Monday, November 11, 2019

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 for the Nintendo Switch: A Mom's Review



Full disclosure: I am no gamer.

I mean…I have two brothers who were into video games from the age of five. So I did grow up playing video games with them (I didn't want to be the odd man out!) And I can usually hold my own. But as far as what I prefer to do with my free time…I tend to gravitate towards reading, writing, or general socializing. (Except when it comes to The Sims. I get sucked into The Sims and end up giving those games hours upon hours of my life.) My son, however, is all in when it comes to gaming. Barely in elementary school and he's already a gamer.

All of that to say, I'm reviewing this more as a mom and someone who very occasionally plays video games. So my review won't include detailed information on graphics or technical aspects. But it will instead focus on what elements of the game my son and I enjoy. And how appropriate it is for younger audiences.

Right off the bat, I personally like that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 lets you skip through the intros. I do not have the patience to sit through those. I just want to play! Because of my impatience, story mode did go a little slow for me. Even with being able to skip through it, there is a lot of dialogue between gameplay. That is literally the only "complaint" I have as far as Tokyo 2020 goes.

Both my son and I appreciated how easy the game was to control. Buttons only mode kept things simple while the single and dual control modes allow the player to be a bit more active. The game does provide instructions on which buttons produce different actions at the beginning of each segment, but overall, it's all rather intuitive.

The plot of the game is a little silly but definitely age-appropriate for even the youngest players. The nefarious Bowser and Dr. Eggman have trapped Mario, Sonic, Toad, and (unintentionally) themselves in an old game system. (Cue the retro graphics.) Now Mario and Sonic must compete against the two villains to be set free. Meanwhile, the heroes' friends are joining together outside of the nostalgic game system to figure out how to help. You must compete against different "good guy" characters in various games to get them to join your quest to help Mario and Sonic. Why they wouldn't just help to begin with…I'm not sure. But it does allow for you to experience the non-retro games in story mode. So if you're not a fan of the retro look, this works out well for you. The storyline vacillates between what is going inside of the game system and what is happening outside of it.

My favorite feature of Tokyo 2020 is definitely the 24 various mini-games available in Quick Match. You can choose to play only your favorites or constantly switch (no pun intended) it up if you're one who gets bored easily. On top of the 24 main mini-games, there are 10 retro games. 10 additional mini-games can be unlocked through story mode as well.

My favorites of the mini-games are skateboarding and surfing. Probably because those are the ones I somehow always get first place in. The mini-games can be played in single-player or multiplayer (up to 4 players) modes. Parents of young kids- there are a few fighting mini-games but they aren't graphic or violent in the least. The hits are quick and injuries are not shown. Plus it very much has the “sporting event" feel to it with the boxing mini-game set in a ring and karate taking place on a mat.

Overall, the game is lighthearted, fun, easy-to-play, and appropriate for all ages. I feel it's definitely a game the entire family can enjoy together in Quick Match mode, as well as a game one can play on their own in story mode. There is also no worry of inappropriate content with this game which, as a parent, is always a major factor when it comes to purchasing a game for my kid. Wholesome and fun - this mom recommends.

View the game trailer here

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Can You Create A Grown-Up Space For Your Pre-Teen? Here’s What To Consider

Written by a contributing writer 

Our children grow up fast and while you want them to stay in their child-esq room, at some stage they will want a more grown-up space. The thing is, you want something that will last a while and reflect their age at the same time. You understand that they will probably want to spend more time in their rooms and that the space should be a usable space for playtime, homework, and general relaxing. You may be a little fearful of tackling their bedroom and decorating, so with that in mind, here is some advice to consider. Hopefully it gives you the inspiration and motivation to give your little one the bedroom of their dreams.


Image source - Pixabay - CC0 License


Invest in different furniture

You may want to ensure that you have the right sort of furniture in place to last as your little ones grow. As each year passes they get more homework, become more involved with friends, and want their privacy. Which means that unless you want to be redecorating things every few years, you may want to invest in the right furniture. Good storage options as well as things like a desk could prove very useful. Storage is very important for rooms that are small and will help them look and remain tidy. 


Use the opportunity to declutter and sell unwanted items

If you are in the process of overhauling your little one's room, then now is the perfect time to start thinking about making some big changes to the amount of items that they have in their rooms. Many children have toys, games, and items that they may have outgrown. This is the perfect time for you to start decluttering and you could even use it as a chance to sell unwanted items online. Websites like eBay are great for this,and it is also a great way to boost your income.


What about lighting and quirky features?

Another thing that can make a bedroom space feel a little more grown-up is the lighting. This can be achieved with things such as colored lighting or quirky LED bulbs. You could also look at investing in a haus bright grow light that could make a huge difference to any house plants in the bedroom. Lighting can transform a space, so take some to think about which fixtures and the types of lights would suit the bedroom. 


Have a budget

Finally, because it is so easy to let your imagination run wild when it comes to designing your child’s bedroom, especially thanks to Pinterest and Instagram which is full of inspiration, you should set some sort of budget for yourself. The cost of new furniture, paint, and other aspects such as handymen if you do need extra help with putting the room together. If things are a little tight, then you can hunt out some bargains online. Websites like eBay are full of great finds and even some used items can make great additions to your home. The last thing you want to do is to go overboard and run out of money before the project is completed.

With these tips, creating a space for your pre-teen can be simple and affordable.