‘Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020’ review: Nintendo adds solid single player mode to collection of mini-games

Tribune News Service

Sega’s blue hedgehog hero teams up with our favourite Italian plumber as they are thrown back in time to the Tokyo 1964 Olympics

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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 celebrates the host city in a very fun way.

The Olympic Games are heading to Tokyo next year, and the developers at Japanese game company Sega are bringing Mario and Sonic back. The latest entry features old-school graphics, and does an amazing job of showcasing Tokyo for folks who have visited, or for players who hope to travel there for 2020.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is surprisingly great. The plot is simple: Bowser, Eggman, Mario, and Sonic are all sucked into an old hand-held video game console and end up inside a game called Tokyo 1964 where they must win as many gold medals as possible, to get back to 2020. 

While most of the events in Tokyo 1964 are part of the Olympic Games, there are some really cool moments, like a level where Sonic has to chase down Eggman in a Shinkansen bullet train.

The retro 2D design is super charming and fun. There is something really crazy about seeing a 16-bit Sonic and Eggman standing next to 8-bit Mario and Bowser. Some of the best moments and mini-games in the 1964 part include diving, marathon, museum sneak, and an epic car chase where Sonic chases down Eggman’s taxi on the streets of Tokyo. Other retro mini-games include volleyball, gymnastics, judo and shooting.

Meanwhile in 2020, Luigi and Tails try to figure out how to get their best friends out of the Tokyo 1964 video game. They run into a lot of characters from the Sonic and Mario franchises along the way, and most of them help them get into Olympic venues.

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Fans of the Mario series will run into a lot of familiar faces outside of just the plumbing brothers, and Sonic fans will also get to see a lot of familiar characters from the series.

The game is far more enjoyable than you might expect; and it’s surprising to find that the biggest selling point for this mini-game compilation is a Story Mode, but here we are. It’s an excellent game with a fabulous soundtrack and fan service. Story Mode does a great job of introducing players to all of the mini-games, while also teaching them about the rich history and culture of Tokyo.

Sega has done a great job as ambassadors for the city of Tokyo, and the 1964 retro 2D mini-games and events are nostalgia-filled romps that will leave players smiling from ear to ear.