Mario gets the ball bouncing in Mario Sports MixPublished 5:00pm Saturday, February 12, 2011
Oh, Square Enix. You make such good games when you want to.satisfied
Nintendo, that gargantuan powerhouse of games, doesn’t lend its mascot to third-party developers very often. Mario Sports Mix, the latest game featuring the prestigious plumber and friends, is a good reason why they should do it more.
MSM doesn’t feel like it’s a Square Enix game. In fact, the game feels like it another Nintendo-powered party game, a la Mario Party.
Gameplay centers on the hijinx Mario and company get into while playing basketball, dodgeball, hockey and volleyball; all games where power-ups, changing environments and overpowered special moves mean the difference between victory and defeat.
While this game won’t have players cursing like Mario Kart, there’s definitely some strategy to the various game modes.
The best thing about this game is its easy-to-understand controls, which makes it great to bust out at parties. Since it’s a Mario game, MSM has a lot of great, quirky moments and many fun ways to bend the rules. There’s even unlockable Final Fantasy characters like Ninja, Black Mage, Moogle and White Mage, not to mention Slime from the Dragon Quest RPGs.
Square clearly shines at making fun games with ridiculous superpowers, and this game is no exception. Let’s face it: there’s nothing quite like watching a fuzzy white bear dunk on a green dinosaur.
Yet its simplicity is where the game seems to stumble. There simply aren’t enough sports to make this game fun for single players beyond a weekend, and every Mario mini-game title gets old after a couple months.
Given Nintendo’s reputation concerning its prized moneymaker, the game almost feels like Nintendo supervised the development process: Square could get away with a few fun additions, but there doesn’t seem to be any innovation here.
That doesn’t mean MSM isn’t a fun game. Given the limitations of a party game like this, Square did a pretty good job at creating an enjoyable title. Yet there doesn’t seem to be enough features to sustain this title for a long time, past possible online multiplayer.
Square had a chance to do something really innovative with the video game of video games, but MSM seems like another throwaway mini game title from the house that Mario built.