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Mario Sports Mix review

Jack of all trades, master of some

In the GameCube era Mario seemed to be appearing in a sports game every six months. With his recent adventures in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii though, Mario hasn't really had time to get involved in too many sporting activities in the past few years (other than the Sega-developed Mario & Sonic games). Mario Sports Mix hopes to make up for this by chucking four sports into one game.

Basketball is essentially a big-screen version of Mario Slam Basketball for DS. The controls have been simplified from the DS game as you can no longer control how your character bounces the ball (which you could do by tapping the screen in the DS game) and there are no more coin panels on the floor for extra points but it's a little too easy to score.

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Hockey is also easy enough to get to grips with whether you're playing it on ice or on other surfaces. You press A to pass, flick the Remote to shoot and you can aim your shot by moving the Control Stick. At first this can make things a little difficult as the Control Stick also moves your character but when you get used to it you appreciate having extra control over your shots.

Volleyball is the weakest game of the four. You'll be doing very little here, other than flicking the Remote and pressing the A button. That said, it does share hockey's shot-aiming feature which does make you actually feel like you're playing the game and not simply flicking the Remote to slap a ball wherever the game decides it should go.

Dodgeball is fun though. Naturally, the aim is to smack your opponents with the ball to lower their energy bar, while avoiding hits yourself. If a character runs out of energy, they're out of the game and have to stand on the sidelines until they can catch a loose ball and hit someone with it to bring them back into the game. When the timer runs out (or when you've eliminated all three opponents before then) the team with the highest total energy left wins. It's a good laugh, even if the slight delay between hitting your opponent and them reacting makes it less satisfying than it should be.

Stadium Arcadium

There's a variety of different arenas, and these are unlocked as you play through the numerous tournaments. Each one offers its own interesting twist on things and forces you to rethink your strategy as you play. For example, one of the hockey stages places large cones in front of the goal, requiring you to break those first with the puck before you can get a shot in. There are also loads of Mario references dotted around, like the Mario Kart racers that drive round the court in one arena, or Lakitu popping up to drop the puck during face-offs in hockey.

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It all sounds promising but the difficulty curve is so low that the first two tournaments in each sport are mind-numbingly dull to play through. We appreciate games starting off quite easy to appeal to players of all ages, but we won the Mushroom Cup basketball tournament with scores of 108-0, 97-0 and 102-0. Even the final tournament, the Star Cup, is nowhere near as difficult as its equivalent in the likes of Mario Strikers Charged Football and Mario Slam Basketball. This leaves anyone playing solo with a fairly empty experience.

Of course, games like this are really all about the multiplayer and whether you're playing locally with four people or taking part in online matches (which were more or less lag-free in the games we played) it's certainly a much more entertaining experience. It's still not without its niggles, though. The lack of variation in the voice samples gets very annoying.

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Comments

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  1. Joe_Crow Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 12:03

    Dissapointing :/ Toadstool tour and Power Tennis will never be beaten.

  2. Ai64 Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 12:03

    Shame that it lacks some challenge in single player. Still, this is worth getting for good mario sports fun and online play to boot.

  3. MarioMagic Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 12:10

    I knew it would'nt be really good. It just seems so boring. Epic Yarn for me.

  4. wewantkirby Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 12:38

    bit of a shame there :( , ill stick to super mario charged football for now then.

  5. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 13:21

    I was really surprise at the score ONM gave it but it does prove that not all Mario games are Gold award material.
    I won't get it but I might pick this up when the price go down.
    Mind you the only thing what interests me is the online mode.

  6. GamerKid Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 16:55

    You Guys do relise this is ONM'S opinion. Still, a low score for Mario and Co.

  7. DK Forever Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 18:12

    The online mode does interest me, but there is no way in hell that i'll buy this. I don't like the idea of having FF characters playing hockey with legends like Mario and Luigi. Exactly the same reason i didn't buy mario hoops, which was a decent game nonetheless, but i hate the idea of playing with DK and bowser and being beaten by such a crap idea like slime or cactuar. No deal.

  8. LaytonMario3 Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 19:29

    Not suprising, considering the original mario slam basketball game recieved a simliar mark. It was harder, mind.

  9. GamerKid Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 20:05

    Not suprising, considering the original mario slam basketball game recieved a simliar mark. It was harder, mind.

    It got, like 82%.

    10% Difference.

  10. Cyberguy Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 20:35

    Yeah, I'll be getting this, for the online. It does look like great fun, ONM just say it's bad in single-player. I'll get all that out the way and enjoy the game. :D

    The FF characters were a stupid addition, but I'm ignoring them.

  11. LaytonMario3 Thursday 3rd Feb 2011 at 21:00

    Not suprising, considering the original mario slam basketball game recieved a simliar mark. It was harder, mind.

    It got, like 82%.

    10% Difference.

    It had a lot better characters and not as easy. Makes a 10% difference

  12. Deep4t Friday 4th Feb 2011 at 03:12

    i expected this score. mario power tennis was super easy, so this is probably...reaaaally easy.

    and, it's boring when a game is too easy. also unlocking all the extras for every sport? lame
    I'm not gonna get it.

  13. piccadillio Saturday 5th Feb 2011 at 12:33

    Ouch. Take a look at what they highlighted as the plus-points. I think 'Arenas are well designed' says more about the game than any other part of the review. Another party-game dud from Nintendo? Could the casual revolution have fizzled out as quickly as it arrived?

    The software being released can't sustain the Wii for long, because the audience they have aimed for doesn't buy enough games. Casual gamers need new gimmicks that are instantly palpable, and the Wii is out of cards to play. They'll announce a new console soon.

  14. Paper Luigi Saturday 5th Feb 2011 at 20:02

    I was really surprise at the score ONM gave it but it does prove that not all Mario games are Gold award material.
    I won't get it but I might pick this up when the price go down.
    Mind you the only thing what interests me is the online mode.

    Not really, it's not developed by Nintendo its made by Square-Enix.

    Same for Mario Party 8.

  15. piccadillio Sunday 6th Feb 2011 at 11:29

    I was really surprise at the score ONM gave it but it does prove that not all Mario games are Gold award material.
    I won't get it but I might pick this up when the price go down.
    Mind you the only thing what interests me is the online mode.

    Not really, it's not developed by Nintendo its made by Square-Enix.

    Same for Mario Party 8.

    Did you read 'Mario' as 'Nintendo'? Because when he said Mario games, I think he meant Mario games as in games that are starring Mario. Or, games where Mario is the first word of the title.

  16. kirby711 Sunday 6th Feb 2011 at 17:11

    Mamma mia... No good...

  17. Icytroid1993 Saturday 5th Mar 2011 at 16:59

    I completely disagree with onm on this one. also all of you have said that the game is not so good and is too easy! Thats simply not true, mario sports mix is fantastic! Its got four full sports, there is loads to do with a great online mode to back it up! Its not boring in single player. play the hard tournaments and that'll prove that the game is not easy! I actually found it challenging. I don't think i'm terrible at the game, because i've completed all the metroids including prime with 100% and so on, i'm not being big headed by saying that, it's just i don't know how anyone can say that this game is easy! it requires skill! i've really enjoyed this game so far and i would even go as far and say that it's one of my favourite mario sports titles :)

  18. Icytroid1993 Monday 7th Mar 2011 at 15:23

    I have to laugh, because a lot of people have said that the game is too easy and they say that kirbys epic yarn is........well, epic. yeah right.....epic yarn is so easy its laughable!!! :lol: Also PICCADILLIO is wrong by saying that the wii is out of ideas :( Why would the wii still be beating the likes of sony and microsoft in sales if it was out of ideas??? Its one of the most intuitive consoles ever made! We continue to have big releases to look forward to, last year we had the likes of metroid other m with its interesting new gameplay style which rocked by the way, galaxy 2 speaks for itself, donkey kong, black ops, the list goes on! Nintendo continue to innovate with the wii 8)

  19. boofan25 Friday 15th Apr 2011 at 16:13

    games like this and mario and sonic at the olympic games are only really fun with someone else playing with you :o

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