Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games preview: an Olympic grind

It’s that time again when we look forward to the opening ceremonies of the next Olympic games and then forget about the rest of it a day later. While awaiting said day, you can join Mario, Sonic, and friends as they head on over to Rio before everyone else.

I’ve sunk a good few hours into Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (M&S Rio 2016) on the Nintendo 3DS. Simplified, the game allows you to play as different characters from the Sonic and Mario franchises in different Olympic events.

M&S Rio 2016’s gameplay varies from event to event with each being a mini game. It’s essentially a collection of mini-games. I’ve found the difficult to begin at the absurdly easy, requiring a few button taps, to the stupidly difficult using the system’s accelerometer.

At the heart of the game is the Road to Rio story-driven mode. Yes, there’s a story mode in a video game about the Olympics. You’ll choose between Mario and Sonic, though if you’re awesome like I am you’ll take Sonic’s side, to participate on behalf of one of their gyms. Apparently there’s a rivalry between the two factions, but the game hasn’t really gone into detail about that.

One of the differences between the two sides is acquiring either a Sonic or Mario suit for your Mii. Collectionists will be playing through the entire mode twice.

Read more: Mario & Sonic head for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Nintendo 3DS

There is a grinding aspect to the story mode where you’ll complete training events over and over in order to level up. This increase in level – or starts — allows your Mii to wear new outfits with stat boosts. Because of the grind I’ve yet to see or unlock everything in story mode thus far.

Of course, there’s a standard option to play all of the events on their own, but I’ve opted not to until completing the story mode. Something about being forced to only play certain events at a time is working for the game.

Something I didn’t think I’d enjoy is the Pocket Marathon mode. It accesses the 3DS’s pedometer and counts your steps, which are used in virtual marathons. Why take part? To snage items for your in-game character of course. I found myself walking a few extra steps each day to get further in the mode.

The graphics are what you’d expect from this type of game. Thus far the overworld is pretty but scarcely populated and character models have excellent pixel counts during events.

I have yet to give the multiplayer components a spin, but will do so before we review the title.

So far the game has been enjoyable, though the frustrating parts have made me want to throw the 3DS against a wall. And on that note, expect the full review soon.



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