It’s been a while since I played on the 3DS, but given a couple of codes to play around with Mario Sports Superstars gave me the opportunity. Every 3DS in the house has been a near non-stop festival of Pokemon for the last few months so a break was needed.
And a break we got. Mario Sports Superstars offers up the usual cast of Mario regulars and puts them into five different sports. There are the usual offerings of soccer and tennis, along with baseball and golf, the new one here is equestrian or horse racing.
What we get here are five sports that are not connected, as you do not compete in each for an overall trophy. Instead we get five separate sports, each with their own tournaments. You play through the tournaments, unlock extra players and arenas (or stadiums, or what have you) and … well, that’s about it. Where the Mario sports titles which focus on a singular sport have more depth, Mario Sports Superstars instead goes for breadth.
But is that a bad thing?
I don’t think so.
Look at Mario Sports Superstars as a good introduction to multiple Mario sports categories. Unsure if you would like Mario Golf or Mario Tennis? Want to try them both out but don’t want to shell out the significant cash for both games?
Mario Sports Superstars is much more than a demo, and the price tag proves that. It deserves to be a “full-priced” game even if you are used to playing the other Mario sports titles with their more robust features. And for me, this is perfect, actually, as I can play a couple of different sports without feeling the need to commit hours and hours to boost a player’s stats and unlock every little thing.
Let’s start off looking at the newest sport – horse racing. The other sports have had several full games released, but this was only available as an event in one (maybe two) of the Olympics themed video games. Here you pick a rider and horse then set off on the course. You can gather up carrots to increase your horse’s stamina, gather up stars to fill a meter and do a star dash and the most egregious error in my opinion, double jump to get those out of reach power ups. I hate double jumps. My kids don’t mind. your mileage may vary.
I am not a golf fan, and having an arcade-style golf game doesn’t really appeal to me, but I did find myself enjoying the rounds I did play. You can not play a full 18 holes, and the tournament rounds are three holes, but it’s a solid entry that falls somewhere between a mini-game and a full game. It’s just enough to make me think about picking up a Mario golf game.
Tennis is pretty much as you would expect. You hit the ball with a simple smash or lob, move the player on the court, etc. In some ways it feels as if tennis is the lost lackluster of the offerings on Mario Sports Superstars.
Baseball does not give much control of the fielding to the player, instead relegating the user to pitcher and batter. There are a number of tweaks you are given with regards to both activities. There are ways to give your pitch more “oomph” as well as changing the pitch itself or its placement. Batting gives players a couple of options and does not feel as arbitrary as I have found in some other games. It would have been nicer to have the option to play more than three innings, but for a tournament that’s plenty of time.
Perhaps the “fullest” of the games in Mario Sports Superstars is the soccer. There is a full 11 on 11 match that takes place and while players are only given two characters of their choosing on the squad they do get to control everybody. Passing is ridiculously important and while there are some tricks to getting a goal there aren’t many of the silly arcade options you might find in a typical Mario soccer title.
But this is only an overview. After playing the game a bit more I will have part two posted. But as it stand I have to recommend Mario Sports Superstars. It isn’t the most robust offering, but it more than makes up for it in the variety and fun.