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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Game Poster Image
Gold medal performance from two video game icons.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

The game teaches things like teamwork and friendly competition. It's also filled with trivia and history about the Olympic Games, Tokyo, and worldwide culture.

Positive Messages

The game's story has strong themes of teamwork and friendship, while the game as a whole features a focus on competition, as well as being a good sport whether you win or lose.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters are friendly, helpful, and upbeat. While this is a given for the heroes (and even those that would be considered "sidekicks"), even the villains come off as likeable, fun, and anything but evil.

Ease of Play

Most games have different control schemes, depending on the configuration of the Joy-Cons. For the most part, these are fairly intuitive and simple to pick up and play. Some events are more difficult than others, but there's an adjustable difficulty setting to accommodate less skilled players. 

Violence

Some events include sports like karate and boxing, which pits characters against each other in competitive fighting. But these are regular sporting events and there's nothing intense or graphic in the fights.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

While the game is a standalone product with no DLC, it also serves as one massive promotional tool for Nintendo's Mario series, SEGA's Sonic series, and of course, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a sports and party game available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. Players can follow a story mode or compete against other players in a variety of sports mini-games. It offers a variety of control options for ease of play, as well as adjustable difficulty levels to provide some challenge while not alienating less skilled players. The game's also filled with all kinds of trivia and history focused on the Olympic Games, Tokyo, and the title's characters. Some of the events, such as karate and boxing, do show mild violence, but there's nothing graphic and never any blood shown. While there's no inappropriate content in the title, this also serves as a showcase for the 2020 Olympic games, as well as the Mario and Sonic franchises.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

MARIO & SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020 celebrates the world coming together for the Summer Olympic Games by once again bringing together two icons of the video game world. Mario and Sonic, along with all of their friends, have come to test their skills and compete in many of your favorite Olympic sporting events, as well as brand new events only possible through the wonders of imagination and video games. You can take on these events in the modern day or travel back in time via the "Tokyo 64" game system and give your events a classic, retro flair. You've also got the option to play solo or with friends in both local and online multiplayer as you shoot bring home the gold in more than thirty different events. With so many characters, so many events, and so many ways to play, the stage is set for this to be the greatest Olympic Games in history.

Is it any good?

One of the amazing things about the Olympic Games is how it brings together people from all walks of life, even rival countries, to compete against one another in a celebratory way. Even rival video game characters come together for the event in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. One of the great things here is that the game doesn't just cross franchises, but it crosses eras as well. There are a handful of events that can be played in a retro mode that recreated the look and feel of the classic 8- and 16-bit track and field video games, complete with frantic button mashing. These are ridiculously simple to play but just as ridiculously addictive as well, especially playing with friends. It hearkens back to the days of crowding around the old NES/SNES with all the screaming, laughing, and pure joy that came with it.

As with most party style games, the mini-game collection in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has its hits and misses. Fortunately, a lot of work went into making sure the hits far outnumber the misses, and even the less exciting events this have their fair share of fun. Still, you're likely to find a few favorites, such as the table tennis, which is simple on the surface, but at its best when you play with a little extra flair. Dream Events are suitably outrageous video game events and are some of the wildest competitions players could hope for. Dream Racing, for example, mixes the breakneck speed and swift curves of the Sonic games with the aerial tricks and items that Mario Kart is known for. This hybrid is the best of both worlds, and is only help back by the fact that there aren't multiple courses race on. As far as party games go, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 gets high marks across the board and gives a gold medal performance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about competition. What are some of the traits of a good sport? How's healthy, friendly competition for building character?

  • What's some of the history behind the Olympic Games and what have been some key moments from previous games? How does the global competition help to bring people together?

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