3DS Review: Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Can the handheld version go for gold against its Wii brethren?

I remember the first Mario and Sonic game and how crazy it seemed that two such rivals would ever be on the same console, let alone the same game. It’s an idea that’s paid off quite well for Sega and Nintendo as the series has sold millions and is one of the most recognisable brands on the Wii, DS and now 3DS. It’s been a while since the unlikely duo got together for a good old-fashioned showdown, so do they still have what it takes or will they come in last place?

This London iteration comes with over 50 different events to try, which is worth the price of admission alone. These range from sprints, hurdles, archery, boxing, fencing, swimming and so on. Some are obviously better than others, but they do make good use of the 3DS’ features like the tilt controls, microphone and touch-screen, as well as the standard buttons. If you played any previous Mario and Sonic game, then you know what to expect in terms of difficulty, it can be pretty high as you try and get the gold.

There’s a Story mode included which has Bowser and Dr. Eggman working together to ruin the games by putting London under ridiculous levels of fog. It’s good to see these two side-by-side and I for one would love to see them do so in a game outside the sports genre. The story mode basically pits you against rivals in events to progress it; it’s nothing special but nice nonetheless. Multiplayer is limited only to local play, but leaderboards are online.

Unfortunately the 3D effect becomes more of a hindrance than a help during some events, I would suggest turning it off for events where you need to tilt the 3DS as you lose the effect as a result. It’s a double-edged sword really as it’s actually a really nice effect when you keep the 3DS in a prime spot, but moving it around just eliminates it.

As you would expect, the roster remains the same with appearances from the likes of Tails, Luigi, Knuckles, Metal Sonic, Amy, Yoshi.etc, each suited to specific events. Like I said, the controls for events vary and while most work well, some aren’t the best like sailing where you have to blow into the microphone at specific points to get a good gust, it sounds good on paper but it doesn’t work as well as it should. Visually, it’s a nice looking game. It definitely makes use of the 3DS hardware and the load times are relatively short, while voices are a mixed bag, as I’m sure you know that their voices can be somewhat annoying at times.

The Verdict

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is a decent entry for the series and for the 3DS. It has tons of events, and although the replay value is somewhat limited by the repetitive nature of the game, trying to beat totals on the leaderboard will be sure to keep you going for quite some time.