Rio GamesIt’s perfectly fine if you’re not able to make it to the Olympics this year, because you can pretend to be at the games with Mario, Sonic, and their competitive friends, such as Luigi, Peach, Tales, and Shadow.

With Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Nintendo‘s Wii U, players can compete in a variety of games for the coveted gold medal. As soon as the game starts, players are taken to a beach where Mario and Sonic advise them to play in some of the events available in the game before competing in the actual tournament. This helps get players warmed up for the big event. As players make their way through the event games to get some practice before the real deal, they will unlock coins, which will eventually unlock the tournament, granting them the honor to compete.

Each character has his or her own advantages and disadvantages. For example, Bowser has tons of strength, but when it comes to speed, he’s not as great, so kids should choose their characters wisely.

Once the tournament gates open, players will play as their Miis and battle against other Miis, while (hopefully) advancing through semifinals and finals. With any luck, players will be awarded with gold, silver, or bronze medals if they make it to the top three. In order to beat the game, players must win each featured event in the finals. Through the events, players can acquire outfits that will boost Mii stats and give players even more of a fighting chance.

WiiU_MSRio2016_OlympicGames_screen_02_bmp_jpgcopyIn addition to the main story mode, players can choose to be on Team Mario or Team Sonic in the Hero Showdown. Friends and foes are pitted against each other to see who is the better competitor. In this showdown, elimination rounds take place, so only the greatest competitor will be victorious.

WiiU_Mario_SonicattheRio2016OlympicGames_gameplay_06The events are similar to mini games, but are a bit longer than Mario Party mini games. These games are much more focused on hitting goals than catching stars. Its all about pressing the buttons at the right time. In Archery, players are simply pressing the A button to hit the target, but if kids are able to hit a star, they should definitely go for it. Plus, most of the interaction from past Olympic games is gone. Although most of the events just require players to mash buttons, which takes away the motion control of the game, it is still thrilling to play, especially with the Rio Games right around the corner.

Although Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Wii U is a step down from the 3DS version, the unique events give the game some added play value. For the Wii U, 4x100m Relay, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Rugby Sevens, and Triple Jump are all exclusive events not found on the 3DS.

WiiU_MarioandSonicATRio2016OlympicGames_scrn044x100m Relay is a fast-paced event that puts players in a team of four to race around a 100-meter track. While running, players need to press the indicated buttons to get a boost and win. In Rhythmic Gymnastics, players must press the A button or the directional pad, when the stars land on the side of the corresponding button. This event features a stand-out soundtrack, and players can unlock more songs by scoring high in each level of difficulty.

WiiU_MarioandSonicATRio2016OlympicGames_scrn01Rugby Sevens, which is a new event in the 2016 Olympic games, centers around one team scoring goals. Players can tackle other players, but they may also pass the ball to their teammates. Kids will love watching Mario and Sonic tackling each other to steal the ball. Some of the events featured in the Wii U version can be repetitive, such as Table Tennis, Boxing, and Equestrian, but some games are extremely engaging and get players pumped up, such as BMX, Archery, and 100m Freestyle.

There’s no need to go to the Olympic games alone. In local and online multiplayer, up to four players can battle it out in most events, but some only let two people face off, such as Boxing and Gymnastics.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games lets kids participate in a variety of events and helps them understand what the real Olympics are all about. With outstanding graphics and the ability to play as their favorite characters, players will have a great experience battling it out in Rio.

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is available now for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.