No stranger to sports titles, the famed plumber Mario Mario along with his friends (and enemies) from the Mushroom Kingdom and beyond are now part of a new Wii release, Mario Sports Mix. Consisting of four main games and several mini-games, Mario Sports Mix is certainly on the arcade side of the simulation-arcade sports spectrum and can provide hours of enjoyment, but maybe not as many hours as you'd like.
The four main sports included in the game are basketball, hockey, volleyball, and dodgeball. Games across the sports are played in two-on-two or three-on-three format, with up to four people being able to play locally at once (Wi-Fi Connection play is also available). The controls are exceptionally simple, but the tutorials for each sport make them appear way more difficult than they actually are. And, wisely, the controls are similar from one sport to the next (shooting in hockey is the same as in basketball, as is passing).
A great way to conceptualize Mario Sports Mix is as a mash-up between Mario Kart and a traditional sports title. There are tournaments with unlockables, the games are fast, and you're able to use turtle shells, bananas, and other Mario paraphernalia in your quest to become champion. Rather than sitting in karts and going around a track though, you're playing hockey…. or basketball… or dodgeball… or volleyball.
As with Mario Kart, you're able to select one of several playable characters (more get unlocked as you win) from the Mario universe (with a couple of other guys thrown in as well) or a Mii. Each character has different strengths and weaknesses from being fast to being powerful to being accurate, etc. Characters deliver short happy and sad utterances as they win or lose, and the entire endeavor certainly has a very Mario feel. They also each have special moves in the various sports which prove virtually unblockable and which are therefore a rather poor addition to the title as they suck the competition right out of it when used.