Mario Sports Mix Review
Mario Sports Mix Box Art
System: Wii
Dev: Square Enix
Pub: Nintendo
Release: February 7, 2011
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 480p

The AI players in the game are about as smart as lamp posts. Playing through a single-player campaign for the first time is pretty much mindless. In fact, I actually forgot to pause the game when I left the room once, and I came back to find that a minute and a half had counted off in my absence yet my opponent had failed to score a single point.

However, single-player gets much more interesting your second time through. Even though the AI remains hopelessly clueless, you are allowed to explore alternate paths on the tournament map. Each alternate path is filled with random challenges that allow you to unlock cool extras like bonus characters, costumes, and even extra courts. There are even a few characters from the Final Fantasy games for you to unlock. My personal favorite is the black mage, who can toss fireballs and send down lightning to strike opponents. This guy definitely won't play fair.

Mario Sports Mix Screenshot

SPOILER ALERT: Even better, once you beat all three cups (Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, and Star Cup) for every sport, an unexpected twist is thrown at you: you suddenly get tossed into a boss fight against Behemoth from Final Fantasy. And it's pretty epic. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to hurl turtle shells at a Final Fantasy boss, you finally get your chance.

The real meat of this game is multiplayer. Each sport is exponentially better when played against a real opponent who can strategize against you. Mario Sports Mix allows you to play online, giving it the chance to completely redeem itself (we can forgive sketchy single-player tournaments if we're given a phenomenal online experience). Sadly, Mario Sports Mix makes it incredibly difficult to find matches against random opponents. I logged in on release day – the day I would have most expected to find large amounts of players anxiously awaiting some real competition – yet I was still stuck waiting ten to fifteen minutes to find a match. And if you play online all alone, there is no option to choose 2v2 matches. You are forced to play 3v3 unless you happen to get matched with someone who actually has two human players sharing the same Wii. As a player who prefers 2v2, this felt like a lose-lose situation for me. I would either get stuck in a 3v3 match, or be teamed up with a hopelessly stupid AI character against two humans who could concoct complex strategies against me.

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I got a small group of friends to try out local multiplayer, and that is where the game took on a real life of its own. Having opponents and teammates in the same room made for an exceptional gaming experience. The hours flew by as we developed more and more aggressive strategies to further humiliate whichever friends we were facing off against.

Mario Sports Mix tries to do too much at once. It's a mixed bag of bite-sized pieces, and many of those pieces feel like they could have used a bit more polish. But I must admit, some of the pieces work exceptionally well. The bottom line: this has potential to be great party game if you can ignore the weaker sports on the disc and the shallow single-player experience.

By Josh Wirtanen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.3
Graphics
Mario Sports Mix throws a lot of detail into its environments, but remains perfectly happy not pushing the graphical capabilities of the Wii. And this console is definitely showing its age.
3.2
Control
Hockey and basketball have near-perfect control schemes. Unfortunately, volleyball is a mess you'll probably want to avoid.
3.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Some of the classic Mario sound FX that pop up in this game are pure gold. The music, however, features a few great tracks scattered among a whole pile of forgettable ones.
3.5
Play Value
Hockey is so much fun that it will win over even the most jaded skeptics. But dodgeball will get old very quickly, and volleyball is just plain awful. While multiplayer is where this game shines, the single-player tournaments are fairly dull until the second playthrough, when alternate paths and bonus challenges become available.
3.3
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Compete in four different sports and some unique mini-games.
  • Choose from a variety of playable Mushroom Kingdom characters or challenge Mario and friends directly by playing as your own Mii™ characters.
  • In over-the-top Mario sports fashion, each character can unleash his or her unique special moves, ranging from Mario's fire dunk in basketball to Yoshi's rainbow attack in dodgeball.
  • Up to four friends who are in the same room can join in the fun, while up to four players (one or two at each location) can compete over a broadband Internet connection via Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Mario Sports Mix Preview Trailer   - click to enlarge
    Preview Trailer
    Mario Sports Mix E3 2010: Debut - Gameplay Trailer  - click to enlarge
    E3 2010: Debut - Gameplay Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge Mario Sports Mix Screenshot - click to enlarge

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