Family Game Night: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

johnfaceGrowing up in the 80’s the thought of Mario and Sonic appearing in the same video game was absurd. SEGA and Nintendo were mortal enemies whose marketing campaigns constantly fired shots at one another. Fast forward 30 years though and we now have a series of successful games where the two of them compete against each other during the Olympic Games. What a strange new world we live in.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games features characters from both well known series including Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong, Knuckles, Tails and more. You can compete in single player or co-op events as well as enter tournaments. The list of events is impressive as well including Rugby, Swimming, Equestrian, Archery and many more. I grew up playing titles like Summer Games and Track and Field, so I thought this would be a fun game to play with the kids as we kick off our new Family Game Night series.

WiiU_MSRio2016_OlympicGames_screen_01_bmp_jpgcopySo the girls and I gathered around the TV and booted up the game on the Wii U. It immediately got their attention with the vibrant and colorful graphics that you’ve come to expect from a Nintendo title. After they spent the first 15 minutes running around the beach in the hub area I finally convinced them to start an actual event. Since both girls are currently enrolled in gymnastics they naturally were drawn to the Rhythmic Gymnastics event. This game plays out similarly to Dance Dance Revolution where you need to press the matching buttons as they scroll down the screen. Timing is everything and when Chloe missed several in a row she immediately got frustrated and stormed out of the room vowing to never play the game again. Awesome. Our new feature is going down in flames after the first half hour.

My kids don’t have a ton of video game experience so it’s to be expected that there will be a bit of a learning curve. I let her cool off and the next day I explained to her that A) there are plenty of other events that play differently that she should try, and B) I don’t like the idea of her quitting something after trying it once just because it didn’t go well. So we agreed to give the game another try and started again from the beginning. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed and day 2 was much more successful.

IMG_3485We started out by finding the event with the simplest mechanics, which was the 100m Dash. This basically involves just smashing on the A button as fast as you can and thankfully Chloe got first place so her confidence received a nice boost. After that she was excited to play more and try out some of the other events. Next she tried Swimming which wasn’t much more complicated but now involves alternating between pressing A and either Left or Right on the analog stick. She was good at that event too and we continued passing the controller around and taking turns with the 17 varied events. And even though Sam (who is 5) wasn’t very good at most of them, she was still having a lot of fun fumbling through the games in last place. I appreciate that the complexity of the games varies between the events so there’s something for every skill level (I especially liked soccer).

The girls also had lots of fun experimenting with the different characters you could play as, even though they didn’t know most of the Sonic cast like Big the Cat or Vector the Crocodile the character designs are fun and colorful enough that they wanted to check everybody out. They also let you unlock new outfits for your Mii using coins and rings earned in the games which they thought was pretty cool.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is a fun game that offers a little something for everybody. We all found plenty to keep us entertained throughout our first Family Game Night and I have no doubt that we’ll be returning to the game often, especially during the upcoming Rio games when we all have Olympic fever.

Parent’s Take

Dad “A fun collection of games with a bright and colorful design. While maybe not as deep or challenging as a more experienced gamer might like, there was still plenty for me to enjoy alongside the kids.”

Kid’s Take

Chloe “I like the swimming and the running but the archery is very hard.”

Samantha “I love the horse racing and the bike and the running and the swimming and every part of it!”


Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is available right now on the Wii U and 3DS systems. Nintendo provided us with a copy of the game for this feature but we were not compensated in any other way.

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