The partnership between Nintendo, SEGA and the Olympic games has already sent us to Beijing and Vancouver. Well, soon the man with the moustache and the blue blur will be off to jolly old London for some more sporting fun with Mario & Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games. The game will be the first in the series to release on the Nintendo 3DS and while stopping by the SEGA booth at E3 I managed to get some hands-on time with the title.
The demo version I played was split into five events; judo, kayak, gymnastics, badminton and speed walking, all of which feature very different gameplay mechanics. Judo is a race to see who can press the on-screen button combinations the fasted, kayak requires you to spin the circle pad quickly, gymnastics uses the 3DS’ motion sensors to help you land your jumps, badminton is a timing game to return the serve and speed walking uses the touch screen and makes you slide the stylus to the rhythm.
All these games with the exception of speed walking played great. I exclude speed walking, not because it’s not a real sport but because, since I wasn’t provided with earphones, I couldn’t actually hear (E3 is loud) the beat that I was supposed to keep so I can’t really report on how well it played. The standout game of the demo is definitely the gymnastics. Using the 3DS’ gyroscopes to guide your character is smooth and precise and a pleasantly surprising use of a feature that I feared would go ignored on the handheld.
The game also looks great for a portable game, easily on par with the console version. The 3D is also very sharp and ‘deep’ giving a great sense of depth to the game. I only suggest turning off the 3D during the gymnastics event since it requires you to move the 3DS and will lose the ‘sweet spot’.
I was pleasantly surprised with Mario & Sonic At The London 2012 Olympic Games for 3DS. Not only does it look as good as the Wii version but the 3D is some of the best that the system currently offers. More importantly, however, is that the game actually plays well. The events are all unique enough to keep things fresh and the great use of seldom used 3DS features is fantastic. Make sure to check it out when it launches later this year.
Also, stay tuned to gamrReview for all the latest hands-on impressions straight from E3 2011.