Preview | Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 — Story Mode
After our preview of the Tokyo 1964 events, we continue our weekly coverage of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. This time, we take a sneak peek at the story mode of the game. Though there have been story modes in previous installments, this is the first home console game in the series to have one. All previous stories or adventure modes have been exclusive to handheld iterations. Being that the Switch can also be handheld, it’s kind of the best of both worlds.
The plot here revolves around Dr. Eggman and Bowser using a magical retro game system to trap Mario and Sonic. Things don’t go according to plan and all four of them are sucked into the game. Inside, the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games are commencing, and gold medals are the ticket out. Meanwhile, Luigi gathers friends to try and save Mario and Sonic from their retro doom. In the real world, he has his own problems to deal with, including Bowser Jr. and other villains.
The story takes place over a series of chapters, switching between the retro style and the modern style. While many of the events are in the story, there are also many minigames that are exclusive to this mode. Some of these games include climbing the Tokyo Tower as Tails, using springs and other methods. Another minigame involves Sonic racing against a bullet train to beat Dr. Eggman to the train station. While these events aren’t exactly deep, they do a good job to add a little spice to the game. It also makes it a nice change of pace from playing Olympic events.
While players compete in the 2020 Olympics, they’ll recruit other characters to join them. These characters are essential to advance the plot, but they also provide their own skills to each event. Certain events will even include guest characters, where defeating them will unlock them as a playable character outside of the story. Unfortunately, they will only be playable in specific events. Some of these characters include Rouge the Bat, Rosalina, Diddy Kong, and Eggman Nega. Not every event will have a guest character, but it’s nice to have that extra option at least.
Some fun things to note is that Mario doesn’t have any dialogue in the story mode. Sonic or Toad basically do all the talking for him, and the same could be said for Luigi as well. It’s nice to see some consistency between the various games, as even the Mario & Luigi games made this a requirement. Most of the story presents itself through text boxes with characters animated on the sides. The retro segments are an exception, as it has the characters all in the setting with a large dialogue box below. The writing is fun enough, though not quite on the same humorous level of the Sonic Boom cartoon series.
The story recreates Tokyo in both the 2020 and 1964 settings. Players will be able to explore the map, moving between points of interest and landmarks. A lot of famous locations are available to visit like the Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo Tower, and more. One thing that makes the story mode extra interesting is the trivia players can collect. This trivia not only teaches players about the Olympic events, but it will also give insightful information on Tokyo as well. There’s also information on various characters in the game, though it feels like filler. We don’t need to know that Luigi’s mustache is shaped like a swoosh or that Vector’s favorite thing is money. Granted, it’s a game suitable for children, so it’s understandable why this trivia appears in the game.
The story presents itself well enough, with occasional voice quips and colorful visuals. It’s not a cinematic experience, but it’s still fun and makes for some decent single player content. Fans of Mario and Sonic would likely enjoy playing through it. Those with interest in the Olympics and Japanese culture may find a lot of useful information from the trivia. The events and minigames make a good mix of gameplay and overall, it’s fun to play. That’s what matters, so the story is a welcome addition. That’s all we have to say about the story mode in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Check back next week for more preview coverage as we check out the dream events!