* Prices may differ from that shown
Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver was a breath of fresh air! I haven't seen many or played many of the previous Olympic games before so this one really appealed. I found this game to be really good and even though I struggle to play a few of the games, this is a great game for fans of Sonic and Mario.
Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics has dozens of events to cover, all found at the real winter Olympic games. Though, even I have to admit that some of the games are tweaked in places than from the real events but it's all fantastic. There are two different settings for the game and there are also mini events in the Dream Events.
The Dream Events are good for those who want to play mini games and it can help to get some more practice in too. Though, before all events, there is a practice round that can be chosen which is good to help you get used to the games. Most of the mini games are good though, I wasn't convinced with them all as I found a few difficult to play.
Choosing The Adventure Settings
The Adventure setting or mode is to me, the main addition of the game. This is where you have the chance to play the events and get as high rankings as possible. Some games are much easier than others but some games that you think will be simple turn out to be really hard.
I have to admit, I haven't really paid much attention to the story that goes with the game. The reason why is because I was more interested in the events but the game is overall very interesting.
I found the skating tracks, just the figure skating, to be really fun and easy for me to play. However, the speed and short track take a while to get used to and the stylus at times make it hard to get the movements right. The curling and ice hockey games are fun but I can't really play the skiing, bobsleigh and snowboarding because they are difficult. I think that's just me however but they are all fun games. I think I've missed a few events out, I'm sorry but I can't think of the ones I've missed.
How Easy It Is To Play The Events
To be honest, the events can be fun and entertaining for any gamer. However, some events need to be unlocked as the game progresses. For some events, you need to come first in order to open up another event similar to the event you've just played.
Though, a lot of the events don't need to be played with just the stylus, the buttons can be used also which is good as its hard to use the stylus and concentrate on the instructions too.
The controls aren't actually that difficult to get used to and since there are practice rounds before the actual game, it helps to make the controls simple. The tutorials are good additions to the game since you'll need a lot of help for some of the events. Many players will need to pick up on their hand to eye coordination which will be sorely tested and many can get confused with the directions too.
However, the controls are easy to remember when you've played the game a few dozens times. Most are easy to learn including the figure skating which is my favourite game and probably the only one I'm half good at really.
Though, when it comes to going up against the computer characters, you'll need to do your best in order to finish 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The more you play, the easier things get however so after a while you may be able to easily finish in first place and defeat the opponents.
The Graphics And Sound
I don't usually listen to the sounds of the games and it was the same here. However, from what I did hear, it was OK. The graphics were fairly impressive too. I thought the characters were clear and even though they were on a smaller screen, they were good. The animation has been a standout feature and the movements are easy too.
Using The Multi-Player Feature
I am aware of the multi-player function but I have to admit, I don't use this feature. I can't say whether this is fantastic or bad what I can say is the game offers a lot of quality.
Buying The Game
There are a lot of stores online and off that stock this game and if you want to buy new, it may cost around £18+. At the time I reviewed this, it was costly on an online retailer, Amazon but I've also seen this on eBay for £5 but this is a used copy. Basically prices can and will vary depending on where you choose to shop.
Overall, Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics is fantastic. This will be a game that keeps most entertained for a very long while and most will enjoy the different games available also. Some games are harder than others but it will be fun trying to win every game.
This review is also available to read on ciao under the same name.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Why I picked this game?
I picked up this game after having completely loved the original olympic games on the wii and ds. The game play is amazing and the game overall just had no faults (Please see my review on this item for more information).
I have had this game almost since it came out and tried to get in to it and play it just like the original however I found this very difficult to play and the controls overly complicated.
Single Player - Single Match (Quick Play)
Among the games you can play are:
Skiing (consists of 5 different types of skiing, all very similar in my book)
Skating (Speed Skating 500m/Short Track 500m/Figure Skating - Slightly more user friendly controls)
Snowboard (Snowboard cross - not as easy as you first think)
Bobsleigh (bobsleigh and skeleton)
Ice Hockey (relatively simple...)
Curling (Probably the most simple and self explanatory game!)
Biathlon (Very complicated)
Luge (Very difficult)
The general consensus of these were that by the time you've read all the instructions and start to play the game you've forgotten how to play. So in this game with the instructions each being at least a 5 minute read here is no such thing as quick play. But practice makes perfect I guess.
- Multi-Round Match (select 3/4/5 round match)
- Party Games (Bingo Bash, Lucky Spin, Wild Card)
- Ghost (play against a ghost character to beat a previous
Multiplayer (Set up wifi communications to play a number of the winter sports on wifi or wireless link)
Adventure Tours (adventure mode of the game that takes you through the winter games)
Record Log (stores your records and the medals you have)
My rating is 3/5. I think the game offers so much in terms of the sports and modes that you can complete you could spend hours on it and still have not done the same thing twice. However I think the reason that this game falls short of the mark in my eyes is due to the my awareness of the winter games. Unlike the Olympics where the sports are well recognised these winter sports are not. And as a result Nintendo have tried to explain this in the complexity of the controls which only seems to confused me more. I do not feel this is just me personally but feel in general as we are unaware of the sports and the rules it is difficult to both learn the rules and controls and this is why this game isn't as good as the original.
Around £15 in most online stores. Generally around £25 still in high street retailers.
I bought this game after becoming a fan of the previous Nintendo DS Mario and Sonic release when they were at the Olympic Games. This game provides a similar base with the obvious difference of the events. The same general characters are used throughout the game and the only real difference is a lengthy Adventure Tours option which allows you to travel various worlds taken over by the resident bad guys. Succesful completion of challenges within each world frees the land and so on.
The Adventure Tours game allows you to perfect your skills at each of the 27 winter events whilst also solving various puzzles, freeing up extra characters and beating bosses. It also offers a rather pointless Winter Olympics history and trivia section but I wouldn't waste any time on that. There is the usual single player game where you compete for medals in each of the events with different characters having different abilities, so winning the downhill with Sonic is far easier than with Bowser. A true challenge is to win gold at all levels as the hard level truly takes some mastering.
As you may well expect, some of the events are far easier than others to master and I found that some of the "Dream" events just became far too annoying and frustrating after a while.
As with most of these types of games, up to four players can wirelessly link up to play the games off one card and its really at this level that an extra dimension is added to the game. As you would imagine with a Mario/Sonic release, the game is appropriate for all age groups and is a good purchase with enough events to keep you interested for some time.
I must admit I play my DS a lot less than I used to these days, more reading and music listening on the train rather than game playing but I was given this game by a friend and it is a fun little game to play.
There are lots of mini games to paly on this DS game, there are 27 in all and these are divided up amongst actual Olympic events and some made up ones as well which are mostly a normal event with some sort of twist added, in addition there is a mission mode called Adventure Mode where Mario and Sonic have to save the olympic games from their usual nemesis Eggman and Browser and this is a more typical game for the pair.
There are a number of events and I do not intend to review them all however I will mention my favourites which are the figure skating as this requires a certain amount of accuracy and skill as you time your jumps and is a lot better than the button mashing speed skating. The ice hockey is also a lot of fun as is the snow boarding especially with the jumps and tricks.
The game play is not very difficult on most of the games with the odd exception and certainly I found it easy to complete all of them with a decent amount of success, I would say that the average game player will find this a comfortable game to pick up while the more skilled may tire of it a bit quickly.
Visually it is nothing special but it works well enough and while the butrton mashing games are a bit tedious there is enough to hold your attention.
The platform format of the Adventure Mode is a nice addition and good fun to play and will appeal to traditionalists even if it is not exactly challenging and hence has limited game play time.
Overall a nice game and worth checking out. It is available at Amazon for £24.71.
This is the sequel to the very popular Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. It was actually released late last year but has an official tie in license with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
The game consists of a variety of events taken straight from the Winter Olympics. There are Skiing events which include Slalom, Ski Jump & Cross Country. Their are sled events of Luge, Skeleton & Bobsleigh. One Off's like Ice Hockey & Curling (More fun than it sounds) & Ice events like Speed Skating & Ice Dancing!
Essentially what you are getting is a game full of mini games. Some are crontolled by the buttons such as Cross Country Skiing & Luge. Some are controlled by stylus like Ice Hockey, Curling & Ski Jump.
The Single Player mode can be very long lasting if you want to go for all the unlockable emblems providing quite a challenge. There are also different ways to play the events such as a Bingo Card where winning events allows you to punch out a square on your card. There is also an RPG mode where you progress by winning at events. This is all good, but I would say that the chances of you wanting to win every event, with every character to unlock all the emblems might be pushing it. There is quite a lot to offer for the single player though. Also, there isn't the ability to play against online opponents like in Mario Kart, however, the card saves your best score / time for every event. This can then be uploaded to a Nintendo Server where you are told your worldwide ranking based on your score against everyone else in the worlds score. This does give you a great incentive to go back & keep trying to shave just another 2 seconds of your time for a better ranking. I'm good at Cross Country Skiing & was ranked 60th in the world last night, but I need to keep playing as due to the amount of players increasing regularly, you need to improve your score just to keep your rank the same! This does give great replay value although eventually you will not be able to get a better score without cheating - which I do think that some of the people do.
The game has good multiplayer options. You can play with up to 4 people on 4 DS's via single card download play & this can be lots of fun, although if the owner of the game has had lots of practice & the other players haven't, they'll struggle to keep up. It's still lots of fun though.
The game is lots of fun to play. There is quote a lot of variety on offer both in events & in the way they play. The games that use the stylus don't feel the same & aren't controlled in the same way (a problem the first game suffered from with different games feeling the same). Equally the games that use the buttons all feel differently. You never feel that two games are the same & might as well not have been bothered with. That said there are some cross overs like the event Nordic Combined which is Ski Jump & Cross Country one after the other. My only downside is that I think some of the games are controlled with stylus just for the sake of it. Curling by stylus is a great idea & works well as does Ice Dancing & Ski Jump. Ice Hockey for me would have been better on the buttons as would Skeleton (although then it would have been a copy of Luge).
I would recommend the game for everyone. It's suitable & can be played by children & adults & the kids will give as good as they get. There is a lot on offer for the single player & great fun for a family all having a go on the DS at once. Great Fun, better than the original & with few flaws. Online play please for 2012 & this could be the best game on DS!
Mario and Sonic at the Olympics was released in conjunction with the 2008 summer Olympics held in Beijing. With the 2010 winter Olympics to be held in Vancouver coming up in the next few months it seemed obvious that Nintendo and Sega were going to release a winter version of their summer smash.
****The overall game****
Sonic and Mario at the Winter Olympics contains 27 different events that are split in to two distinct categories consisting of actual Olympic events and dream events, which are as the name suggests make believe events. Most of the dream events are an actual event with a Nintendo twist that drags it back to the world of make-believe, so in reality there aren't that many events. Besides, the dream events are simply a number of shallow mini games with no real purpose that get tiresome very quickly and I think most are unimaginative "fillers" used to pad the game out somewhat. In addition, there is an adventure mode.
The adventure mode, apparently, is unique to the DS. In the adventure mode Mario and Sonic have a mission to save the winter games from the evil Eggman and Bowser, the life-long foes of Sonic and Mario respectively. Although I played this game for the actual winter events I can see how this story mode increases the longetivity of this game by adding another dimension. I did try the story mode, and since it is like a traditional Mario and Sonic game it is not for me, however my young nephew thinks it is brilliant and it has kept him entertained for hours, even longer than the actual sporting events but I guess some of them are a bit too difficult for younger players.
The events are of the typical winter type and include:
i) Ski-ing (Alpine, jumping, moguls, x-country and Nordic combined)
ii) Skating (speed, short track and figure)
v) Ice hockey
The events list is quite extensive and there is something to cater for all tastes.
Events can be played individually or in a group of up to five events, and it is possible to compete in all events right from the start, which is one of the definite pluses of this game. Many games require the player to play the game for hours on end, unlocking additional events along the way, but this is not the case here since they're all available to play.
Some of the events rely on using the D pad and buttons in isolation and others rely on the use of the touch screen and stylus. This is a good feature since it does save the touch screen from constant abuse and scratching, which was not the case of Mario and Sonic at the Olympics released back in 2008.
The events that require fast, vigorous and potentially screen damaging controls use D pad and buttons, for example speed skating requires constant mashing of the L and R shoulder buttons, where as the events requiring a bit more finesse, such as figure skating, requires gentle and accurate tapping with the stylus which poses little threat of damage to the touch screen.
Before each event there is the opportunity to see a tutorial showing the basic controls of the event, and it is well worth watching this. Some of the events, such as the luge, are easy to pick up but there are other events that take a lot of concentration, skill, timing, hand-eye co-ordination and a lot of practice to get right. The figure skating is a prime example of this and the numerous taps and flicks of the stylus required to achieve the various spins, jumps and combinations gets very confusing, so it is definitely worth taking time out to learn the controls.
Once you have mastered the controls it is very easy to defeat the computer operated opponents every time. At this point the game gets far too easy and is just not challenging enough, even for an occasional gamer like myself so I think seasoned gamers will find this game an absolute doddle.
This game also includes a ghost mode (accessed from the options screen), which enables the player to effectively compete against itself. All the players best times, best distances, highest scores et. For each event are stored. It is then possible to go in to ghost mode and try and beat your best. So, once you get to the stage whereby the computer opponents are too easy you can then pit your wits against yourself.
This is a nice feature although you will soon get to the stage whereby beating your personal best is an impossible task, no matter what you do, and this mode then becomes most frustrating.
Overall the graphics are good but not great. The characters are large, colourful and 3D polygon rendered just like Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, as you'd expect. The animation, art work and attention to detail in the characters is great and the producers have done a fantastic job.
The environments on the other hand are not as good as they lack the crispness, attention to detail and depth of the characters. In the big scheme of things I guess this doesn't really matter as during game play the focus is on the characters, as it should be. However, I do like nice environments as I feel it enhances the overall feel of any computer game.
Like Mario and Sonic at the Olympics the audio in this game is very good. With catchy music, good sound effects and clear voice-overs it is a game worth playing with the volume actually turned on, something I don't usually say about DS games.
It is possible to play against up to three of your mates via the Wifi using just one cartridge. Challenging mates is a bit more social and more fun than completing the events on your own but I found even this has a limited life and it wasn't long till we were looking for something else to do.
****Price and availability****
This game is widely available from many online and offline retailers so getting hold of a copy should not be a problem. The price differential doesn't appear to be a large as many computer games and tends to be between £22.99 and £24.99 from most places, so spending ages on shopping around won't result in a large saving.
Before actually buying the game I would recommend renting a copy, or borrowing a copy from a mate, to ensure that you think the game will have the longetivity and stand the test of time to make it a viable purchase.
Overall Mario and Sonic at the winter Olympics is a good game and well worth playing, however how long this game will entertain you for is questionable. Once the controls are mastered, and how long this takes will obviously vary from person to person, it is an easy game and you will find it very easy to win every event every time. You can then paly the ghost mode, but you will soon reach the peak in this as well.
If you like the original Sonic and Mario type platform games then there is a good likelihood you will enjoy the adventure mode, which will extend the lifetime of the game somewhat. That said, the adventure game is not very challenging and won't last all that long.
The fabulous pairing of Mario and Sonic are back, along with many of their cronies. These superstars are all set to face numerous winter olympic events, in Vancouver, and challenge each other to the ultimate prize, an olympic gold medal. For those that have played Mario and Sonic at the Summer Olympics, then this game will be familiar, although it does have a number of changes. The objective, to win gold, is the same, and the level of fun is high (especially if you are winning!).
On initially starting the game you see the official Olympic license for a couple of seconds. Approved by the Olympics, then it must be good? Next you are greeted by Mario and Sonic in a cool snowboarding/skiing pose asking you to touch the bottom screen to begin. If you are busy then the screen will start to show little clips of the various events. Before you can begin playing you need to press one of just two data menu's. These are basically saved games and I found it a bit miserly with only providing two, especially as in our house there are five active users!
Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics is suited for 3 years and up, although I personally feel it would be quite a challenge for one so young. It involves using various buttons along with the stylus, and lots of reading and learning.
On entering your details and choosing the country which you are representing then you are ready to proceed to the main menu. Here you are given a choice of four things to do. There is the single player mode, multi player mode (up to four players wireless), adventure tours, and record log, where you can view best times and other data. I always tend to play the single player mode first, just to try and gain some 'skill', before I risk playing anyone else.
Even within the single player mode you are given four choices of play. The one I always opt for is the quick play, single match, as it is easy to press play again and repeat the event, improving all the time (well, in some events I improve!). The other options are multi round match, where you can play up to five events one after the other, party games (bingo & cards), and ghost where you race against your own ghost.
So, as you can see there is plenty to do within the winter olympics game, and as you can also see it is initially quite confusing. The overall objective is to win an olympic gold in each event, and if you can, try to beat the out standing olympic record. You will either be competing against the computer, which chooses 3 other competitors, or competing wirelessly against friends.
The sports which Mario and his mates race in, range from skiing, ski jumping, cross country, ice skating, bobsleigh, curling and ice hockey to name a few, there are actually over 25 events. There are also 'dream events' that are far harder in a number of these sports which need to be unlocked as you advance through the game. On choosing an event, the character then needs to be carefully selected (if you are really serious) or you can just press random like I do! There are twenty comical characters to select from, including animals, people, and super creatures, who all have their own skills in certain areas. Most people would be familiar with a number of these characters, who doesn't know Mario, Luigi, Sonic and Donkey Kong?
The actual events themselves are fun and reasonably straightforward, but only when you know how. The one thing that really annoys me, and my boys, with this game is the getting to know how. Every time you enter an event three large options appear which explain the controls and give you tips. A much smaller option at the bottom of the screen is also there, begin game. I don't now if it is just me, but when I start a game, I want to get into it as quickly as possible. I will quite happily read instructions of which controls to use, but in a basic and efficient manner, like the Summer Olympics had. In this game the instructions are a video clip, which show a slow motion demo of how to achieve high marks. By the time the demo has finished, I have forgotten the various moves.
Another little gripe, relating to the controls, is that many of the events have similar features, like 'power up', this is basically gaining as much energy as possible before the starter gun fires, thus you are ready to zoom off at top speed. Instead of using one standard button to 'power up', there are different ways depending on which sport you are doing. It is really annoying, so to remind yourself, the demo needs to be watched again and again!
The actual events and characters, combine to make a great game. Although it can be extremely frustrating at times, when I think I am doing so well at mogul jumping and I come fourth with 2.795 score. But that only makes me do it again, until I get it right. It is also super to beat the world record, then I know I am doing it right!
In the multi player mode it is excellent fun (especially when my 5 year old beats me). We have four DS's in the house, so my four boys are often challenging each other to the various events after choosing the character they want to be. It can cause arguments, but mostly it causes laughter, as they all excel at different events.
Trying to follow the more traditional Mario game, they have included the Adventure Tour mode. Here Mario and Sonic are looking for the 'snow' that baddies Bowser and Eggman have kidnapped. Whilst going around they are met by certain obstacles, which need to be cleared. To do this Mario or Sonic are given mini missions to achieve and then they can move on until they reach a boss battle. It supplies a little but of adventure and detective work, and gives a break from the continuous racing.
Throughout the games there is an annoying tune being played, thus I often play on mute. Other audio effects are that of a commentator, the character's praising or commiserating themselves, and sounds for the actual sports, like swishing in the snow.
The graphics are excellent for a DS game. All the characters are very cartoon like and full of bright colours. You could actually be part of a TV programme!
All in all, I will have to say that Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympics is a success. I do have my gripes, and I must say that I prefer the Summer Olympics, but it does have the Mario magic. Once the confusing various events have been learnt, (no one is a professional in a day!), then whether you are Donkey Kong zooming down the mountain, Bowser skating in the rink or Princess Peach jumping over moguls, it is an enjoyable, amusing game.