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Mario Sports Mix review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • Creative levels
  • Addictive minigames
  • Solid sport events
  • Where's the football?
  • Getting trounced online
  • Peachy Pink Overload

Nintendo has proven time and time again that it can slap Mario and the gang on the cover of pretty much any kind of game, punt it out the door, and it’ll sell. The franchise has been largely synonymous with quality, though a few duds have snuck into the line-up. Past attempts to pair the heroic plumber with popular sporting pastimes haven’t always yielded the best results, but Mario Sports Mix strikes the right balance between solid sporting action and Mushroom Kingdom-themed wackiness.

This Mario-themed sports package lets you craft custom teams from the franchise’s many silly heroes and villains before diving into upbeat games of basketball, volleyball, hockey, and dodge ball. Single exhibition games offer shorter bursts of fun, while the longer tournament modes let you dig in and unlock additional goodies as you play against increasingly tougher opponents. Playing alone lets you hop around between AI teammates. Alternately, you can roll with up to three other couch buddies or head online for some Wi-Fi matches against friends or strangers. For hardcore stat-heads, the game records a detailed run-down of your performance and tons of extra info to track – all excellent fuel for competitive boasting between buds.

Offering 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 matches, each main event plays out like the core sport it’s based on, though the inclusion of familiar power-ups and unique arena designs changes the action up in entertaining ways. Koopa shells, invincibility stars, slippery bananas, and other items let you trip up opponents and get a leg-up on the competition, and collecting coins that appear in matches lets you boost your score. The levels themselves also feature many popular settings culled from the Mario universe, and each introduces unusual hazards and elements that pop up to shake things up. For example, B-balling in the desert stage means you’ll have to contend with incoming trains that roll right through the court and spew bananas everywhere. Playing volleyball in the haunted mansion throws random ghosts into the fray that turn the lights out and affect the ball trajectory. These surprises are mostly pleasant ones. They don’t deviate much from what you’d expect to find in a Mario sports title, though they also don’t dilute the straightforward fun found in the solid sport events.

Streamlined Wii Remote controls feature similar control setups for each of the four games, which makes it very easy to move from one sport to the next with little fuss. For those who need a little extra handholding, there are interactive tutorials that quickly walk you through the basics. Playing with a Nunchuk works well, but we really like the fact that all each player needs is a Wii Remote to jump in and play.

Beyond the four main events, you’ll find party-style minigames that resemble the core sporting activities but also add fresh elements like hurling fruit into the gaping maw of a large piranha plant, dodging bombardments of falling explosives, catching musical notes, and knocking opponents off an iceberg. Though they’re on the simple side, these multiplayer-focused diversions are great for getting the competitive juices flowing before going head-to-head in the main game.

Don’t judge Mario Sports Mix by some of the other variable quality sports gaming fare we’ve seen the plumber appear in; this collection has sturdy legs beneath it. The individual sports woven into this collection may not be quite as fleshed-out as you’d expect from standalone games, but there’s enough depth and variety to merit some marathon rounds alone or with friends. It’s easy to get sucked into a quick game or two and wind up blowing through hours of matches. Team Mario doesn’t strike out this time around.

Feb 9, 2011

More Info

Release date: Feb 07 2011 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Sports
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Square Enix
Franchise: Mario
ESRB Rating:
Everyone

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23 comments

  • RandomIdoit - February 11, 2011 3:51 a.m.

    So the game sucked and then got an 8? ERROR! please at least make an attempt to make sense next time.
  • Samael - February 10, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    Yeah...after watching the FAP...I'm having an extremely hard time agreeing with this score...
  • revrock - February 10, 2011 7:56 p.m.

    OK Gamesradar, I bought this just because of your review.. I was looking for something to play with my wife and it was either this or You don't Know Jack for PS3... I trust your review over all the negative press on this one... even pointed out to my wife how much I trust your reviews... please don't let me down (like the time I convinced her to let me buy a XBOX 360 HD DVD player because HD DVD's were the "wave of the future."
  • Japanaman - February 10, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    I expected a score of 6. Interesting...
  • Aletheon - February 10, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    Halo Reach was more like a 7.
  • The_Tingler - February 10, 2011 1:05 p.m.

    Hmm, yeah, I think Chris Antista might be having words with you about this review.
  • austincharlesbond - February 10, 2011 7:50 a.m.

    Sorry Gamesradar, but I thought this game sucked. I returned it after three days. It gets really boring real fast. Weird because Mario sports games are usually great.
  • sgloomy - February 10, 2011 5:53 a.m.

    Hmm, just got my gameinformer today and they gave it a 4.5. Not that I'm saying they are right and you guys are wrong (or the other way around), but i usually don't see such a drastic difference in game reviews. 1 or 2 points is what is most common. oh well.
  • NeoKef - February 10, 2011 5:29 a.m.

    @vadorsoul He's joking....I hope. He's just referencing the TalkRadar episode where Reach was being compare to every single game that came out around the same time. Anyway, from what I've seen of the game it didn't look that fun.
  • GameManiac - February 10, 2011 4:59 a.m.

    I truly DID believe that this game would do well.
  • ThatGuyFromTV - February 10, 2011 4:56 a.m.

    After that horrible FAP, this score seems like quite a bit of a reach and speaking of reach DAMMIT NO IM NOT EVEN GOING TO SAY IT
  • shawksta - February 10, 2011 4:20 a.m.

    @vadorsoul Halo is a shooter. Mario sports mix is a SPORTS GAME. It cant be "As good" because their not the same genre thus cant be treated the same. Seriously stop with this "Better/good than halo reach" crap.
  • tomtatoe - February 10, 2011 4:19 a.m.

    Wait, what? After is was said that Mario Sports Mix was one of the most "vile" Mario games? Different author and all, but man... expected a tad worse score.
  • vadorsoul - February 10, 2011 4:09 a.m.

    So your saying that this game is as good as halo reach? I did not want to say that, but it kind of felt mandatory at this point.
  • shawksta - February 10, 2011 3:57 a.m.

    One of the things that gets me happy is how Polished this game is, its like a mix of Reality and Cartoonish second to galaxy 2 Now I know this Game is worth buying
  • NightCrawler_358 - February 10, 2011 3:44 a.m.

    Really? thats not what i was expecting at all. I suppose everyones entitled to their opinions, I'll probaly end up playing this at a friends house or something.
  • Zepaw - February 10, 2011 3 a.m.

    After such a miserable FAP (the game was bad, not the video <3) I expected less.
  • renkun67 - February 10, 2011 2:21 a.m.

    WHAT!! you dare give the greatest and most important game of this DECADE an 8!!! A FRIGGIN 8!!!!!!!!!!!11!!RAWRTEGUWEGFKWGYUOMGWTFBBQDFSDCVX.... sounds reasonable...
  • shawksta - February 10, 2011 2:06 a.m.

    WHOA, didnt expect an 8, those bastards at Gamespot gave it a 4, great to know you think its a great game!
  • selio - February 10, 2011 1:53 a.m.

    @Pocotron, I know you're probably just joing, but it's a different reviewer, so yeah. also, old joke. really? And the game didn't look like an eight in the FAP. and i mean FAPing is how I determine these things. I can see how fun it is after a good. FAP

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

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