The Olympic Games are about to kick off so let's enjoy some virtual events in the meantime with The Official Tokyo 2020 Video Game.
Throughout my few decades of gaming, I've always made note to pick up the latest Olympics video games because although they range wildly in quality, even the bad ones can be great fun to play with friends. Thankfully, this Tokyo 2020 game is one of the good ones as it contains 18 events with most of them being at least decent as well as features an overall appealing sense of style. Specifically, the athletes come in many shapes and sizes and there's a certain cartoonish quality about them. Throw in some goofy costumes and you're left with a fun-filled presentation. You can even create and dress up your own athletes which adds a sense of personality.
Before getting to the events, I'd like to discuss the overall structure. For starters, you can play solo or with another local player either against AI or online opponents. Although it's great that you can have a combination of local and online multiplayer, the fact that you can't have more than 2 local players is a bit disappointing. If you go it alone, you're free to practice each event and take on online opponents in ranked games when you're confident which are timed so you can always come back to see how well you can place. I also appreciate the option to partake in multiple events back-to-back via preset and custom medleys as that makes for fun party gameplay.
Okay, time to light the torch! First up, 100m Dash is simple stuff although this Tokyo 2020 video game implements something cool in that you can utilize special moves not only in this event but others, too. For example, you can tap the button in an onscreen prompt to sprint super-fast or unleash a powerful shot in Tennis that reminded me of what Mario and his friends can do. Anyway, this element definitely spruces up the events in a clever way. Moving on; 110m Hurdles is pretty fun as timing when to jump can be tricky. Meanwhile, 4x100m Relay isn't that good as my gaming chum and I couldn't figure out how to play it effectively as the AI opponents kept beating us. That's the thing; the computer-controlled athletes range between events from super-easy to brutal and it's very inconsistent.
Hammer Throw is another simple event that's quite satisfying when you get a perfect throw and the same could be said about Long Jump. The 2 swimming events (100m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley) are quite similar and I much preferred the latter with its alternating controls and stamina system. BMX is a rather basic event where you go as fast as possible while trying to time jumps and Sport Climbing is pretty elementary, too, although its shortcut system adds an enjoyable layer of strategy. Boxing and Judo are kind of disappointing as they felt more random than anything, especially Judo with its awkward stamina system and unintuitive gauges.
Finally, let's discuss the sports. They're all basically boiled-down versions of their full-fledged counterparts but that makes them easier to pick-up-and-play. Baseball lasts the longest and it's enjoyable but becomes rather tedious. Basketball and Football (Soccer) are played very similarly although I couldn't figure out how to score effectively in Football because my goal attempts kept soaring over the net. Table Tennis is probably the weakest sport due to its clunky analogue stick controls but I'm not sure about Rugby Sevens because even after reading about it, I still don't understand the rules. That leaves Tennis and Beach Volleyball which are alike and both are fairly entertaining. That being said, the player at the back of the screen in Tennis has a disadvantage because it's much harder to judge things.
As one of the better Olympic Video Games, Tokyo 2020 provides a lot of fun whether you prefer playing solo, with a friend, or with folks online. Also, not all of its events may be gold medal worthy but its charming presentation certainly is.
- + Solid variety of events and most of them are quite fun with friends
- + Charming and appealing visual style
- + Cool extras and online multiplayer
- - Some events are too simple to be fun and others can be too irritating
- - Can't have more than 2 local players
- - AI is inconsistent between events