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Critics: New Mario is ‘lazy,’ ‘insubstantial’

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Mario Sports Mix

Platforms: Wii

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Mario: sporty

Perhaps Mario should stick to platform-jumping.

In his traditional arena -- most recently exemplified by New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 -- he's nigh unbeatable, an instant passport to critical and
commercial success. But his latest extra-curricular release, Mario Sports Mix, sees him tackling hockey, volleyball, basketball, and
dodgeball, and it's getting a surprisingly muted set of review scores.

How muted? It's averaging 67% as of the time of writing, and considering Galaxy 2 hit a stellar 97% overall, that's a low mark for one of video gaming's best-known faces.

Maybe it's the new developer. Rather than handling it in-house, Nintendo
outsourced Sports Mix to Square Enix, better known for the Final
Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series. Or maybe it's a sign that critics
were hoping for more single-player depth to the game -- there's a clear
consensus that you really need a few friends on tap to see the game at
its best.

Eurogamer tipped hockey as the best of the Sports Mix offerings, saying it's "almost as
fast and violent as the actual sport," while volleyball and dodgeball
are "pretty weak." Like most critics, they're pretty down on the
single-player action, calling the computer opponents "incredibly
stupid," your teammates "braindead," and the opening challenges
"fist-eatingly boring." Fortunately, the multiplayer clearly goes some
way to redeem the game: "four people, two-on-two, Basketball and Hockey
are as good as any Mario sport since Tennis or Strikers," says
Eurogamer, giving it a 7/10.

Check out Mario's other jobs

Unfortunately, that's one of its better scores. Slamming it as "lazy and patronisingly simplistic," Metro agrees that hockey is the pick of the bunch, but doles out a
disappointing 5/10. Calling its controls "slick and intuitive," they
neverless continue "it sacrifices too much in terms of depth, just for
the novelty of the over-the-top special shot." And overall, there's an
obvious sense of disappointment at its shallow gameplay: "The Mario
sports games used to be deceptively deep simulations," Metro writes,
"[and] unfortunately this isn't hiding anything."

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