Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Friends at opening ceremonies, bitter opponents fighting for gold.
Sega's plan to release yet another Mario & Sonic came as no surprise. The publisher sold millions of Olympics games across Wii and DS. This time, the series moves to 3DS with Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which contains a new batch of mini-games and a variety of characters (Tails, Luigi, Peach, Knuckles) from both franchises.
Although the company has yet to announce the number of games available, we had a chance to experience five surprisingly good ones.
First up was Judo. Here, it's all about pressing a certain button combination before your opponent. Sega puts two characters facing each other, then displays the correct input along the bottom left corner of the screen (up on the d-pad and A, for example). From there, a clock ticks down (3, 2, 1), and when the counter reaches zero, you press those buttons as quickly as possible. Succeed, and your chosen hero will take down the opponent. Fail, and he or she eats canvas.
Next was kayaking, where characters hit the water and attempt to out row the others. Instead of hitting buttons, the goal is to spin the 3DS circle pad. The faster you do this, the quicker your character moves.
Balance Beam, meanwhile, makes use of the gyroscope. Sega puts a maze on the bottom screen, and the goal is to physically tilt the 3DS to guide a ball from point A to point B in the allotted time. Each time you do this, the character (on the top screen) performs a gymnastics maneuver, so the idea is to complete a series of these puzzles to string moves together.
From there, we tried Badminton. At first, we expected an experience similar to Sega's Virtua Tennis games, but it's anything but. As the shuttlecock sails over the net, you must gauge its trajectory and make the all-important decision to hit (by pressing A) or dodge (by pressing left on the d-pad).
Finally, there was the 20km Walk, which is essentially power walking. With this, you'll want to tap the touch screen in time with the beat and your character's steps.
Each game uses a different aspect of the 3DS, be it gyroscope, touch screen or the face buttons. Of course, there will be glasses free 3D, as well as wireless four-person multiplayer (local only), though Sega also plans to include online leaderboards.
As for the rest of the events, the trailer showcases soccer, horseback riding and other activities, giving you an idea what to expect.
That said, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games appears to have the right amount of content to keep fans in the gold medal hunt for months. Look for it late 2011/early 2012.