Mario Sports Mix is not the first sports spin-off Nintendo has come up with. Mario has tried his hand at tennis, basket ball, and golf. And don’t forget Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. This time round, Mario Sports Mix features four sports: basketball, hockey, volleyball, and dodgeball. All the usual modes are present – single player, tournament modes and a host of multiplayer features. There are plenty of unlockables. So, the game provides the bare essentials for a party game, but how does it hold up?

Asthetically, there is nothing wrong with the game. The presentation has the usual Nintendo polish to it. The characters are vibrant, quircky and faithful to their series. The graphics are very solid indeed, with a great frame rate, colourfulness, and fluid and detailed animations. The sound, whilst a bit repetitive, adds nicely to the informal Nintendo atmosphere. Good stuff here.

The gameplay is where Mario Sports Mix faulters, and the good first impression left by the solid graphics disappears. Compared to the more successful Mario Sports games, Mario Sports Mix feels watered-down and is often frustrating to play. Dodgeball is perhaps the worst game. Sadly, Dodgeball in this game just relies on being able to press a button quickly enough – your opponent throws the ball and you have to press a single button to catch it, there isn’t much more to it than that. Volleyball is also very static, since all you have to do to make sure you hit the ball is guide your character to the location the game tells you to go to. Hockey and Basketball are the better two games but they suffer from some glaring problems. Hockey is very simplistic and relies on the RNG of the computer-controlled goal keeper – at one moment the goalie is asleep, the next it is impossible to get a shot past them. Basketball suffers from a similar problem, it is extremely easy for a character to block any shots, so matchs are decided on whether you get a lucky shot in, or they can drag on in stalemate.

Ultimately, Mario Sports Mix is a rather lazy rehash that is nothing more than just another average Nintendo party game. In some respects the gameplay is severly lacking, in many others it’s just distinctly average. Mario Sports Mix is not a disaster, but it lacks any real depth and there is simply no reason to buy this game when there are so many other better party games out there, and so many other amazing games lined up for the Wii this year. Save your money for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword instead.

Mario Sports Mix Rating: 5/10



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