It’s been more than a decade since Mario and Sonic first laced up their shoes and competed against each other at the Olympic Games, spawning what would become a regular crossover franchise. But while the venue changes each time the mascots meet, the underlying game has largely remained the same over the past 12 years, and that holds true for this year’s installment, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Like previous entries in the series, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 features a varied selection of new and returning Olympic events to compete in, ranging from classics such as the triple jump and 100m dash to new Dream Events like karate and hoverboarding. The biggest addition this time around, however, is the brand-new story mode, which introduces a handful of retro-inspired 2D events to the mix as well–and they’re the clear highlights of the package.
The story begins with Bowser and Dr. Eggman joining forces to finally defeat Mario and Sonic, and before long, the mascots are transported back in time to the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, complete with retro 2D visuals. There are 10 2D events in total in the game, running the gamut from diving and vaulting to volleyball and judo. Much like the 3D events, they’re all simple to grasp, and coupled with the retro visuals, they immediately bring to mind Konami’s classic Track & Field.
The presentation is a large part of why the 2D events are so amusing. Sonic and company take on their classic 16-bit looks, while Mario and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom gang revert back to their 8-bit incarnations. These sprites don’t feature any new animations, so Princess Peach and Bowser will humorously bob up and down to “run” around the track.
We recently had a chance to go hands-on with the new Mario & Sonic game, and you can check out a handful of 2D events we played during our demo session in the video above. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on November 5 in North America and November 8 in Europe. You can read more about the title on its official website.