DS Review: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

Mario and Sonic touchdown on the DS…

Two of the biggest video game heroes, Mario and Sonic, will be coming together again, this time taking their rivalry to the snow and ice in another officially licensed Olympic-themed smash hit Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games.
Continuing the rivalry from Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, this new release will take players to Vancouver, Canada, host city of the official 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games invites players of all ages and skill sets to face-off in some of the most intense winter competitions available for the Nintendo DS, with official events including Alpine Skiing and Speed Skating and many, many more, all playable in single player modes and against friends via wireless linkup.

After reviewing Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games on Wii, I expected the DS version to be slightly disappointing…but can the addition of a story mode and better handling of events make it a must-have title for DS owners?

The adventure mode is essentially a story mode in which Bowser and Eggman work together to take out the snow in Vancouver so that there can be no games and you collect players along the way to beat records and take on rivals to unlock more events and areas, which also unlocks them for use in single play. It’s a great addition and I’m a little confused as to why the Wii version didn’t have something like this as I think the campaign is well done and would have been very welcome.
Events are handled with a mixture of stylus controls and button-bashing. It’s not a new formula but it does work much better than that of the Wii version. They may not be perfect and they can be fairly flawed at times, but it is ultimately a better use of the handheld.

Having said that, the lack of online play really hurts. Sure, you can play against friends through local WFC…but playing online would have been a much better addition and perhaps make it overshadow its console counterpart. The visuals are pretty strong for a DS title. The music and minimal voice-acting is a mixed bag as with the console version, so don’t go expecting any surprises there.

The Verdict

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a surprisingly good game for the DS. I found it to be better than the Wii version, but overall both games are a mixed bag and that’s reflective in the scores.