Preview | Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 — Dream Events
Continuing our weekly coverage of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we’re just under two weeks away from launch. After our previews of the Tokyo 1964 Events and the Story Mode, this week we focus on the new Dream Events. The series has had multiple Dream Events since the very first game in the series, and Tokyo 2020 is no different. Here we give everyone an idea of what to expect in these new events.
What are Dream Events exactly? Well they’re essentially arcade style mini-games inspired by different Olympic events. In this game, there are three different Dream Events: Dream Racing, Dream Shooting, and Dream Karate. These games mix things up a bit by adding items and other shenanigans that can’t be considered allowed in real Olympic events.
To start out, we check out Dream Racing. Based on the Skateboarding event, this downhill race takes place in Metropolis from Sonic Forces. This event can be played either with traditional button controls or with a single joy-con using motion controls. Traditional controls will use three buttons to jump, use items, and do tricks. The analog stick will steer and balance on grind rails. Using the motion controls however, tilting the joy-con will steer while flicking it up will jump. Both options work fairly well, though I prefer to use the buttons for a bit more stability on controls.
Eight contestants will ride down the slalom, jumping off ramps, grinding on rails, and avoiding laser fences. Item boxes will be scattered around the stage, offering various iconic items from both the Mario and Sonic series. These include lightning bolts, speed shoes, shields, red shells, super stars, and rings. Collecting rings will increase your speed, but hitting obstacles will lose rings. Performing jumps off ramps will build up a special meter, gaining more or less based on timing. If players hit the A button upon landing, they can get an extra speed boost. Performing the special move will give players an extra speed boost as well.
Each character type will have different bonuses. Speed types like Sonic will excel in grinds. Power types like Bowser will jump higher. Technique characters like Silver the Hedgehog will have tighter turning. Then you have all-around characters like Mario that are balanced across all stats. Dream Racing is a fun event, though it’s too bad it only takes place in one stage. It would’ve been nice to have one or two extra courses to spice things up. It’s sort of like a more basic Sonic Riders in a lot of ways.
Moving on to Dream Shooting, you can play this event either individually or with teams of two. Four competitors enter an arena based on a traditional Japanese hall building. Targets are scattered all over and players will move around shooting pellets at the targets to build up their score. Controls are like a traditional third person shooter, though motion controls are necessary to aim. This is the case even if using the pro controller. If you’ve played this way in other Switch shooters, it should feel pretty familiar.
In this event, speed characters will move faster, technique characters will have better aiming, and power characters will be good at stunning opponents. Multishot panels scattered around the arena will give players the ability to shoot multiple shots at once. There are also switches that can activate special targets or even close doors. During the timed match, there will also be bonus segments where kites appear. Shooting at specific spots on the kite will earn extra points, so it’s best to take advantage of this bonus time. During the last 30 seconds, a giant kite will appear and will also grant a lot of bonus points. Another fun event, which can play out rather different each time.
Finally, Dream Karate, based on the new Karate – Kumite event, has four players fighting over panels. This event felt very similar to an early eShop title called Flip Wars. Four contestants, whether individually or in teams of two, will fight for supremacy of the panels. Players can only use traditional controls here, with no option for motion. The A button will punch up to three times while the X button will perform a more powerful kick. Holding these buttons will charge them up and give increased range. The Y button will throw opponents, the L button will use items and the B button is for dodging. As you play, you’ll build a super meter which allows you to unleash a powerful attack with the R button.
When players knock their opponents back, the panels they land on will flip to their pattern. Claiming certain panels will make an item pop out, which can turn the tide of battle. Items like POW Blocks, super stars, chaos emeralds, springs and reversal stones can easily give a player an advantage. If a player uses a super move, they can make an opponent drop an item, giving them a chance to collect it. One thing that was interesting was that playing on teams, players can attack their teammate when knocking opponents into them. It’s a rather silly event, but it can be pretty competitive. It feels more like a Mario Party mini-game, and it even takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom as seen in Super Mario Odyssey.
All the Dream Events are playable with up to four-player split-screen. They’re also playable online as long as players have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. While they’re more or less a fun distraction, in the overall selection of events, the Dream Events are more than welcome. We’ll have our final preview for the game next week, focusing on all 22 standard events. After that, we’ll have our review up just in time for the November 5th launch. Stay tuned!