10th November 2009 - Cast your mind back to the early 1990’s where Nintendo and Sega were going head to head in the battle for the consumer dollar with their respective consoles and with their franchise characters, Mario (Nintendo) and Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega). Who would have thought back then that these two franchise characters and their cast of offsiders would come together on a Nintendo system? I certainly wouldn’t have. In this officially licensed Olympic-themed game, the cast of Nintendo and Sega characters come together and take their rivalry to the snow and compete in events from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Does the uniting of 2 old enemies spell disaster or success? Read on to find out...
In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games you can use one of 20 Mario and Sonic characters who include Knuckles, Donkey Kong, Tails, Bowser and more to play through the events of the 2010 Vancouver games. You can play a Single match in versus, Team Versus and Co-op play, or you can play Festival mode which is all the winter Olympic Events from the Opening to Closing Ceremonies. As you play through the full 16 days of training and events in Festival mode, you can save it at any time and go back to it at your convenience. As you play through the Olympic events in either Single match or Festival modes, you unlock “Dream Events”. These are character themed versions of the Olympic events with a couple of other events thrown in. They are great fun and provide a great alternative to the traditional Olympic Events. Once unlocked you can play Dream Events at any time.
The other mode available is Party Games. These consist of Balloon Attack, Wheel Challenge and Panel Flip. In Balloon Attack players take in turns selecting which event to play. After each event players are allocated a number of balls according to their placing in the event. After the events are done, each player participates in the “Balloon Attack”. This involves shooting at balloons with the balls you have collected within 60 seconds. The person with the most points wins.
Wheel Challenge is similar to Balloon Attack where you play a series of events, but to win at Wheel Challenge you must finish ahead of the “Leader” to gain the most points from the events. The Leader is determined before each event by one designated player spinning the wheel. Whoever the wheel lands on is the leader for the event. If the leader fails in the event they lose points for each player that finishes ahead of them. The only other variety in this party game is if the wheel spin lands on the “?” spaces. This results in a special event involving either instant points, double points or shuffling the wheel amongst the players.
Panel Flip is a two vs. two type party game. The two teams compete in a few events to earn mobility. This mobility is then used to move panels on the Panel Flip board. At the end of all the rounds, the team with the most panels claimed is the winner.
As for the games controls, most of the events are played with just the Wii Remote. Some of the games support the use of the Nunchuk for improved playability and a few select events allow the use of the Wii Balance Board for a one-player game only. In events like Curling, Speed Skating, Ice Hockey and Short Track Relay the controls feel clunky and don’t seem to work very well. Whereas in events like Downhill, Bobsleigh and even in Figure Skating, the controls seem pretty spot on.
For a Wii game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games looks great. The game has bright and vibrant colours and everything on screen is well detailed and has a very Mario and Sonic feel about it. The characters are well animated and look much better than recent best seller Wii Sports Resort.
The sound in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is good but not great. The music comprises of the Olympic theme and various Mario and Sonic tunes which suit the game well, but the sound effects are fairly simplistic, but do the job.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games has plenty of replay value with 18 main events and 20 characters to use. When you also include the dream events and the party games, there is plenty included to keep the whole family entertained for hours. However, with a near $100 price tag, some may look twice before putting down their hard earned for this one.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a great product to spark enthusiasm for the 2010 Winter Games and is a fun game for all the family to enjoy. Bringing Mario and Sonic characters together has worked a treat.
AAG SCORE: 8.2/10
- Fun for the whole family
- Mario & Sonic together!
- Variety of Events to play
- Variety of characters
- Lacks depth like most Wii games
- Simplistic sound
- Some control issues with particular events
Reviewed and Written By Craig Cirillo