Nintendo has recently released demos for the eShop on Nintendo 3DS which primarily consist of retail released games, this also means as of Thursday a release for the demo of the hotly anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog title coming out in February. That’s right, the 3DS edition of Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Hold your applause please. Keep in mind that each downloaded demo from the eShop has a limit of thirty uses. Look through the Game Demos section of the store, or search for the game to download the game to the 3DS system. If you rather hold out for the full version, or don’t live in the US, but still carry an interest, be sure to hit the jump for impressions.
Since this is the 3DS version, each game will make use of one or a combination of control schemes including pushing buttons, using the touch screen or tilt controls. For the most part, each control scheme works the way it should. Each mini game is prefaced with a handful of pages describing and demonstrating the controls with screenshots and are very easy to understand. Even the ones that are the more demanding can still be understood even on the first try. In regards to the 3D effects, while it is not necessary to use for any of the games, they do better than most other 3D enabled games on the system. Even having the 3D effect on all the way did not cause any eye strain, even when characters appear at the closest point possible on the screen.
The demo consists of five events with five characters pre-selected among four teams. The events include 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, Football, Trampoline, 100m Backstroke and BMX racing. While the difficulty defaults to Easy mode settings, each mini game is still simple enough to understand despite the variety of play-styles each game represents. They’re not the deepest games that can be found, but they warrant at least more than one playthrough as each game has an element of timing to consider.
25m Rapid Fire Pistol works as sort of a rhythm based game where you have to fire at the center of each of the five targets with the R button in a straight go and goes faster by each round. At first it would seem as if timing the button presses to the beat would actually help the timing, which is actually a misdemeanor. It’s otherwise fairly easy to get the timing down to get as close to the center of each target. A very simple game.
Football, or Soccer for the yanks, uses the circle pad to flick or curve your shots. This is probably the most difficult of the games to get used to as the ball is kicked to the player character, and must kick it in the goal when the ball begins to flash indicating when to flick the circle pad. Curving shots requires the player to rotate the pad as opposed to letting go for the kick to allow for the trickier shots. The player is placed at different positions on each round, with each ball varying in terms of points and obstacles (Egg-Pawns in this case,) in the way of the goal to accommodate for.
Trampoline is where the player must jump for extra height and must adjust their aerial descent to aim as close to the center of the trampoline and to time jumps to gain extra height for bonus points to build up for a signature finisher stunt. The camera is positioned overhead which works fine with the 3D effect turned on, but is unneccesary as a blue circle on the trampoline helps time when to press the jump buttonto gain extra height.
100m Backstroke is a swimming race controlled entirely by the touch screen by making complete circles in time to speed up. It’s a little tough to get the hang of, since you have to match the touch screen with the circle on the top screen which the game tries to teach by giving off two practice strokes to demonstrate how the game works. For each circle with 90% accuracy or above causes the circle timing to go faster until the accuracy goes under 90%. Getting the timing down can be satisfying with each perfectly traced circle, but difficult for those without a steady hand.
Finally the BMX race uses the face buttons to accelerate and jump, the circle pad to adjust your position on the track similar to Excitebike and tilting the gyro sensor built into the 3DS to adjust the landing of each jump. Even when mistiming the landings or running through patches of mud, it still seemed as if it was still possible to stay well ahead of the other racers by simply timing jumps to go over hazards and other hills. The tilt controls are a bit problematic in this game mode however, as the system must be held horizontally for the entire length of the mini game, and the 3D effect doesn’t work as well since it only works best when looking straight at the system. It’s better to leave the 3D effect turned off to prevent from being disoriented.
It’s not proving to be the deepest mini game collection, but they play well enough and in some cases give enough room for the player to improve their performance. While they prove to be a little more in-depth than the predecessors, it’s simply a matter of seeing if there is still an interest in these kinds of games these days. Plus the demo does not showcase any Dream events, and the characters control the same more or less. While each playthrough selects a preset team, it’s likely that each character from each team represents one type of skill they would excel in and just stuck with a rotation that works for the variety of characters for each event. Definitely give this a try if you’re up for more mini games in the vein of the upcoming Olympic games.