Over the years, the Mario Sports have seen numerous sports covered. Ranging from golf to soccer, tennis, and baseball. We even had Mario and crew take on the Olympics against Sonic and team! This formula was a sure thing, right?
Mario Sports Stars delivers five sports to tackle in one package, but unfortunately, the collection falls flat and has a hard time getting back up.
Within the collection, you’ll find golf, baseball, soccer, tennis, and horse racing. Each of the five sports is boiled down versions of their bigger brothers Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Mario Sluggers, and Mario Strikers.
My personal favorites within the bundle were tennis and golf, comparable to their bigger brothers Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, however, these aren’t the full experience you would get like their bigger brothers. Over time, I felt my game improve, getting better as each round passed and feeling some sense of accomplishment.
What doesn’t work is the short number of courses available for golf, or the one arena for tennis, only being able to change what the playing surface is made of between clay, grass, or hard.
Baseball plays like a stripped-down version of Super Mega Baseball and far from Mario Sluggers.
Horse racing is the biggest departure from the established formulas of Mario sports titles, the basics here are you need to complete three laps around a track, there is also tournaments that award points. Horses have the stamina and are the sole thing you need to keep in check if you want to win. Stamina also replenishes when you keep in-line with the other jockeys, the closeness of the others enables a faster replenishment rate of stamina.
You can even pet and walk and throw accessories on your horse, but, this is catered to young children and akin to Nintendogs.
A big issue for myself was the noticeable lack of difficulty in each sport, playing through each difficulty setting I had no issues annihilating my opponents and racking up points to the point where a comeback would be impossible. Granted, this was with tennis and soccer, golf and baseball were a guesswork but the noticeable lack of challenge was present here.
The character models in Mario Sports Superstars are a bright spot here, they look great and animate well. The unlockable characters are here, like most Mario titles, and there are things to unlock through buying cards that you can collect and revisit.
Mario Sports Superstars offers five sports games in one collection but the shallow gameplay and basic UI create a game that doesn’t resonate with me. Each sport is a basic version of a much better game and this is what pulls you out of the gameplay quickly. If you’re okay with playing boiled down versions of sports games, this is made for you, but if you’re looking for a game that won’t bore you quickly, this isn’t it and you’ll be sorely disappointed.