3 months after its Wii version hit the shelves, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games has reached the 3DS. As with past games in the series, the handheld versions are usually the best with extra events and a story mode as featured in the Winter Olympics. This 3DS version is packed with many events to play and once again a story mode, but some questionable design choices do hold this one back from being the best.
The story is about everybody getting ready for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics for the next day. However Dr Eggman and Bowser are hiding out in Big Ben and are quite upset that they weren't invited for the games. So Eggman has constructed a machine that by using a strange artifact will cause a massive fog to spread all around London, which will cause the Olympic Games to be cancelled. Mario, Sonic and their friends arrive in London and notice the fog spreading around the city and start to see fog copies of themselves. It's up to Mario, Sonic and crew to figure out the source of the fog and stop Eggman and Bowser. The plot itself is completely ridiculous just like the last game's story but it has its charm and corniness to it as well as some fun character interactions.
The game has 55 different Olympic events to play along with a multiplayer and story mode so there will be plenty to do. Each event has different styles of controls. You'll be using the traditional buttons as well as the microphone and gyro controls. Each event varies in controls. Some control great, others not as well. Events such as Aquatics 100m Freestyle, Taekwondo, Balance Beam, Trampoline, BMX, Canoe Slalom (Pair) and Archery are very fun with some pretty good controls. Other events vary from, fun but they end much to quickly or controls that end up being a bit frustrating or very limited. One irritating design choice is that you can only pick 4 characters for certain events. The other games never did this so why this one would do it I still don't understand. It really takes away the freedom of choice and being able to see characters doing sports that would take away all of their dignity for comedic value.
The best part of the Mario and Sonic Olympic series was the Dream Events. These events took place in Mario and Sonic worlds and put an interesting spin on Olympic Events. Sadly this handheld edition of London Olympics has removed these events which is a big letdown. The overall gameplay is still good fun but some of the design choices are disappointing.
The graphics are really well done. They are worthy of standing up to the Wii version along with some very impressive 3D. Character models look nice and the environments match the feel of London but with a cartoony look. The audience still look 2D as in previous games which only a very minor nitpick.
The audio is still as good as the previous games. The music sounds great especially during the story mode's cutscenes which really surprised me. Sound effects are pretty decent as well.
Overall this is pretty fun handheld version of the London Olympics, but some of the design choices do hold this one back from being the best. If you're a fan of the series I'd wait till it gets a little cheaper, or if you can look past the issues then go for it. This entry is close to being the best handheld version of the series, but it takes a few steps backwards. 7/10