Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

On a normal day I would be inclined to warn you that mixing me and a pair of ice skates would be a recipe for disaster; throw in a snowboard and I’d call you barking mad! However thanks to Sega and a Wii remote I can now live out all my favourite snow inspired sporting dreams in Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games!

When you live a stones throw away from the ever expanding London 2012 Olympic Games site it’s hard to not feel a glimmer of excitement for anything related to the subject, if you’re not complaining about the building sites and how many tourists will be invading your local that is! When it comes to a game, add in the forever epic rivalry of Mario and Sonic and you’re sure for a hit! Thanks to the success of the previous Olympic Games themed title, it was inevitable they would strike back again with a vengeance and next years Winter Olympics in Vancouver is the perfect opportunity for them to do so.

Much like its predecessor, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games offers bags full of sports themed game play. Up for grabs this time from the 20+ events availble are greats such as ice hockey, bobsleigh, figure skating, snowboarding and enough skiing events to shake an icy stick at to name but a few! Due to the developments for the console since the previous title, some of the events are also compatible with the Wii Balance Board, allowing you to put your remote and nunchuck aside and bob and bend your way to victory instead! A nice addition to this title is the fact that all of the Olympic events are open for selection from the outset, rather than having to be earned through playing challenges. However this is still the case for the Dream Events: the sports themed races which resemble something more like Mario Kart than anything that will take place at the real Games next year; but you need something to work for right?

Two particular events that deserve a mention are figure skating and Curling, which will although be undoubtedly popular due to their event popularity, are definitely worthy of extra credit. Many events in the game, generally speaking, require fairly similar movements and can sometimes feel repetitive, especially within solo play. However both figure skating and curling, require a much higher skill to manoeuvre characters and gain the higher end scores. While figure skating requires quick responses and precise use of the controls to time jumps, spins, twirls and follow graceful lines, curling not only needs a tactical mind to outwit opponents in versus battles against AI teams, but also the high degree of accuracy required to throw and curl your stones to get them to where you wanted them in the first place!

As mentioned, the dream events are also back as a welcomed addition in the events line up, and as with the game as a whole, can only really be appreciated when in a room full of friends to play along with. This also works well for Party Mode, which allows a team of 4 players to go head to head in a selection of rounds to see who comes out on top. Unfortunately the different modes only really add a bit of life into the replay factor rather than serving up anything new, and will more likely lead to bypassing the less popular events instead of getting you playing them all again and again. However for those of you keen on unlocking extras, the new addition of earning coins for completing events and gaining high scores, medals and new world records allows players to ‘buy’ bonus material from the shopping area, including outfits for your Mii characters, in game music, and even the history of the Olympic Games!

Graphically speaking the game is neither ground breaking nor god awful. Its family friendly feel can leave you thinking they could have put in a little more effort as you watch backgrounds dance on loops, or hear the loading screens chant on repeat a little too quickly. With an already popular game under the Olympic belt, it unfortunately feels that more attention has been put into making sure the follow up is only as good as the original rather than trying to push it that one step further. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games easily falls into the ‘what you see is what you get category’ rather than raising the bar, but here’s hoping those apples will be ready to unleash for our home grown Olympic Games inspired Sonic and Mario title in 2012!







One response to “Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games”

  1. Sung Runions avatar

    A chum encoraged me to check out this post, brill post, fanstatic read… keep up the cool work!

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