Review: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Wii U)

Mario and Sonic at the Rio Olympics 2016 is the latest video game release in the Mario & Sonic franchise since 2013, and the second entry in the Mario & Sonic series on the Wii U. Is this the same old generic game like the past few, or is it completely different?

I’m a huge fan of the Mario & Sonic series. I have never had much interest in the Olympics since I’m not a sports fan, but I love these games because they are actually pretty fun.

This newer addition to the series boats a new first; football. There are a few different kinds of football matches. Regular football, rugby sevens, and dual football. This game doesn’t have dream events. However there is dual mode instead. Dual mode kind of acts like dream events but only features in some games and not others. For example, in dual mode football, you can use Mario items for both characters and the game encourages you to kick and attack the other players as much as possible, making the sport more enjoyable. The regular football match acts like a real life football game and it’s set in a stadium. I like to hear the crowd sing along to their own anthem while they’re waiting for you to kick a recovery goal. It feels like you’re in a real stadium. If you attack players in regular football you’ll get a fowl and they’ll get a penalty shot.

Other single player sports have been in other games before but look kind of updated, so it feels like you’re not playing the same games all the time. The controls in single player heavily focus on using the Wii U game pad which is great because in the last game you had to keep switching between the Wii U game pad and Wii remote controls in certain games, even in single player mode. Many stages are dramatically different. Cycling is now a lot easier, but the tracks are bigger. Javelin heavily encourages you to use the Wii U game pad, but a stylus is needed to throw the Javelin. Table tennis again uses the Wii U game pad, which is a lot easier than using a Wii Remote in my opinion. You can run around more freely this time round than in previous versions.

The sport which has dramatically changed the most, however, is gymnastics. For the past games in the series the Wii Remote was required to spin along to the music. Now it’s turned into a event similar to Stepmania, where you have to time the markers right by pressing required buttons in time with the music. Equestrian (a sport I was horrible at in London 2012) feels a lot easier this time round because it’s used for the Gamepad.
However the sport I am the most frustratingly bad at is Long Jump. I have tried many times to get the timing of my triple jumps right but always end up having a fowl on the second jump…so I gave up.
Running 200m has always been a favorite of mine, and in this game it’s no exception. I managed to also get the Olympic Record (9.426 seconds) after just a couple of goes.

When you begin the game you start up in a hub world (Rio de Janero itself). Boxing is also another favorite of mine. Shout out to my best pal Big the Cat for making his long awaited comeback, but only as a NPC. This game has lots of new characters as well to unlock, from different official Olympic events. These new characters include Eggman Nega, Sticks, Jet, Wave, Zazz, Zavok and Rouge. New Mario characters include Birdo, Ludwig, Dry Bones, Diddy Kong, Dry Bowser, Rosalina, Nabbit, Wendy, Larry and Roy.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympics feels more like you’re playing the actual Olympic events, rather than playing video game versions of it although it is indeed a video game, and a rather fun one it is too.