E3 2019 Hands-on – Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the first sports minigame collection to come out for the Switch will sell millions and become a staple title among the console’s casual audience. I was expecting for Konami’s Hyper Sports R, originally showcased at E3 2018, to be said title, but I have heard nothing about the game ever since last year’s event. Guess it’s time for Mario and Sonic to claim that throne, as I had the chance to play Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 at E3 2019 and found out that it’s actually a pretty fun collection of minigames!

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Payback.

Those Olympic-styled titles featuring Mario and Sonic aren’t exactly new. Sega has been making games in this style ever since 2007. The thing is, this is the first time a game like this will be released for a system that can’t play Wii Sports. A system that is in desperate need of more casual party games, as it only features Super Mario Party as a noteworthy entry (the less we say about 1-2 Switch, the better).

The main selling point of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is the fact that extreme sports have been added to the Olympic roster for the first time, meaning that this title features skateboarding and surfing minigames. Karate has also been added. All of those minigames were playable at E3 2019, and surprisingly enough, had more depth than expected.

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Please add Superman to the soundtrack, I beg you!

Skateboarding was your standard Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater clone. There were no motion controls or unnecessary gimmicks. The controls were pretty much the same as other skate games, with a dedicated ollie button, grab button and grind button. Karate was a simple but entertaining fighting minigame, with different buttons for punches, kicks, and blocks, all following the standard karate scoring system. The surfing minigame featured optional motion controls, and they worked fine enough. Using the joycon to balance your character when inside a tube was actually very fun. I like the how the Switch has finally made motion controls fun, immersive and unintrusive, just like in Arms.

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This might end up being the best surfing game (or at least a game featuring surfing) of the past 20 years.

Those were the three main games that were featured in the demo, as well as some other minigames featured in previous editions. I played the game with other people, and it was a lot of fun, way more than expected. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 might just be a collection of sports minigames, but you can clearly see that Sega and Nintendo have put quite a bit of effort into each and every one of them. I know I said that about Hyper Sports R last year, but Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 might actually be the Wii Sports that the Switch desperately needs. At the very least we have a release date for this one: November 2019.

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