It’s no secret that the Nintendo Wii library is full of simply terrible shovelware sports-themed games. On the other hand, it’s also full of quality Mario games. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I decided to pick this game up. Mario Sports Mix is a sports video game developed by Square Enix and was released on February 7, 2011. It features volleyball, field hockey, ice hockey, dodgeball and street basketball. The game features numerous characters from the Mario series and has a few characters from Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. This all sounds like a serious recipe for success, but the game certainly fell short of my expectations.
The major problem I found with Mario Sports Mix is the fact that I simply felt like I was playing mini-games the entire time. The game never felt like a full experience. The game starts out fun and friendly as expected, but there’s simply not much to the game. While there certainly is a strong element of Mario charm present, it simply wasn’t enough.
Ice hockey was probably my favorite of the sports, due to the fact that it was fast-paced and relatively fun in short bursts. Despite being fun, there’s absolutely no challenge involved in any of the games. Controls are very simple and the computer opponents are way too easy. I never lost a single game the entire time I played. If you have another person to play against, it certainly adds value to the game. Playing solo is a total bore after several minutes.
Volleyball was the absolute worst sport in the entire game. I’d basically consider it an utter yawn-fest. It took all the patience I had just to make it through a couple games. When I think of Mario games, I think of fun, challenge and charm. Mario Sports Mix has the charm, but really lacks the other two.
Game progression is what you’d probably expect from a Mario game. The tournament style progression includes Mushroom, Flower and Star Cups. Unfortunately, there’s really no difference in challenge from one cup to another. It’s incredibly easy to demolish the computer on all levels.
Two areas that were decent in the game are graphics and sound. There’s nothing in these two categories that will blow your mind away, but they were what you’d expect from a Mario game. Unfortunately, graphics and sound weren’t enough to save this title.
In the end, Mario Sports Mix is a title slightly worth renting, but only if you have a physical friend to play with. Playing against another person is the only way you’re going to feel any sense of challenge with this game. Simple mechanics, an easy AI and lack of overall depth kept this from being a good game. The game is never completely bad, but it never shines. If you are looking for a game that requires any kind of skill, look elsewhere. This was definitely not a shining moment for the usually reliable Mario.