopa Troopa. Also, Rosalina and Toadette would have helped round out the cast but neither of them is included.
Mario Sports Mix is a fantastically charming experience. Everything from the character animations to the elaborately designed courts makes each sport come to life. I frequently got distracted while playing by watching Toads race around in karts in the background or looking at a bunch of Miis observing the event. There's so much detail in every environment that it's hard not to have a good time playing. On top of that, the energetic soundtrack and satisfying effects add a layer of enjoyment to the festivities. With this many visual and aural delights, it's easy to see why so many gamers just can't get enough of Mario's vibrant universe.
As I've already mentioned, the courts are beautifully rendered. However, many of them also change the gameplay. For example, the net in basketball might switch to a plant and you can only score when its mouth is open, or the volleyball court could take place on rafts that slowly drift around. This adds a ton of variety as it makes every match unique. If that's not enough, you can also play four party mini-games that are based on each of the sports. I enjoyed Smash Skate most as it reminded me of Namco's arcade classic Motos where you try to shove your opponents off the stage. There's so much content that you can play for hours and still have fun.
I haven't talked much about the sports themselves yet so let's get to it. Basically, basketball and hockey are the best two as they each have a perfect balance of excitement and simplicity. That being said, they're also very similar as they both involve roughly the same controls and general gameplay. You can fight in hockey, though, so that's cool. Unfortunately, volleyball is the weakest sport here because of its downright boring gameplay. Not only do matches seem to go on forever, you don't have to do much in order to play and there's a lot of waiting involved. It's the opposite of Mario Tennis. Finally, although dodgeball can be enjoyable, it's also extremely chaotic and difficult to follow. I found being able to catch balls and hit enemies to be very random and it just feels like a mess of a game.
Mario Sports Mix is just what the title suggests: a mix. There are a couple of very enjoyable sports and two that don't quite offer the same level of fun. However, with so much content and variety set in such a lively world; how can you not love the time you spend playing sports in the Mushroom Kingdom? In the end, I'm glad that Nintendo revived this delightful collection.
- + Simple yet enjoyable gameplay for up to four players across four sports
- + Presentation is bursting with charm
- + Courts and mini-games add variety
- - Volleyball is too boring to be fun and dodgeball is too chaotic to follow
- - Basketball and hockey are very similar
- - Could use a few more Mario characters