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 Sports Mix is a collection of four sports-themed games that supports simultaneous local multiplayer action for up to four players (assuming you have at least four remotes) as well as anonymous online play. It’s a good catalyst for social gaming experiences in the living room. Note, though, that while most of the sports and mini-games feature very little violence, hockey pits players against one another in fights that involve a bit of fierce remote waggling. The action is cartoonish, but characters swing at each other with sticks until one is knocked down.
What's it about?
A collection of fantasy sports simulations, MARIO SPORTS MIX offers competitive and cooperative play for up to four players. Just choose a sport -- hockey, basketball, volleyball, or dodgeball -- pick your favorite Nintendo personality, and you’re ready to play. All of the sports can be played either in exhibition mode or as part of a series of short tournaments that unlock new arenas and playable characters. Party Play, meanwhile, offers a small collection of sports-themed mini-games that range from throwing food into a piranha plant’s mouth as though you were throwing basketballs through a hoop to using hockey checks and shots to bump opponents off a platform.
Is it any good?
It may feature only a handful of events, but Mario Sports Mix is a cut above other sports compilation games in plenty of ways. For starters, the sports aren’t static from one match to the next. There are dozens of different arenas, and each one introduces entirely new challenges that change a player’s strategy, whether it’s a rotating floor, a train that comes barreling through the field at set intervals, or fountains and pylons that block the goal. Plus, each character has his or her own strengths and weakness, which means switching avatars does much more than just change your character’s appearance.
Meanwhile, a quartet of mini-games -- the best of which is a music game that has up to four players working as a team bumping balls volleyball-style in an effort to keep the song going -- add real value to the experience. Nintendo doesn’t plop its red-capped plumber into just any old game. As team sports compilations go, this one stands atop the podium on Wii.
Online interaction: Players can play against others -- strangers or registered friends -- online. There is no support for voice or text communication, meaning players cannot exchange information with one another.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about real world sports. Sports video games can provide imaginative ways in which to enjoy your favorite sports, but they shouldn't take the place of physical activity. Which sports from this game do you like playing in the real world?
Talk about the similarities and differences between the sports featured in this game and their real world counterparts. Much of what’s found in the game is fantasy, but did you notice any rules or arena changes that could feasibly be implemented in a real sport?
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