A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is a collection of sports games tied to the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro. Players can partake in games such as soccer, golf, volleyball, and boxing against the game's artificial intelligence or with a friend on the same console. There's nothing objectionable within the game, apart from mild cartoon violence in the boxing event. The game also features support for amiibo figurines and cards, which are sold separately.
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What's it about?
Whether you're an on-the-go sports fan or you've caught the Olympics spirit, Sega and Nintendo have partnered on a Nintendo 3DS game tied to the upcoming 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro. Similar to previous games in the series, MARIO & SONIC AT THE RIO 2016 OLYMPIC GAMES lets you play as your favorite mascot character in a number of arcade-based sports games on the Wii U video game console. This time around, you can play in events, such as Football (Soccer), Boxing, Table Tennis, Beach Volleyball, 4 x 100m Relay, 7-player Rugby, and more. This Nintendo exclusive lets you play against computer-controlled characters or against a friend beside you, even in tournaments, plus it includes a Heroes Showdown mode that's unlocked after you get the gold medal in all the single events or after you get more than seven bronze medals in the tournaments. There's also the option to import your custom Mii characters or use amiibo characters or cards that you can tap on your Wii U Controller to activate for in-game bonus characters, events, and other goodies.
Is it any good?
In honor of the Olympics, let's just say this doesn't snag the gold; it's more of a bronze for its repetition, lack of online multiplayer, and steep price tag. In some ways it's better than the Nintendo 3DS version, while in other areas it falls short. Choosing your country, then selecting and unlocking your favorite mascots or Mii can be fun -- and all the big ones are in the palm of your hand, such as Mario, Sonic, Donkey Kong, and many more. In total, there are 14 events in the game, most of which are available in the 3DS version; some aren't found here (110m Hurdles, Rhythmic Gymnastics Hoops, and Golf), while some events are in the Wii U version and not in the 3DS game (4 x 100m Relay, Rhythmic Gymnastics Clubs, and Rugby Sevens). Worth noting is the Tournament mode, where one or two players participate in Preliminary Heat, Semifinal, and Final matches in a wide variety of events.
Also new to the game is the Heroes Showdown mode, where you form a team to compete head-to-head with another player in various events (chosen randomly). One team is assigned 10 random characters from Team Mario, while the other gets Team Sonic mascots; when you lose an event, characters are eliminated from your team until only one team (or one team captain) is left standing. Overall, the Wii U version is better than its 3DS predecessor, but the $60 price tag is still hard to justify for these arcade sports games based on the Olympics. These family-friendly games are fun to play beside and against someone -- especially when you're competing against siblings and friends -- but those interested might want to wait until this disc ends up in the bargain bin.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about consumerism in Mario & Sonic. Do you feel the need to purchase the optional amiibo characters and cards? Do they add more to the game, or is this simply a way to push merchandise?
Discuss the ongoing union of the Mario and Sonic franchises in Olympics-themed games. Do you think these two series, once deeply competitive, are a good fit? Are you a greater fan of one than the other? Do their heroes and villains mesh well in teams?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.