Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games should definitely be in contention for the gold medal of really long titles. Still, the two mascots have found plenty of success with this formula of the Olympics, recognizable characters, easy to pick-up-and-play controls, and the fun of competing with friends. This game’s already been released on the Wii, but it’s making its 3DS debut just in time for Valentine’s Day; just in case you need something to do while you’re out on a date, I suppose. Will your sweetheart think it’s any fun?
Judging from the new demo (and is anyone enjoying these demos on the 3DS as much as I am?), this is the same innocuous, simple fun the series has always offered. Truthfully, the 3D effect doesn’t add much to the game, but that only makes sense as it wasn’t designed as a 3D game to begin with. However, the bright colorful graphics look pretty comparable to the Wii version, so this pretty much feels like a portable Wii game.
The demo has five short games to play, and they’re all pretty simple but fun. The targeting game is simple but enjoyable, just shoot as close to the bulls-eye as possible as the targets scroll by. Next you have to score goals in soccer. This uses the circle pad and initially the controls take getting used to, and the timing for hitting the ball to get the most points is a bit tricky, but again it’s pretty fun. The trampoline game is one that also require precise timing to get the highest bounce, and some precision for consistently landing in the middle of the trampoline.The backstroke requires the use of the stylus. You have to draw precise arcs following a pattern on the upper screen. It’s kind of awkward really, but once you get the rhythm, it works well enough. The final game feels the most awkward. It’s a BMX race and you have to tilt the system when you jump and then tilt it back into a horizontal position to land your jump and gain speed. Because the hinge on the 3DS feels a little flimsy, it felt like the top screen was flopping around a bit as I did this, and it was hard to the position for landing just right. It’s easier if you have the top screen all the way flat, but then you’re hunched over the system in a awkward way.
All in all, the games in the demo a pretty fun and make interesting if not great use of the 3DS’ unique capabilities. There’s no option for multiplayer, which is where games like this truly shine; they’re just more fun playing against friends as opposed to the CPU. The mini-games are short enough to make this a good choice for a portable as it’s easy to play it in short spurts. The demo for Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games doesn’t dazzle, but it’s entertaining. It firmly occupies that middle ground this series has had since the beginning; fun but not spectacular.