Mario Sports Superstars
Mario Sports Superstars is a Mario sports title for the Nintendo 3DS. It features a variety of sports in which Mario and many other characters from the Mario universe can compete, including soccer (previously playable in the Mario Strikers series), baseball (previously playable in the Mario Baseball series), tennis (previously playable in the Mario Tennis series), golf (previously playable in the Mario Golf series), and horse racing (a new sport in the Mario sports spin-offs). Up to six players can participate in this game. The game is compatible with amiibo, and a new Mario Sports Superstars line of amiibo cards are to be released for the game. Those who purchase one of the "initial run" copies of Mario Sports Superstars at retail will receive a free amiibo card from the said line of amiibo cards. It was released in Europe on March 10, 2017, in Australia on March 11, 2017, in North America on March 24, 2017, and is set for release Japan on March 30, 2017.
In a similar manner to another sports compilation, Mario Sports Mix, each sport plays out as their own separate mode. The tennis and golf sports play similarly to the Mario Tennis and Mario Golf series, specifically each series' latest iteration, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash and Mario Golf: World Tour respectively. Each mode has their own tournament mode, a three tier system that has eight participating players in total, catered to single players. Three cups are available, with the first cup being the Mushroom Cup, the second being the Flower Cup and the third being the Star Cup. Completing the Star Cup unlocks the Champion's Cup, and completing said cup unlocks Star versions of playable characters, who have increased stats. The player needs to unlock Starred characters for each sport individually. Each sport has its own training as well, where players can use it to practice shots or techniques freely.
Players can enjoy the game with multiple players, either with local play, playing with friends online, or playing against randoms online. Some sports allow up to two players, four players, or six players. The game does not support Download Play, however.
Alongside the main sports modes, additional tabs on the main menu screen include "amiibo Card", "Collection", a settings icon, and a manual icon.
Coins can be earned when a task is completed, such as winning a match in exhibition or winning tournaments or finding ? crates with coins inside them in horse racing. They are used to spend on randomly packaged cards at the shop.
Players participate in 11-vs-11 matches, which consists the traditional number of team members, unlike another Mario-themed soccer series, the Mario Strikers series. Teams are composed of a designated team captain, who represents the team with their shield emblem, an assistant captain, who is another team captain character as an ally, a goalie (either Boom Boom or Pom Pom), and the rest are supporting generic characters such as Koopa Troopas or Shy Guys, which are filled out with only one type of character, akin to Super Mario Strikers. Prior to beginning a match, players can adjust placement of their entire team in various formations.
The aim of soccer is to kick the ball into the opponent's goal, overcoming the opposing team members and their goalie, who attempts to block balls. Players are recommended to pass the ball to other team members to overcome the opposition, as well as setting up kicks to score the goal past the goalie. Players on the defense can attempt to steal the ball in possession from other players via slide-kicking. However, if the character in possession of the ball is hit without the ball being touched, a penalty is called and the player who is hit by the slide-kicking player earns a free kick. Additionally unlike the Mario Strikers series, there are throw-ins if the ball rolls out of bounds. When the ball rolls out of bounds in the area adjacent to the goalie, corner kicks are initiated instead of throw-ins. When kicking into the goal, players may press and hold the button to charge up their shots; a meter is represented below the character to indicate how powerful the shot will be. Team members are indicated by specific HUD circular markers underneath them, as well as their color on the bottom screen map. On the bottom screen map, both captains are displayed in their current position while the generic characters are represented by dots. Powerful Special Shots can be performed by captain-type characters, where each character has a unique special effect for that shot; a special shot may be initiated when the ball starts to sparkle. Whenever a goal is scored, a replay of the shot is shown, where players can view the replay, skip the replay, or change the camera angle of the replay. After a goal is scored, the opposing team captains get possession of the ball and starts off in the middle of the field, beginning the play again.
Baseball involves two teams of nine characters against each other, similar to the Mario Baseball series, as well as having various elements and gameplay mechanics taken from that series. Players need to select a team captain, as well as selecting an assistant captain, similar to how soccer plays out. The seven slots can then be individually filled with the player's choice, from a pool of generic characters such as Koopas, Toads, etc, unlike the soccer, where the player's team is homogeneous with a single species. Team members hold a bat that has their team captain's logo and design on them, unlike the Mario Baseball series, where they all had their own individual bats.
Players play in two positions of baseball; the team on offense takes turns within their members to bat the ball while the team on the defense pitches and covers the outfield. Players on the pitching mound can pitch using various methods, such as fast balls, forkballs, and screw balls to throw batting players off. Pitching has slightly different controls than the ones in the Mario Baseball series. Meters and HUD are used to time pitches and their type rather than pure button-inputs; to pitch a ball, players can sort through different pitch methods and time the spinning meter with the designated colored sweet spots. Players who bat earn strikes if the pitched ball goes over the home plate and they either do not hit the ball or miss the ball. A ball is called when the pitched ball does not cross over the plate; however, if the batting attempts to swing at such balls, a strike is called. Three strikes mean the player is out. If the batting player hits the ball and it lands on the foul zone, the player must rebat the ball at a cost of the strike, though it does not earn an out if they hit in a foul zone over three strikes. If there are four ball penalties, the batting player gets to walk the base. If the pitched ball hits the batting player, the batting player also gets a free walk to the base. Pitchers have stamina; more hits from the opposing team depletes stamina quicker. Over time, the pitching meter moves faster, meaning it is harder to hit the sweet spot markers correctly. Characters who tire out have very fast spinning meters, and are encouraged to switch to another character so players can be more accurate timing their pitches.
If the batting player hits the ball successfully without causing the ball to go in the foul zone (the areas to the left and right of the diamond, marked by lines), they can run towards the three bases in a specific order, until the fielders throw the ball into the fielders manning the bases. If the fielders catch a fly ball, the runner is out, and if there are multiple runners, they need to progress back towards their previous base. Fly balls can additionally be caught even in foul zones, and if they are caught before they bounce, the batter is out. Any runner who is tagged by a fielder before they reach a base is also considered out. Players earn points for their team if they circumnavigate the baseball diamond by touching all bases and reaching the home plate while avoiding receiving an out. If a batter receives a home-run, which means to send the ball out of bounds within the fair zone, they, alongside any additional base runners earn free points. Captains can use Star Skill-like abilities, such as Bowser using a fiery swing to knock the ball further away to possibly score home-runs. If runners are on bases, they have the option to steal a base while a pitcher is pitching. However, if the outfielder tags them before they can steal a base, they are considered out. Batting players have the option to bunt the ball as well. Bunting is a very slow and weak technique that can guarantee a hit, but, if done incorrectly, they either receive a foul if the ball rolls out of bounds or outfielders can pick up the ball and tag the bunter out.
Baseball games are split into innings, which players can set up to 9 innings. Once three outs are received for the batting team, both teams swap positions, where the defensive team now bats while the batting team goes to the outfield. Whichever team has the most points by the end of the last inning wins the game.
Tennis plays very similarly to the Mario Tennis series, with elements and mechanics of the game taken from the two most recent installments, Mario Tennis Open and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. Players can participate in either singles, one-on-one tennis or doubles, 2-vs-2 tennis. Chance Shots, Jump Shots, and the Ultra Smash make a return. This mode retains the touch screen functionality from Mario Tennis Open, where players can view controls for specific shots, as well as the bottom screen indicating what button combination to use to perform specific Chance Shots or to counter specific Chance Shots. Players can opt to play in Simple mode, where Chance Shots are turned off.
Tennis gameplay is as follows: players first serve a ball before it goes into play, where the speed of the serve depends on the height where it is hit from; players serve the ball the fastest when the ball is hit at its apex. Characters have different timing for serving their fastest shots, and the character's ability to serve is dependent on their power and spin; characters who have greater power can serve balls at quicker speeds, while characters who have a better ability to curve make it more difficult to return the ball. While receiving the ball, players need to wait until the ball bounces once; if they hit the serve before the ball bounces, a foul is called and the serving player receives a point. If the ball hits the square directly across the player, a fault is called and the player needs to serve the ball again. If players get another fault, they receive a double fault and the receiving player earns a point. If the ball hits the net while it is served, the server needs to retry the serve, but without any penalty.
After the serve, players need to rebound the ball until their opponent cannot return the ball or if they hit the ball out. Players can choose from four basic types of shots: simple, topspin, slice, and flat, depending on the button they hit to rebound the ball. Simple shots are activated with players press . Intended for beginning players, simple shots are weak shots, but can be any type of the three latter shots. They can also activate any Chance Shot, but these Chance Shots are weaker than when manually inputted. Topsins are indicated by a red outline and are activated when the player hits ; they are high shots that bounce high, and they are more powerful than slices, but weaker than flat shots. Slices are indicated by a blue outline are activated when the player hits ; they are low and weak shots that curve the ball moreso than other shots. Flats leave a purple outline and are the fastest shots but are the most difficult to control. They are activated when the player hits .
Players can input more advanced shots by hitting two buttons in conjunction rather than one; these shots cannot be used in serves. Lobs can be performed if the player hits then . Lobs are very high shots, indicated by their yellow outline, that can fly over a net player, but can open up opportunities for a Smash Chance Shot for the opposing player. If players press then , they can perform a Drop Shot. Indicated by a white outline, Drop Shots are very slow and low shots that end up near the net; this tactic is used to force players up to the net. If a ball is out of the player's reach, the player can attempt a lunge to hit the ball. However, this usually results in an Ultra Smash opportunity for the opponent.
Chance Shots, first introduced in Mario Tennis Open, are more powerful versions of the aforementioned types of shots and are activated when the opposing player makes a bad return. When this occurs, an icon representing the Chance Shot appears on the player's side of the court, where the player needs to move over it and perform the type of shot represented by the icon and color. The color of the Chance Shot corresponds to the type of shot that will be activated: for example, red Chance Shots represent a topspin Chance Shot, so pressing or over this Chance Shot causes a fiery topspin that knocks players back. Players can counter Chance Shots with an appropriate counter; for example, if the opponent uses a topspin Chance Shot, players need to correctly deflect it with a slice; otherwise, the player may do a bad return and set up opposing players for an Ultra Smash.
Players can press the shot button twice to perform a Jump Shot, first introduced in Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. These cause the character to leap to return higher shots. They are stronger than grounded shots, but they have a loss of control. If the opposing player messes up, either by lunging at the ball or using the wrong button input of countering a Chance Shot, a special type of shot gets triggered, causing the ball to fly high and the Chance Shot area to exhibit special effect. If players use the input for the Jump Shot at the moment this Chance Shot appears, they can leap to execute an Ultra Smash, the most powerful shot in the game.
Points are earned when the opposing player fails to return the ball within two bounces or if the opposing player get hits by the ball (called a Body Shot). If the player who hits the ball hits it outside of the defined boundaries, an out is called and the opposing player earns a point. A replay is then played to show the last few moves before the point is scored. Players can view the replay, skip the replay, or change camera angles of the replay for other perspectives. A special animation plays whenever the Ultra Smash is executed to earn a point. Points are earned in increments of 15, 30, and 40. When a point is earned when a player or team is at 40, they win a game or a break point. If both players or teams have 40 points, then a Deuce is called and whichever player manages to have an advantage of two points wins the game/set point. If both players or teams win the same amount of games into a set point, a Tiebreaker is called. During a Tiebreaker, whichever player scores 7 points wins the set/match point. A game set is won when players earn the required amount of game points. Players eventually win the match when they earn the amount of set points required.
Very similar to the Mario Golf series, players can golf on one of the many courses. Much of the graphics, HUD, elements, and mechanics are taken from the latest iteration of the Mario Golf series, Mario Golf: World Tour, including the bottom screen that includes information such as ball contact, ball spin, and the power meter. Players can either play two modes: Stroke Play, which players can golf for 9 holes or Ring Challenge, where players need to send the ball through large rings dotted across the course.
In golf, players need to sink the ball into a hole within a set number of shots, which is dependent on the course. Players are recommended to score at least a Par, which means the player has taken the number of strokes required for the ball to go into the hole. If players achieve less strokes than required, they earn better scores, such as a Birdie. However, if players take more strokes than required to sink the ball into the hole, it worsens their overall score, and thus are called Bogeys.
Golf uses a power meter to determine power and control of the ball. Players need to time the rising of the bar, which determines the power of the shot, as well as the descending, which determines the accuracy of the shot. If players hit outside the marked boundaries of the power meter the time it descends for accuracy purposes, players whiff the shot, often costing a stroke. Players can get perfect accuracy if the bar hits the sweet spot of the meter; if the bar is stopped outside the sweet spot, the ball veers in the direction the bar is stopped at. In other words, if the bar is stopped to the area left of the sweet spot, the ball curves towards that direction, causing some inaccuracy within the shot. Additionally, players can adjust the trajectory of the ball (which is indicated by arrows rising and falling on the main screen) by changing the area of ball contact, indicated by the bottom screen. Hitting the ball in the upper regions decreases height, while hitting the ball left or right causes the ball to curve left or right depending on the direction hit, often used to bypass obstacles such as trees. Newer players can opt for the "easy" option, where players need to manually input only the rising of the bar while the game automatically times the lowering of the bar for accuracy. However, this method is not perfect and may result in mishits, especially if the sweet spot is very low.
In addition, players need to take in account of the environment, which causes the ball to behave in different ways. Wind can change the ball's trajectory, and the speed of the wind as well as the direction it blows in depends on how affected the ball gets. Balls that have higher trajectories are more affected by the wind. The ball's lie is also affected by the ground it is on. If the ball is on the Fairway, there are no added penalties to the ball. However, if the ball lies on the Rough or Bunkers, the power and accuracy of the ball gets affected depending on how severe the terrain is. Topology of the course can also affect the ball's trajectory, where, often, more powerful, higher shots are needed to send the ball to higher elevations. Rain reduces power and spin of the shots, and players need to opt for significantly more power when they are putting the ball.
Different clubs have different purposes, and players can swap between clubs any time for varying needs. Woods, represented by "W", send the ball flying further at the cost of accuracy while irons, represented by "I", forgo ball drive in favor of accuracy. Sand wedges, represented by "SW" are used to get balls out of bunkers. Hybrids, represented by "H", are a mix between woods and irons and are used for compromising purposes between irons and woods. Pitching wedges, represented by "PW", are used to send balls flying higher and shorter than irons. If the ball is sent too far or not far enough, players can adjust drive distance by pressing and for guidelines on where to lower or increase power of the shot. As well as having different clubs, players can opt for Power shots or approach shots. Power shots have a limited use per round, but can send the ball flying even further and are used typically to aim for lower strokes on Par 4 or Par 5 holes. If players align the bar in the power meter perfectly whenever a power shot is used, they save a power shot. Approach shots are made when players are near the Green, which are weak shots used to knock balls close to the hole.
When players are on the Green, players can putt the ball into the hole, using one of three putters depending on the distance to the hole. In this case, players need to time only the rising of the power meter to make putts, where higher bars are stronger putts. Players who putt too weak cannot make the ball into the hole, while too powerful putts send the ball past the hole. Grids on the putting screen indicate topology of the course. Slopes are represented by white balls rolling on the grid, indicating the direction it will roll in. Slopes that are steeper are indicated by quicker rolling balls and therefore, players need to adjust their position more the steeper the slope is. Downhill slopes are indicated by red on the grid while uphill slopes are colored blue. Players need to putt harder for uphill slopes and weaker for downhill.
Different types of spins return from Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, where players can activate them as soon after they stopped the power meter a second time if they are using manual rather than auto. Topspins send the ball forward while backspins either brake the ball or send the ball backward depending on the height the ball falls from and the speed of the shot. Players can perform a topspin if is hit twice, while performing a backspin if is hit twice. Players can use more powerful spins for a longer effect if alternate buttons are pressed; players can perform a super topspin if is hit first and then , while a super backspin is performed if is pressed first and then .
Characters race each other saddleback on horses as they leap over hazards and dodge obstacles, a sport entirely new to the Mario series. Up to six players can participate in a race. Before players start up their game, they can choose and customize their horse. The first option is selecting a male or female horse, and players can then choose a type of horse from four different types and builds: balance, technique, speed, and power. Players can then select horses from a variety of colors, all which have different stats from one another; after that has been selected, players can choose to name their horse. Players can groom, pet, and feed horses, which betters their mood and thus performance on the track. Mood is indicated by ♪ prior to the beginning of the rate. The higher the rating, the better the horse's mood is. When players undertake actions that make their horse happy, their bond meter increases. When feeding and petting the horse, each horse has a specific food they like, dislike, and each horse has an area they love and hate being petted on. The available food choices are grass, carrots, apples, corn, lettuce, and barley, and players can pet their horse either on the head, the neck, the belly, or the hind leg. Feeding the correct item and petting the horse in the right spots increases their mood substantially. Reward food such as candy, sugar, and honey may be occasionally found; horses love all three types of these reward items and feeding them reward foods substantially increases their mood. In the field, players can find areas of interest by walking around on their horse on the field. Players can approach various areas of interest indicated by sparkling grass or flowers. In sparkling grass, players can either see their horse eat the grass, which improves their mood, or find a wooden ? crate,which has either an accessory, feed, or coins. If players find a white crested bird in the grass, they receive a Mario Token, where 20 of them can be found. If players find a rabbit on the grass, they receive a rarer item, such as an accessory or a reward food. If players have a greater bond rating for their horse, the rare items will be easier to find. If players interact with sparkling flowers or a sparkling pool of water, they both improve a horse's mood. With these accessories, players can decorate their horse with, including their saddle, hats, and the bridle. Players can take their horses to an outing on one of the four themed tracks on this game. Players can receive items during the outing by running past the ? crate icons, where they can receive feed or rare items; additionally, these outings can improve a horse's mood. During offtimes such as these, players control and view their horse in a first person perspective.
After everything has been set up, players can choose to race their horse among other opponents. As well as having speed, control, and acceleration stats, horses have stamina and recovery of stamina, where players can replenish their stamina through collecting carrots or staying close to other players. Each character has different ratings of stamina and recovery; characters who have higher stamina and higher recover means that they can speed up the horse more via and they tire out slower, and their stamina replenishes more quickly. Collecting stars throughout the track fills the bar for the Star Dash technique, where, if fully filled out, players can use it to get a speed boost. Up to three Star Dash meters can be filled out. Double jumps can be performed to reach higher items that cannot be reached with single jumps. Horses travel faster when they are in a pack, in a phenomenon known as the Herd Effect, so stray players such as those far in the lead travel slower than when together; additionally, the Herd Effect causes stamina to replenish more quickly.
Each sport has its own training modes. In order to unlock Pink Gold Peach, players need to complete the sport's respective ring challenge mode on Hard difficulty. When players complete it, as well as Pink Gold Peach being unlocked, players unlock a Pro version of the mode, where players aim for the highest score. The type of training is dependent on the sport played, which is outlined by the following.
Mario Sports Superstars introduces its own line of amiibo cards, where each character receives 5 cards based on the sports of the game. There are 90 cards in total. The amiibo cards are blindly packaged separately in sets of five for US$4.99 (AUS$7.99$) each, similar to the Animal Crossing line of amiibo cards. While Star characters can normally be unlocked when Champion's Cup in tournament mode is won, Star characters can be unlocked immediately through tapping the corresponding character on the card. amiibo cards can be used for players to power up to unlock superstar versions of the character on the card. Three stats specific for the sport are displayed on the card. The red bars indicate the stats characters start with, while the blue bars display the stats of a starred character and the yellow display the stats of a superstar character. Any stats with blue arrows facing to the left means that the stats are decreased when a certain stat is increased; this stat hindrance mirrors starred characters in the Mario Golf series, where their drive increases at the cost of impact.
Unlike the Animal Crossing amiibo cards, the Mario Sports Superstars amiibo card do not act as their amiibo figure counterparts (e.g: Daisy in Horse Racing does not unlock Daisy Yoshi in Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World). Additionally, amiibo cards can be used to unlock new gear for characters to use, which is displayed on the card.
This mode is mostly related to the digital card collection, however also allows access to the sound test and staff credits. Players can access the shop, where they can buy packs of digital amiibo cards with coins earned in-game. These cards are randomized which allows for doubles. Players can buy a 3-card pack for 300 coins, a 10-card pack for 1000 coins, or a 3 card pack with no doubles with 100 double cards. amiibo can also be used to purchase the 3 card packs with doubles, having up to three taps per day.
The collection album displays cards the player has owned, as well as organizing them with 18 categories: Super Rare, Rare Football, Rare Baseball, Rare Tennis, Rare Golf, Rare Horse Racing, Normal Football, Normal Baseball, Normal Tennis, Normal Golf, Normal Horse Racing, Sub Character, Pro Football Gear, Pro Baseball Gear, Pro Tennis Gear, Pro Golf Gear, Pro Horse Symbols, and Horse. There are a total of 324 digital cards to collect.
Road to Superstar
This minigame is unlocked when players tap three amiibo cards, and is available to any character who is starred. The minigame seems to be inspired from Breakout, where players use their selected amiibo cards to deflect various balls themed after sports to various features, such as Brick Blocks, Shy Guys, Goombas, Bone Goombas, and Bob-ombs. Boom Boom appears to be a boss of the stage. Completing this mode bestows a "Superstar" status to their character, greatly increasing all of the stats, moreso than a Star character. This is then scanned onto the amiibo card using the card's read/write capabilities.
There are 18 captains playable in this game. 16 of them are starter characters, while 2 of them are unlockable. In soccer and baseball, team captains are represented by their unique shield emblem whenever a game starts. In team-oriented games, such as soccer and baseball, players can additionally choose an assistant captain from the pool of team captains. Assistant captains are also able to pull off the same special shots that team captains can.
Listed below is the method by which players can unlock the unlockable captains. Similarly to Mario Party: Star Rush, the characters can be unlocked by tapping in their corresponding amiibo cards, and like Mario Sports Mix, when a character is unlocked, they are only done so for the sport within which the criteria was filled.
Each of the captains' types are represented by specific colors, names, and emblem shape. As each sport plays differently, these characters have different stats depending on the sport, but have similar general strengths throughout the sports. For example, Bowser is a Power-type character in soccer, and although baseball has different stats than soccer, power is still his strongest stat in that sport.
Three of the five sports have characters that belong in the same four character types, with tennis and golf being the exceptions; their disparities are outlined in their respective sections.
The following lists an explanation for the stats of each character:
In golf, characters are organized by their shot path tendency type, using three types of shot path tendencies. Assuming that all golfers are right-handed, characters with a fade hit their balls towards the left and curves to the right while characters who have a draw hit their balls to the right and curves to the left. Left-handed players have the opposite tendency of right-handed players.
Characters additionally have different height trajectories. Characters who hit balls at higher elevations are more affected by wind than characters who hit their balls lower. However, higher trajectories allow characters to scale higher elevations more efficiently as well as hitting over trees more effectively.
Note: Due to the process of selecting the horse first and then the character, the default all-around horse is used to illustrate stat differences. The green bars in the screenshots indicate the horse's stat while the yellow bars indicate the character's stats added on top of the horse.