Review: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games 3DS

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games has two of gaming's biggest rivals come together in a single title. As the Olympic Games are about putting aside feuds and bringing the world together in the name of sports, it’s only natural that decades of hatred shared between this pair is also settled in this manner.

Sonic the Hedgehog Mario Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games offers 14 Olympic events and presents them in the form of mini-games in a Nintendo Land/Game & Wario style. The games are a varied bunch, ranging from the expected 100m hurdles and long jump to the likes of beach volleyball and boxing. Each event controls differently and does things you may have forgot your 3DS was even capable of.

Indeed, some games make very interesting uses of the handheld, such as requiring you to hold the 3DS out in front of you and then bring it in to your face at the right time to row, or to blow in rhythm onto the mic to breathe in swimming events. Whilst these are certainly interesting and break away from the normal button uses, the novelty very quickly wears off and after a few plays of said minigames, you’ll remember just why these 3DS functions are so rarely used.


The games on offer all lack consistency and seem to have been made in isolation from each other, offering varying levels of depth, difficulty and control. The depth of the games is a huge problem in this title actually, as some can get quite deep such as archery, with it’s changing winds, different trajectory and array of different equipment with varying stats to use whereas the BMX event literally tasks you with pressing the A button as fast as you can.

If it’s not the fluctuating difficulty that may throw you off, it’s the time span. You’ll load up some games and wonder why you’ve even bothered, as they’re over quicker than the time it took to choose a character and wait for it to load, whereas others such as Table Tennis can go on for 10 minutes or more.

The biggest problem of all is that there’s just nothing exciting to be seen here. All of the games are technically sound, whilst some of the controls are weird they work fine and the music is passable but it’s all just so boring. It’s been done hundreds of times before, in other party games and in previous entries of this series, and feels kind of pointless. There is nothing new or exciting on offer.

WVW69jHIxVI1YXBk7YWhat about the Dream Events? In previous entries, the Dream Events have been the best part of the title by far, throwing out the realistic aspects of the Olympic Games and just going crazy with the Mario and Sonic licence – in previous games, the dream version of fencing turned into an all out brawl on a platform in the sky, as you all frantically tried to stab one another off the platform to go hurtling down into the world of Sonic Heroes, the normal skiing event got turned into an awesome re-creation of a Mario Kart: Double Dash!! track and the dream version of hurdles took place on a spinning top in Mario Galaxy as you jumped over incoming shells. Alas, in this title, all that passion has gone and at times it feels like they’ve forgotten they even have the Mario and Sonic licence to work with.

Dream Events are now called Plus Events and are just minor variations of the normal games. Freestyle Swimming takes place in the same location but now has Thwomps that make waves, the BMX event now has random Goomba’s on the track to avoid and archery now has Boo’s holding up targets. They’re all just so uninspired and feel rushed, as though they suddenly remembered about the Plus Events a month before release and decided to throw a bunch of random Mario and Sonic characters into the existing games.


The lack of Mario and Sonic flare doesn’t end there. Previous entries have taken place in famous locations, from Mario Kart, to Mario Galaxy, Delfino Plaza and more, but here, everything stays firmly in the stadium. Previous games had unlockable remixes from games spanning the entire history of the Mario and Sonic franchise but in this title, unlockables come in the form of hats or t-shirts for your Mii.

The one good aspect of the title is the character roster, as it explores every corner of the Mario and Sonic universe, giving us the usuals such as Knuckles, Bowser and Peach along with fan-favourite side-characters such as Birdo, Diddy Kong and Silver. Not only that but new additions in the form of Nabbit from New Super Mario Bros. and Sticks from Sonic Boom are sure to please hardcore Mario and Sonic fans that get every entry in each series.

tumblr inline o2ra8edwB81roeqim 540Sadly though, you won’t be seeing much of this impressive roster. The single player campaign, that strings together the events in a ‘story mode’ requires you to play as your Mii the whole time. So there's all these great characters on offer yet you can’t use any of them. If you just go into ‘quick play’ and play the events without the story mode, you’re still limited to the characters you can choose depending on the event. Each event only gives you a selection of around 6 characters to choose from depending on their skill, such as swimming giving you the option of Tails or Peach and boxing giving you the choice of Bowser or Donkey Kong. It’s a needless restriction and stops us from choosing the likes of Bowser and Wario for rhythmic gymnastics - nothing is quite as good as seeing an angelic Bowser dance along to classical music.

Mario boxing BowserThe online options in this title are woeful. This is a party game first and a single player game second yet there is no option to play against friends online. High scores are available for each event but you have to manually download them from the records menu for each and every event... twice. Manually download the top scores worldwide for the 110m Hurdles, then do that again for your friends high scores, then do that again for every event and you’ll finally have a list of scores to beat. If you don’t go through the trouble of doing that, every event will simply have COM scores.

This game offers download play, so that you can play against friends that don’t own the title, but even playing with a friend doesn’t remove the tedious nature of the games on offer. This is the video game equivalent of a huge plate of mashed potato.

With boring gameplay that we’ve seen before, a lack of imagination in the Plus Events (the best aspect of previous games) and restrictions for the characters that you can use, in a game where the main draw is the characters involved, this game could have been great but is instead painfully dull.

N-Europe Final Verdict

The graphics are fine, the music is passable and even the games are ok but everything is just so uninspired. Previous entries have felt full of life and as fun as a party game featuring some of the worlds most famous video game characters should be, but this feels like a rushed rehash or what we’ve seen before, with little depth, little imagination and no incentive to play the entire way through.

  • Gameplay2
  • Playability2
  • Visuals3
  • Audio2
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



- The build quality is fine, all of the games work and control well
- The character roster is great, when you can make use of it
- Some interesting uses of the 3DS system


- Boring, uninspired gameplay
- No real incentive to complete all of the games
- Awkward online makes it difficult to get high scores
- Plus Events are hugely scaled back compared to previous games
- Some events are far too simple

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