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Mario Sports Mix
Nintendo Wii

Reviewed on: Nintendo Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Rated: "E" for Everyone

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

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User Rating:        6
Presentation: 6

Nintendo's knack for detail is evident here, and all the properties you know and love are well recreated. But where's the commentary? A sports game seems bare without it.

Gameplay: 5

There's only four sports here, but each of them is quite fun, even if you've played them before in other games and on other consoles. The single player modes become boring fast, but as expected, playing with friends is remarkably fun.

Lasting Appeal:

The learning curve here is nonexistent, but there are enough game modes to keep you busy enough for a while.

Overall: 6

When you boil Mario Sports Mix down to its most basic elements, it's a pretty thin package of mini games. But still, it's a pretty fun game none the less, especially if you're playing with friends.

CHEATfactor: 6

Life isn't easy for Mario. Sure, it may all seem like it's all mushrooms, coins and punching dinosaurs in the back of the head, but that'll only take you so far. I mean, a princess only gets kidnapped what, every few years right? So what do you do to pass the time? If you said gather your pals for a slew of random sports games, you're on the right track. Mario Sports Mix is pretty much what you'd expect from one of the stout plumber's side adventures, but that shouldn't stop you from grabbing your three friends and suiting up.

Mario Sports Mix puts the titular plumber and his gang of pals in four sports; basketball, volleyball, hockey and dodgeball. While it's admittedly a pretty thin package, there are enough different modes to keep you busy. From the title screen, you can jump into an exhibition match, tournament mode, play some mini games or jump online. You're going to spend the bulk of your time in the tournament mode, which pits up to eight teams against each other in each of the different sports. It's also here where you'll unlock a good portion of the game's bonus content.

"...there's a ton of extras and hidden depth..."


Of the four sports, Dodgeball tends to be the most fun to play, but that could be because I never really got tired of riffling things at certain Mario character's heads. Hockey and football play remarkably similar, and volleyball is more of a bore than any other game. Perhaps most interesting about Mario Sports Mix is that there's a lot more depth than the game lets on. Much of the games play and feel incredibly similar, but if you dive deep enough, there's a ton of extras and hidden depth that is sure to prolong your experience and enjoyment with the game.

As you may expect, how much you'll enjoy Mario Sports Mix is dependent on just how many people you're playing with. Going it alone, you'll find a pretty lackluster experience with a laughably nonexistent learning curve, but adding a few other human players (either locally or online) and you'll find a much more fast paced, interesting and fun experience.

Surprisingly enough, Nintendo didn't handle the developing duties on Mario Sports Mix as you'd expect, that job went to Square Enix. Yes, that Square Enix. Though the developers, most famous for the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series aren't known for games like this, they've done a wonderful job recreating the Nintendo quality we've come to know in all of Mario's spinoffs. Running at a smooth 60 frames per second, the game is packed with impressively rendered stylish cartoon visuals and an equally impressive score filled with your favorite tunes from the Nintendo vault.

"...filled to the brim with references to past Nintendo games and properties."


Speaking of the vault, those familiar with the past works featuring the characters are going to enjoy the game much more than those who somehow are not. Much like previous Mario sports games before it, Sports Mix is filled to the brim with references to past Nintendo games and properties. Some are easy to find and some, you're going to have to pay attention to spot. What's even cooler is that Mario Sports Mix throws hidden Square Enix content into the mix, with the ability to unlock and play as several characters from the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest series.

If you're looking for a fun multiplayer game for the Wii, that you'll be able to jump into quickly, you'll be pleasantly surprised with Mario Sports Mix, just don't expect to get much out of it as a single player experience. It's full of the charm and quality you've come to expect from Mario's side projects. Hey, at least you can chuck stuff at Peach's head right? 



CHEATS USED: Unlockables

While there are no cheats available for Mario Sports Mix, there's a ton of hidden characters and courses to unlock (from both the Mario and Final Fantasy Universes). Luckily, you'll be able to unlock these components while playing multiplayer as well.

The game is right for cheats though, and I'd love to have a debug mode of sorts, to change a number of factors in the game that effect how both you and your computer controller opponent play. Imagine being able to change each character's special abilities, or even swapping them out!



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