The Mushroom Kingdom crew returns for another sports outing!
The Mario gang is no stranger to creating massive sporting events for all members of the Mushroom Kingdom to take part in, and that’s exactly what Mario Sports Superstars provides. Mario Sports Superstars looks to create an ultimate sporting experience with five sports in one package. While certain sports are incredibly fun to play for hours on end, many of the sports feel like water down versions of prior Mario Sports titles over the years.
As you start up the game, you’ll be treated to an easy to navigate menu that showcases the game’s five different sports to choose from. Offering Soccer (football), horse racing, baseball, golf, and tennis, Mario Sports Superstars offers enough sports to satisfy all every sports lover’s needs. While each sport succeeds in providing a fun outing, some sports offer a more enjoyable experience than others.
Perhaps the most fun sport to playthrough in the Mario Sports Superstars collection is the baseball mode. Offering players the ability to not only select their main players and co captains, you also have the ability to set lineup, and your choice of every member on your team. Whether you want a team comprising o all shy guys, or a mix of every side character of the Mushroom Kingdom is up to you; and if you really are satisfied with the team, you can save the lineup for future matchups which makes team selection incredibly easy. After team, and line-up selection you have the option to select the rules of the game and stadium selection (which honestly was a nice touch that I wasn’t expecting).
When it comes to gameplay the core baseball mechanics that you’d expect are here with different hitting styles all available, and the signature special bar that required to make this Mario sports game over the top. Players have the control to make runners advance to different bases if they feel they’ve got the time to make it. While the batting side of the baseball is simplified, it doesn’t feel short sided or lacking. The same can be said for the pitching and field players. Pitchers each have different specialty pitches that help strikeout batters which comes in handy facing players online. The main problem with baseball deals with your team’s AI if you leave it up to the computer to control. Numerous time the AI would let the ball roll right past them, or if they did grab the ball they would throw it to the wrong base allowing the opposing team to run right around your team. Luckily you can control your defense, but when the opposing team’s AI is catching everything you hit it can feel unfair at times.
Following baseball in enjoyability is easily tennis which feels almost perfect in gameplay. Focusing on 1v1, gameplay offers everything you’d want from a tennis game. There are the various shots you can take including slices, topspin, and a few others. To add a Mario twist to this mode different images will appear on the court where if you enter the correct shot you’ll end up hitting a devastating shot that will almost guarantees a point. While customization isn’t as deep as with baseball, with the only real option being the selection of the court type, this game mode is the most solid out of the five in the package.
Golf offers a pretty solid game mode as well with the variety of different clubs, and holes that you can play on. Offering the ability to completely control the shot with over-the-top views, and club selections lets you really get the best shot you can. While courses are slim with only 36 holes, they visually appealing enough to the point where it is bearable; but can easily become stale over time.
Soccer (football), which should have been one of the most enjoyable game modes feels like the largest let down. The soccer game mode offers the same customization as soccer with the ability to fully set up your teams, and save the line-ups for future matches; with the added ability to set formations during the match to ensure the best offensive and defensive. When it comes to gameplay, the core game mechanics that you’d expect are all present with crosses, passes, and shots all here; even including through passes which is a nice touch to gameplay. To add the Mario flair to the gameplay there is a power meter that fills up over the course of the game that’s allows you to perform a flashy power shot that you’d expect would guarantee the goal; but that’s not the case. Sadly, the soccer game mode offers the most flaws. With a field that feels too small where it’s almost impossible to hold the ball for more than a few seconds, inconsistent team AI, and hard to handle controls when selecting teammates makes the soccer mode fall from the glory that we were expecting. While we may sound picky on this, with the stellar soccer experience given to us in Mario Strikers Charged for the Wii in 2007, we know Nintendo can succeed in creating a great soccer experience. Even though there are five different games in one, this one feels rushed, and it shows.
The final sport offered in the collection is horse racing, and while it isn’t bad it is far from great. Horse racing focusing on racing around tracks on horseback for 3 laps. While it is nice to have the ability to select the different horses, this game mode feels like a watered down, slow-paced version of Mario Kart. During races, you have a stamina meter that controls your horse when it comes to dashing. While it depletes while you dash, it will refill overtime or as you pick up carrot orbs placed around the track. There is also a star meter that can be filled to give you a boost of speed, but the speed it gives you isn’t even tremendous as you’ll end up getting passed right after you use it; making it useless. As a meter that requires time to fill, the meter feels like a complete waste of time; much like the horse racing mode to begin with. While we wanted to enjoy the horse racing mode, it just doesn’t do anything to stand out against the other sports.
Throughout the games you’ll earn coins that can be used to buy card packs in the store. These cards unlock new items that can be used in game such as new clubs, specialty bats, and a few other items. Sadly, there is no explanation to what the items do so most of the time they just look really pretty as you fill up your collection binder full of cards.
Mario Sports Superstars is an ambitious idea that succeeds in many areas. While it offers many different sports that are shallow in terms of gameplay mechanics, they provide enough to feel complete. Even though many of the game modes feel like water down versions of past Mario sports titles, they are fun enough to feel like you get your money’s worth throughout. The added ability of online play, you’ll easily get hours of play. While Mario Sports Superstars is not perfect, it offers an incredibly fun experience that is well worth picking up.
- EACH Sport Feels Complete, and Enjoyable to Play
- Customization Options in Certain Sports are Deep for a Game With Multiple Sports
- Online Play Offers Hours of Gameplay
- Horse Racing, Everything About It
- Each Sport Feels Like a Watered-Down Version of Past Mario Sports Outings
- Certain Game Modes Feel Rushed, and It Shows
*Complementary game code provided by Nintendo for review purposes.