We are approaching that time of year again, no not Valentine’s Day or Pancake Day but Mario Day! Mario Day is an annual celebration to honour the friendly moustached Mario character. It is celebrated on 10 March every year. Why? That’s simple, Mar10 looks like Mario. It is generally celebrated by dressing up as Mario, having a Mario-themed party, or simply playing Mario games – so we have been playing Mario themed games.
We all know Mario as a video game series and the mascot for Nintendo. But the Italian plumber and his fraternal twin brother Luigi have left Mushroom Kingdom and ventured out into games that don’t require a screen with games such as Super Mario Air Hockey – an exciting tabletop air hockey game suitable for 1, 2 or 4 players aged 4+ with a playing time of 10-20 minutes. It is a game where the puck glides on real air and is 2 games in one – regular air hockey for 2 single players or teams to compete against each other or 1 player can player can play Target Strike by themselves. Skills needed to play (and develop as you play) are dexterity, agility, hand-eye coordination and good reaction times.
In the box:
- Air Hockey table with integrated score counter
- 2 Green Paddles (large and small sizes)
- 2 Red Paddles (large and small sizes)
- 6 Characters Tabs
- 2 Centre Bridge Pieces (red and green)
- 6 Pucks (3 red and 3 green)
- 4 Goal End Pieces
Out of the box there is some quick decoration of the air hockey arena to be completed (sticking on the stickers that are supplied) and some quick assembly. It is all very minimal. It does require batteries to be installed and you will probably need to go out and buy these are they are larger and fatter C size batteries, not ones that you can “borrow” from the television remote.
Playing a two player or four player game is straightforward, you just place the bridge in the centre and add the goal ends, select the side you want to play on (Mario or Luigi), grab your paddle and try to knock the pucks into your opponent’s goal at the opposite end of the arena– the first to score 15 goals is the winner. There is a handy score marker on the side that you can move up to register the score.
Playing the one player game, Target Strike, you place 3 characters at one end and try to knock them over.
Overall, we have all loved playing the Super Mario Air Hockey game, it is excellent fun, and the pucks really do float over the air rather than just slide across the arena floor. Once you switch it on, the air flows and it is very good, lifting the puck slightly up and the pucks slide around the board very easily when hit at a very good speed (without the air turned on the puck slides around like a soggy piece of toast and rarely reaches the other goal).
There are two different sized paddles to use, you can play with either one or both if playing in teams. Game play is simple, turn on the air, hit and block pucks, thrusting them back towards your opponent’s goal. The first to reach 15 goals is the winner. Keeping track of the score during play and all the excitement is easy, there is a handy scoring system built right on to the table – there is a slider on each side so that you can keep track of your own score – it would be better if the numbers where of a different colour than that of the white of the game frame, so that they are easier to read.
You don’t always need a partner to play either, the game can also be played in one player mode to hone your skills. Just remove the centre bridge pieces, change the goal for a piece that holds targets, and you can play Target Strike. With Target Strike, you place 3 of the character tabs (or figures from the Link System games) in the slots and you try to use your paddle and pucks to knock them over. This will help your practice aim and power.
Super Mario Air Hockey is a competitive fun and quick game to play. It is simple to set up and can be played as a 1 or 2 player game (or 2 teams). The rules are easy and straightforward, but it does bring out that competitive edge. The only small negatives with the game are the batteries (personally we would have preferred AA or AAA batteries as we always have those in the house) and the numbers on the scoring board could have been a different colour just to make them that little bit easier to read at a glance and stand out more.
We loved Super Mario Air Hockey, it is good fun family fun and excellent for all players regardless of age – the youngsters can play against older age groups with no real disadvantage.
Highly recommended to add some fast competitive fun to game nights.