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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

More than sixteen years after Sega unleashed Sonic's debut title in an attempt combat the immense popularity of Super Mario, the two rivals finally teamed up in the unlikely form of an Olympic sports title for the Wii. Now, three months later, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games has made its way to the DS and we've given it a thorough going-over in order to ascertain whether or not it lives up to the legacy of gaming's two best-known mascots.

Many of you will surely remember a time when the very idea of a single console playing host to both Sonic and Mario titles seemed ludicrous, let alone a single game featuring both characters. And yet, here we are! Of course, the novelty of such a momentous event has somewhat worn off following several months of screenshots, trailers, and eventually the release of the Wii version of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games last November. But maybe that's a good thing. After all, M&SatOG is ultimately a mini-game fuelled sports title, and one that we should begin by noting borrows next to nothing from either of the franchises after which it is named, other than the characters themselves. So, shall we go ahead get down to the nitty-gritty?

The game itself consists of sixteen standard Olympic Events and eight Dream Events (more on those later). Some are available from the get-go, whilst others can be unlocked gradually by winning medals and the like. Each event can be played on its own using any of the sixteen playable characters (eight from the Mushroom Kingdom, and eight from... Mobius, yes, we went there). Multiple events are also combined to create Circuits, which force players to play through each event consecutively, earning points as they go. Each character also has access to six unique missions, which generally task the player with completing a particular task within one of the aforementioned events. For example: jumping at least 15m with a jump angle of 50 degrees in the Triple Jump event.

Screenshot for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

That's not to say that none of the events are any good, though. Generally speaking, the Dream Events are more enjoyable (or at least more inventive) than their standard counterparts. Dream Shooting, for example, pits you against swarms of enemies in an on-rails, first-person shooter scenario, rather than the simple clay pigeon shooting that constitutes the classic Shooting Event. Aiming for both is handled with the Stylus, whilst firing is initiated with the L and R buttons; it's accurate, works well, and most importantly, its fun. The Dream Race event is even wackier (Mario Kart items, anyone?), but ultimately suffers from clunky Sonic R-esque on-foot racing controls and everyone's favourite 'manic, hand-cramp inducing touch-screen scribbling'. Ultimately, though, even the cream of the crop won't keep you entertained for an undue length of time.

Thankfully wireless multiplayer helps kick things up a notch, although options are somewhat limited compared to the Wii version. Players can take participate in both single- and multi-card link-ups, but not online matches unfortunately. Whilst the game is generally more enjoyable with a few friends along for the ride, a significant number of events don't really lend themselves particularly well to such an endeavour. For example, events like Long Jump, Trampoline, and Archery are played in isolation, only ever communicating with others to transmit scores. Speaking of which, it is possible to upload your results data to a series of online leaderboards, but the system for doing so is fatally flawed because results for each event must be uploaded/downloaded individually. There's no option to synchronise all records in one swoop, meaning the feature probably won't get used nearly as much as the developers would have liked.

Screenshot for Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Everything works, but few of the game's 24 events are all that fun after you've played them more than a few times. Plus, too many rely on frantic stylus-scratching which makes our DS' screen sad.


Excellent 3D models but slightly uninspiring environments. Vibrant colours anf fluid animations help bring all your favourite characters to life.


Plenty of epic orchestral fanfares as well as some classic unlockable tunes such as Sonic's Star Light Zone and Green Hill Zone themes as well as the usual Mario themes.


Unlockable medals, trophies, and achievement-esque Emblems, plus a few classic songs to discover. Unfortunately, the game itself just isn't all that repayable.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


About this score

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is ultimately an underwhelming experience. Whilst there are plenty of bonus features (medals, emblems, online leaderboards, etc.) designed to keep you coming back, the events/mini-games themselves just aren't up to the challenge. Our advice: if you feel you must own this game simply because of the iconic characters featured on its box, do yourself a favor and wait for Super Smash Bros. Brawl instead.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Ah... lol, still sounds alright - will probably try it out somehowSmilie But guessing its wise to stick to the Wii version.

Nice review Mr. Karn!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer


Itís better than a poke in the eye, sure. But it just fills like a missed opportunity. More Dream-esque events that borrow from the rich history of the two characters without the need to be tied to dull Olympic events would have not only made much more Ďsenseí, but been a lot more fun as well.

If it werenít for Mazza and Blur-boy this game wouldnít have been given a second look by nearly as many people, and yet it squanders those very assets. Anyway, it could have been worse, but it could have been a hell of a lot better as well. Shame.

Cubed3 Staff < Retro Editor :: Previews Editor >

From the adverts it looks like I'll ruin my DS screen by raping it with the stylus. You say it in the review, but is it really the case Karney? Too many DS games seem to be doing this, not good.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

good review...

This game will sell tons, just like it's Wii counterpart.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

The Wii game and the DS versions late release has killed any hype for the game. I\'ll probably end up getting it anyway, need to keep on top of my Sonic collection, but I\'m not ecstatic about it. The Wii one was good, but just good, not great.

What\'s WiFi like in this? Same as Wii version?

EDIT: Ah nvm, just spotted it in the review. That\'s a shame.

( Edited 03.03.2008 10:09 by SuperLink )

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

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