So, I was in the store and looking for a game to buy, preferably in the Mario series. I was thinking of getting New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but this title beckoned. I had eagerly anticipated this game's release when it was announced at E3. I mean, the concept of having four sports in one game has never been done before in the Mario series (well, the Mario & Sonic games had more, but, you know...).
Because this game has four sports in it, I will be splitting this review up. Let's start with my favorite.
This sport is SIIIIIICK! You have a team of 2 or 3 (like every other sport) and try to get the ball into the other team's hoop. On offense, you charge down dribbling the ball and you can either do a dunk (which is awesome), or a jump shot (which is less fun, but you have an opportunity to score three points this way). Personally, I go with the former, but there is an even greater thing you can do. A teammate can jump in front of the rim and you can pass it to them in midair so they can slam it through backwards!
But enough about what you can do here, this is the bottom line. The high-flying fun that you get from this game is better than any other sport in the game and a vast improvement over Mario Hoops 3-on-3, especially since its focus is actually on *ahem* getting the ball in the basket. It's also best played with friends because it really feels like you really work with them to beat the other team, just like real hoops. So, my rating for this individual sport is 9 out of 10.
(Note by Element Knight 375): I think this sport is indeed excellent, but my biggest complaint is the unilateral nature. For example, you can't run very fast, and it feels like I just have to keep stealing the ball and running up the court over and over. I wish it were a little more exciting, but I still recommend it.
My second-favorite sport. This one is definitely not like the dodgeball you've played in gym class. There is only one ball, it takes a few hits to get an opponent out, catching the ball gets no one out, and there are two "backup Yoshis" on the sides. Oh yeah, and players who are out play like the Yoshis on the sides, except that if they hit an opponent, they can return to the floor. I personally think this touch is nice to give players a second chance.
This game is pretty decent. I like how it's different in contrast to the fast action of Basketball. You have to try and throw off your foe's timing by faking them out, or you can try and throw the ball at them from different angles to get them in the weak spot. Luck will get you no where in this game, which is what is so awesome about it. It's the most strategic sport in the game, and strategy in a sports game is very welcome to me. I rate this sport an 8.5 out of 10.
(Note by Element Knight 375): I find this game to be a 10 out of 10 all the way, because it's the most versatile. It's a great matter of strategy and cunning, and figuring out the right next move and how to apply what you have. Plus, sometimes it can just be a sweet knock-down, drag-out, throw-balls-in-people's-faces sport, which I find to be worthy of praise.
This is pretty straightforward. You serve the ball and both teams try to get the ball on the other team's side. To help progress, you can spike and block spikes (the latter of which is hard to execute, but also very hard to retaliate against). I expected little of this sport and realized it was insane fun. The action very seldom grows stale, and the fact that it has two periods with first to 15 makes games not too short and not too long. My friends expected the same when I would select this sport when playing this game with them, and they were just as surprised as I was.
So yeah, I stated my opinion here. Doesn't get boring often, and games are a legitimate length. Which leads me to cons. The times the action grows stale are mainly when playing against Easy level computer players. It's just like real Volleyball. If one team gets the ball to the other side too quickly it gets really boring. It's not very different with playing the game either. I rate this one 8.5 out of 10 as well.
(Note by Element Knight 375): This one is actually pretty good because you have to be precise in position and movements, trying to estimate the next moves of your enemies. My biggest complaint about the game would be its slow rallies. I didn't really get why you had to bounce the ball back and forth just to get the ball over to the other side of the court. However, it's still excellent.
I don't really like this one like the rest of the sports. It's really hard to find a legitimate difficulty for foes to face. If the opponent is too easy, you will just be scoring goals on them in an extremely repetitive fashion that will go on for a very long time. If the opponent is too difficult, it will be really frustrating having the puck stolen from you over and over and having goals scored. The controls also feel a bit clunky. Yeah, I know players are on skates, but still...
What I DO like about this one is the gameplay. I really like how you have to aim just right so the Shy Guy doesn't block your shot. It's simple, then again it's not, you know? For Basketball, I reccommended that players team up with friends, but here I strongly suggest going head-to-head with them. An even match in this sport would make a great experience. This here is definitely better than Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games hockey, and I rate this 8 out of 10.
(Note by Element Knight 375): I agree that it was kind of hard to make your way around the game, but the gameplay is great because of the action. You can move quickly and an important facet of the game is the need to use evasive maneuvers to keep the puck, which I found really fun.
The party games are a pretty good diversion if you tire from the main sports, but they're just there. They don't seem to fit a purpose, even for when you have a bunch of friends over. My personal favorite is Harmony Hustle, which seems to be a toe above the rest of the Party Games. Smash Skate is ludicrously hard, so I avoid that game quite a bit. I rate these a 7 out of 10.
The characters include the twelve major names of the Mario franchise: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Yoshi, Toad, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Wario, Waluigi, Bowser, and Bowser Jr. We had all heard about these twelve ever since we learned it was coming out. I was wishing for the likes of Dry Bowser and King Boo, but as it turned out, Square Enix wasn't really willing to go outside of the Big 12. Instead, they added Ninja, White Mage, Black Mage, Cactuar, Moogle, and Slime. My personal favorites of these six are Black Mage and Cactuar. Black Mage has some really mind-boggling skills (not to mention that he's awesome), and Cactuar is like a Sonic freaking Cactus! Sure, these additions will never have the classic charm of the Mario series, but they're nice regardless.
The stages are very well thought out. No stage is like another here. They are loaded with gimmicks. You've got fountains that block the ball at Peach's Castle, you've got a creepy, ball-puking Waluigi robot in Waluigi Pinball, and not to mention you've also got the ability to pass the ball to Petey Piranha in Dodgeball and have him spit the ball at your foe at Daisy Garden! How cool is that? Along with it is the scenery. The hoops in Daisy Garden Basketball are not like I expected. Two Petey Piranhas stand on both ends, and you can only score if Petey's mouth is open so you can give him a dose of the game ball. Another thing that caught my eye was in Luigi's Mansion Basketball, in which the hoops were chandeliers.
I don't feel like going into extensive detail, because there's so much about the stages going for them, so I'll move on.
Mediocre. The music can actually get a little boring at times when playing for a while. The only music here that I found nice was the song from Waluigi Pinball. Otherwise soundtrack isn't a thing going for this game, but it's passable because I wasn't expecting good music.
I won't go too much into sound effects, but I'm pretty fond of the game's implementation of the Wii Remote's speaker, like when scoring a basket, it will make swish sound when going through.
Bottom Line: I love this game, and I really hope they make a sequel. In fact, you may be seeing a game idea for one. I rate this masterpiece a 9 out of 10 and say job well done to the guys at Square Enix.