After the runaway success of Wii Sports and Mario Kart, it was only a matter of time before Nintendo came out with a Mario-branded take on motion-controlled sport.
Mario Sports Mix offers four team sports - volleyball, basketball, hockey and dodgeball - plus a quartet of mini-games to pad things out. And as with Wii Sports, accessibility is the watchword here.
The controls have been boiled down to the barest bones. Volleyball, for example, requires no button pressing - just move your character around the screen and shake the controller to serve, jump, block, pass or shoot.
Basketball, hockey and dodgeball do involve the odd button press, but rattling the wiimote still takes centre stage.
The mini-games are just as untaxing. Harmony Hustle is the most basic of all. You run around catching balls shot out of a cylindrical Victorian music box so that its tune burbling on. To catch you simply need to move into the highlighted zone. No shaking necessary. It's about as exciting as trudging through Tesco's. In fact, the pace is so gentle that the person helping me test the multiplayer modes dozed off mid-game.
In fairness Mario Sports Mix's drive for simplicity is rarely so disastrous. With friends most of the games, especially dodgeball and hockey, offer snack-like doses of good-natured fun. The addition of Mario Kart-style power ups that can turn the tables at any moment also ensures that players of all abilities can enjoy themselves.
But solo play drains Mario Sports Mix of all its appeal thanks to its sluggish pace and bumbling fools that pass as computer controlled characters.
As a party game with a kid-friendly edge, Mario Sports Mix is decent enough but even then it's a long way from outstanding and not a patch on Wii Sports or Mario Kart.
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Mario Sports Mix
Good party game, but not a patch on Wii Sports or Mario Kart