Developed and Published By: Sega Categories: Sports, Party Release Date: 06.21.21
Every other year for the most part, Sega releases a game to commemorate the Olympics. Majority of them, especially since the 2012 games have been of the Mario and Sonic flavor, Sega used to just make traditional Olympics games. What we have here is the first since their title for the 2012 games.
While both 2020 Tokyo Olympic games came out in Japan in 2019, the one here was delayed for it’s worldwide release until 2021, presumably because the actual 2020 Tokyo Olympics got delayed. This is good however, as the western release includes events that were part of updates in the Japanese release. Lets dig in to that.
If you’re familiar with the biennial Mario and Sonic games and their format, this should be very familiar. Lots of Olympic events, lots of history, and a rather depressing single player outing. The twist, is that this isn’t a majestic, dream kind of game, though you can still dress up as Sonic.
You’ll choose your country and team, then make your own Olympic competitor. There is a wide pallet of choices to make your own character. As far as I could tell, most choices work regardless of the selected bodytype, gender, skin color. Regardless of who you are, you’ll probably be able to make yourself or rather an idealized version of yourself. If a game has a CaC mode, at this point it should just freely have these options to anyone. Each event has it’s own outfit, which is nice to see.
If you don’t like an outfit after a while, with the points you get after playing the game, unlock some new ones. Civilian clothes, a pirate garb, what looks to be a Toku hero, and even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics mascot. A few of these clothing options are non-gendered or non-binary friendly, another plus for welcoming people of all sorts.
Discussing events, there’s plenty, and the 2020 Olympics are Summer Games. Of course, you get Track and Field events like 100m dash, Hurdles, Long Jumps, and the Hammer Throw. Aquatics like freestyle and medley swimming. Sports climbing, Rugby, Boxing, Cylcling, and my personal favorite Judo. Then the more traditional sports like Baseball, Basketball, Football, Volleyball, and Tennis (of the court and table variety). All of these can be played with friends locally, or even online.
Controls are very simple, but some do take a minute to get really down with. As expected, there’s a lot of button mashing, but you’ll get plenty of times where you need to actually pay attention as well. Long Jumps for instance, you’ll start with mashing the B button to build speed, but when you get to the jumping line, you’ll need to flick the left stick, not push, but flick, and you’ll jump. Get to the perfect angle and press A or Y to land, getting a further distance. This is not as easy as it sounds, as you can not time your landing correctly, or you can overstep the jump line and not get scored at all for a jump, even if it’s slightly. Thankfully, you can always go into practice mode to play without worrying about making a fool out of yourself in front of others.
While Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is great for crowds, the single player aspect leaves much to be desired. It’s just playing each event, alone. This isn’t too much a fault for the game, as with friends or even randoms online, the game is still a lot of fun, but I would have loved even a small tutorial story mode like Mario and Sonic 2020 had.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a clean looking game. Especially for the year it came out in Japan, this is a great looking Switch game. The UI is slick, the models look great, but I don’t have one issue, though it’s more opinion than an actual flaw. The characters themselves have a bit of an uncanny valley thing going on. They look good, but they’re right dab in the middle of the realistic and cartoony scale.
If you are, and I can’t imagine why you would plan on buying this to play alone, you’re going to probably not going to get a fulfilling experience unless you love the Olympics. If you have the competitive spirit and plan to play online or with friends and family, you’ll get a rather enjoyable sports themed minigame collection. I don’t really care much for full sports games, but the arcade feel they all have in the kinds of games that Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 does is right up my alley.