Mario Sports Mix revisits the gaming genre where the Wii excels: party games.
It builds on Wii Sports, which shipped with the console, by adding more sports, familiar characters and quite possibly the strangest ending in a sporting game.
As in Wii Sports, the game's graphics suffer because the Wii console is not on par with either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. To make up for this, the Wii's developers have found a way to offer something those other consoles can't. The best Wii games have simple controls and take just minutes to understand and enjoy.
And that's exactly how Mario Sports Mix was designed by Square Enix. Once you've played one sport, you're ready for the next, with a minimal learning curve.
Familiar characters play four sports that everyone knows: basketball, hockey, dodgeball and volleyball. Each game uses elements from Mario's past games to enhance the competition. Question blocks offer items to knock out your opponent and improve your abilities. Coins are available to increase your point total each time you score.
The game is not without faults, though. The single-player mode needs some work to really challenge players. As a long-time gamer, it did not take me any time to power through all levels and beat the game.
After winning the tournament in each sport, you're faced with a daunting task that has nothing to do with the regular game play. That's thanks to Square Enix adding its own twist at the end. No spoilers, but Final Fantasy fans will be pleased. I, however, was confused and not a fan.
Overall, Mario Sports Mix adds to the Wii's collection of party games nicely. There's no word on a sequel, but let's hope it's in the works and they're adding bocce.