Circle of Sumo is a very simple arcade sumo wrestling game that is elevated by some inventive, colorful stages. As a local multiplayer title, it is easy to pick up and stays fun for a few rounds at a time. As a single player game, it falters, offering nothing outside of two repetitive minigames. The multiplayer gameplay is the only reason to get this game, but it’s a lackluster reason at best. You should not grab Circle of Sumo if you are looking for a gripping multiplayer title to scream at your friends about for hours on end. It’s best as a palate cleanser when you can’t figure out what to play, or a distraction to bide time while waiting on player four to show up. Circle of Sumo is genuine fun for a bit, but sooner rather than later, everyone playing will succumb to a collective desire to move on.
Multiplayer gameplay is easy to grasp. Between two and four surprisingly agile sumo wrestlers “suit up” in a circular arena, and then they try to push each other out of bounds using a small variety of different moves. Your main attack is a chargeable belly slide that forces other players back. You can also sprint, counter, and dodge. When correctly implemented, these maneuvers keep your opponents honest enough that belly slides on their own won’t be enough to take you down. If all of that doesn’t satisfy you, then there is a daring running push that is nearly impossible to pull off–whenever my friends and I tried it, the would-be attacker generally ended up flinging themselves out of the arena. The last wrestler standing wins the round. Rounds take only a few seconds to complete, and they occur ad infinitum until someone wins five rounds.
While gameplay is somewhat fun and responsive, a creative variety of arenas props up Circle of Sumo. By playing matches, you can earn coins, which in turn can unlock a bunch of new maps. The inventive arena roster has 24 maps in total with 19 being unlockable. Aside from standard sumo mats, you can duke it out on a giant spinning record, inside of a sniper’s moving crosshairs, and a theater stage with a shifting spotlight. There is a lot more, but be warned: Some maps cost a lot of coins to unlock. It is grueling to play this game outside of short bursts, so several of the maps will probably stay locked forever.
In an attempt to bolster the package, Circle of Sumo has a small selection of minigames comprising soccer, racing, and two single-player games. None will hold your attention for more than a few minutes. There is also no online multiplayer, nor can you wrestle against bots, so you are limited to playing on your couch with friends.
As a budget local multiplayer title, Circle of Sumo isn’t a bad deal, but it’s far from the best available on Switch. Gameplay is simple, easy to grasp, and pretty fun. The gamut of colorful, inventive stages go a long way in keeping the game fresh round after round. That said, Circle of Sumo is not something you’ll play for more than a few minutes at a time. It wears thin pretty quickly, and the added minigames just aren’t that fun. As a quick refresher between Grand Prix in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Circle of Sumo will serve well, but that’s the height of its potential. As far as local multiplayer goes, you can do a lot better elsewhere on the Switch eShop, especially in a post-Ultimate world.