Mario Sports Superstars Review – Written by jose Vega
Product provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.
Mario & sports games go hand in hand ever since the days of the Nintendo 64. It’s proven fact. However with the more recent sports games such as Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash not being up to par, Nintendo along with Camelot Software needed something to hopefully get people into it. The end result is Mario Sports Superstars. Similar to Mario Sports Mix, released in 2011 for the Wii, Sports Superstars is a compilation package containing five different sports games in one cartridge. The question is… does it carry the same feel as Sports Mix or is this one set players should pass up?
Similar to Mario Sports Mix, Mario Sports Superstars contains five different sports: soccer, baseball, tennis, golf and horse racing. They aren’t mini-games per se but rather full recreations down to the core. There is no story to the game. You can just pick up and play rather easily. Each sport offers a different experience and challenge. Elements from previous Mario sports games take full effect here. Soccer is 11-vs-11 gameplay with two teams battling to score the most goals. Soccer also has access to various options and strategies to accommodate the actual sports’ rules. Baseball has two teams of 9 characters playing against each other. Sadly it’s all pretty basic like the sport itself. Golf is just like every other Mario based golf game where you tee off for 9 holes to get the lowest score. There’s also a Ring Challenge mode for players where they can send the ball through large rings dotted around the course. It’s in training mode unfortunately.
Tennis is just like in Mario Tennis with various features taken from the more recent installments. Players can take part in either singles (1-on-1) or doubles (2-on-2). Many various shots such as Chance Shots, Jump Shots and the powerful Ultra Smash make a return as well adding for fast paced action. Horse Racing is one of the games’ new modes. You take control of a Mario character as you race against several opponents on horseback while dodging obstacles and leaping over hazards. You can choose your horse, what build it can be and even customize it in a variety of ways. They can also be groomed, petted or fed to boost bonds that can help in the races. All of this happens via Stable Mode done and controlled in first person. You can do many things in the stable mode and find rare items along the way. Competing in races and winning net you reward food that you can use to boost bonds along with moods. For a compilation, this is the best out of all the modes since it offers so much to do.
Mario Sports Superstars has both single and multiplayer for all game types. Tournament is the game’s single player, a 3-tier system where you and 7 opponents battle each other to reach the top. Beating one cup unlocks the other until you reach the highest difficulty, the Champion’s Cup. Beating it unlocks the character’s star version. Star characters are improved versions of them & it has to be done for every game. It can be very tedious and repetitive. Training Mode is also available. Each of the five games have a mode where you can practice and improve. Ring Challenge is available in all games and has four difficulty settings, offering a lot of time and fun. Length for the game depends on how much they want to put into it to unlock everything. There are characters you can unlock by winning 1st in the tournament modes. Multiplayer is also available via local or online. Depending on the game mode, you can have up to 4-6 players play local or 2-6 online. It’s acceptable but I wish in regards to local multiplayer that the option to Download Play should be included for people that don’t own the game. Overall, pretty standard stuff for Mario Sports games and I’m thankful it’s included otherwise the game would just be a bore.
The presentation is rather average at best. Nintendo took elements from previous Mario sports titles and integrated them into this one. There isn’t much to say about it. Controls are good, easy to work with and simple for people that want to pick up and play. The old adage still follows here, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Music is okay at best. Some tracks are good but not as much.
There are a few issues. Most of the games aside from horse racing don’t offer anything interesting, as in no gimmicky features that the previous Mario sports games bring. The tournament can be a repetition and the harder difficulties don’t help matters especially when you wish to unlock the rest of the characters, especially the star versions. It also doesn’t help that if you want to play with other players they need their own copy of the game. Another misstep, I say.
Like every Mario game, this has Amiibo support and they come in the form of Amiibo cards. Using these unlock star versions of specified characters. They can also be used power up characters to unlock superstar versions. It’s nice for people that don’t want to grind up so much to unlock them. Tapping three Amiibo cards accesses the Road to Superstar mini game. You need to defeat the boss in order to complete the game to unlock the superstar version. Speaking of which, the game has a collection and they need to buy packs of cards with coins to complete whole set. All this does is unlock the credits and sound test.
Overall Mario Sports Superstars is a pretty decent game. It’s decent but not enough to get you hooked onto for hours at a time. The games are all right with horse racing being the best out of them and it has single and multiplayer. However the game does have its issues. With many being its repetitive grind in the tournament mode, lack of gimmicks and multiplayer woes. Does it hurt the game? A little but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a pretty good game. Nintendo should hopefully learn from this and maybe provide a better game, especially with the Switch now being out and all. Mario Sports Superstars is fun, just not for long sessions.
I give Mario Sports Superstars a 7 out of 10.