Earns a place on the podium
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games occur this summer, but Nintendo and Sega are already cashing in on the competition fun with Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the first of two Rio 2016 Olympic titles featuring Nintendo's and Sega's all-star mascots. The last handheld Mario & Sonic game failed to be that enthralling with a modest amount of content and some frustrating controls. However, with Rio 2016, Sega is back on the right foot, out of the showers, and ready to compete.
The main single player mode in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games' 3DS version is the Road to Rio. Here, you get the choice of joining either the Mario or Sonic gym, and you compete in a week-long event-filled mode with your Mii. Each day starts off with you being introduced to your opponent for the finals of a particular event. Each day has a different event that is played, and not only that, but the event played also depends on the gym you're representing.
First things first, however, you need to complete the preliminary round for a given day before you can take on the Mario or Sonic gym rival for the finals. You can immediately jump into the preliminaries and hope for the best, but it's recommended to explore the map and participate in various training mini-games of which there are two to four each per day. These training mini-games are bite-sized events that focus on individual challenges featuring simplistic versions of sports like kayaking, long-distance swimming, badminton, water polo, and handball. I call these simplistic versions because you're not doing the entirety of each sport. For instance, for handball, you merely serve as the goalie, trying to block as many shots as possible from entering the net.
|Metal Sonic wants to prove that he's superior to the hedgehog he was modeled after.|
When you're prepared to take on the CPU in the preliminaries, you take on three other Miis in that day's event. Once you've done that, you can participate in the finals against that day's rival in that day's event. Beating your rival ends the day and starts a new one with a completely new rival and a completely new event.
|Each event has some semblance of depth to keep you coming back for more. Well, some more than others.|
|Now, remember, Wario. That's a javelin, and not a toothpick to clean all of the garlic from between your teeth.|
|These hurdles rise and lower to trip runners up in the 110m Hurdles Plus event.|
|Bowser Jr. learned grace like this from Mama Peach back in the day.|
|Each event shows you the controls ahead of time, as well as on the bottom screen in case you need a reminder.|
The major addition to the event lineup with Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is golf, which hasn't been seen at the Summer Olympics in over 110 years. It returns to great effect, using the stylus to draw down on the touch screen and then quickly drawing a line forward to hit the ball on one of 18 different holes. Depending on how far back you draw a line, the power of your shot is altered, making for some precision golfing as something necessary if you want to stay under par.
|A perfect swing. When can we see a Sonic Golf game to rival Mario Golf, Sega?|
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is a gorgeous and well performing Nintendo 3DS game. The character models are highly detailed and impressive, and the backgrounds and environments are suitably bright and cheery, perfect for the sunbathed goodness that is Rio de Janeiro. The only real noticeable frame-rate problems is during slow motion instant replays. It doesn't look slowed down, more like the frame-rate sinks to under 10 FPS. Otherwise, the game runs smoothly.
|The visuals are nice, especially with the 3D slider on|
Overall, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is the best the series has seen on a handheld. Despite feeling like a lower budget affair compared to its upcoming console brethren (and let's face it-- that's because it IS a much lower budget affair), Mario & Sonic's latest sports entertaining events, mostly well done controls, awesome Download Play support, a sizable amount of content, and an impressive presentation. This game definitely deserves a place on the proverbial podium.
[SPC Says: B-]