It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Mario sports game. (You’d have to go back to Mario Super Sluggers a few years ago.) With Mario Sports Mix, the game offers four unique experiences on one disc, a first for the series.
While dodgeball was the game we really wanted to play, we did go hands-on with the two offered on the show floor, volleyball and basketball.
Volleyball is a bit disappointing. It’s a waggle-fest of a game, with sets and spikes, though aiming your shot in the air at least adds a bit of strategy. Besides the shaking control scheme, it plays like you’d expect, with items here and there to keep things interesting. Aiming items is a bit tough though, as you have to throw them and aim the throw. This can make things difficult when also getting in position under the ball.
Basketball showed more promise. It’s an almost exact replica of the DS’ Mario Hoops 3 on 3, and that’s no coincidence, since it’s done by the same developers. performing tricky maneuvers and using powerups can lead to scoring more per shot, but doing this also leaves you vulnerable to losing the ball.
The difficulty on the show floor was locked in on Easy, so we can’t say much about the game’s AI. Human players, on the other hand, can cooperate, with the off-ball player focusing on finding and using items while the ballhandler builds up a combo score.
Without knowing about the other two games, it’s hard to judge the merits of Mario Sports Mix. We’ll know more when as we approach the game’s release.