Wii Review: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

Mario and Sonic battle it out again, this time on the Winter Olympics…

Once upon a time you would be called insane if you said Mario and Sonic would appear in the same game together. But over the past few years, we’ve seen them come together to battle it out on the Olympic playing field and beating the hell out of each other in Smash Bros Brawl. The rivals take on each other again at the Winter Olympics, but can they improve upon its predecessor?
Well, the Winter Olympics isn’t for everyone. In fact, viewing figures would suggest that it isn’t even that popular with the mass audience. I guess that’s where the split in opinion of this game will come in, those who don’t like the games won’t enjoy this much…but those who do enjoy the games will certainly have a blast with this, even if it is flawed.

The problem is that the game doesn’t seem to have learned from its mistakes. Controls can be unresponsive at times, making some events really hard or really easy. What is odd is the complete lack of MotionPlus support which anyone would have thought should be included with the game. However, if you have a Wii Balance Board then you can use that in 14 events.

As with the first game, results can be put online to the WFC rankings but that’s where the online functionality ends. It would have been great to try and compete against real people across the world instead of just trying to beat their results, but it isn’t a huge shock…just a little disappointing. Each event makes good use of the motion controls, but like I said they can be inaccurate and difficult to get to grips with.
You can compete with your friends locally and even play a few mini-games, but the truth is that there are far better mini-game compilations on the Wii than these. It seems like a missed opportunity yet again. I enjoyed the first game but expected the team to learn from its lessons and improve the sequel, but instead it fails to deliver. It’s a real shame, I can see exactly what they were trying to do…I can see the effort put in, but it never manages to quite match upto expectations.

The visuals are fairly strong, but are more or less looks like the first game. Audio is a mixed bag with music that is uneven to their original counterparts and the small bits of voice-acting can become irritable after a while, probably not to the younger crowd…just older gamers.

The Verdict

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a good enough follow-up to the first Mario and Sonic game. It adds Balance Board support for extra fun and maintains all what made the first game good, but sadly the controls let it down and the lack of MotionPlus is felt. Overall, it’s a good game if you can see past all that.