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

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

N.B.: Wii review here.

It's time for Sega's leading hedgehog and Nintendo's leading plumber to team up once again. Just as they did back in 2007/2008, Mario and Sonic (and their respective companions) are once again participating in the Olympic Games (the 2010 Winter Olympics this time around), which means plenty of mini-game action for you.

Unlike the original game, however, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games boasts 'Adventure Tours' in addition to the standard free play modes. Embarking on an Adventure Tour places you in control of either Mario or Sonic and allows you to explore an overworld in search of missions (mini-games) that provide progress-allowing crystals. The plot is extremely light - Bowser and Dr. Robotnik are holding the world's snow spirits hostage in order to stop the Olympic Games - but, thankfully, the game doesn't spend too much time dwelling on it and allows you to focus on the task at hand: completing mini-games.

The Adventure Tour also offers an opportunity for some fun interactions between characters from different universes, and there are some genuinely amusing moments scattered throughout, even if the dialogue is largely on the inane side. Other than running around looking for new events to partake in, though, there's not a great deal to actually do. As such, while it is a nice addition - adding a sense of progress and achievement to what is essentially a party game - the Adventure Tour is ultimately fairly frivolous, and only really serves to present the meat of the game - its numerous mini-games - in a different way.

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

Unfortunately, the mini-games themselves are somewhat lacklustre. Split between standard Olympic events and whimsical Dream Events, there are some twenty plus mini-games to choose from. While none are noticeably broken, few inspire much in the way of fun and excitement or incentive to replay. Ski jumping, for example, challenges you to race down a hill, leap through the air, and perform a careful landing. The interactions required for performing said actions, however, are nothing more than simple swipes and taps with the stylus. Mastering these actions takes very little time, but they're not particularly satisfying or intuitive.

It's not all bad, though. Ski cross racing, a Dream Event, is essentially Mario Kart on skis. In addition to skiing, you can use a variety of items (both offensive and defensive) and ride through boost panels for extra speed, all of which helps make the event feel more 'game-like'. Playing with friends helps, too, and there's a decent selection of single- and multi-card options to choose from (though no online support). While you are required to unlock certain multiplayer features by playing through the single-player modes first, the initial selection (particularly for single-card play) is more than adequate to get started with.

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


The Adventure Tour is a nice addition, but it doesn't offer a lot to do. This leaves the mini-games to fend for themselves, which many of the less enthralling examples simply aren't up to.


The 3D graphics are impressive for the Nintendo DS, animation is fluid, and there are plenty of little nods to both the Mario and Sonic franchises.


A small selection of brief voice snippets are used a little too much, but the music selection is decent. The Wii version has a better choice of old Mario and Sonic tunes, though.


Unlockable achievements/medals, the Adventure Tour, and solid multiplayer are all great for replayability; it's just the mini-games that aren't.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


About this score

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games should be a very solid package. It boasts impressive 3D visuals, a decent (albeit simplistic) single-player adventure mode, and plenty of (offline) multiplayer options. Unfortunately, the mini-games on offer simply aren't all that exciting. There are some gems scattered throughout, but they're mostly few and far between.

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Will sell a metric fuck ton over Christmas, marketed perfectly at the kids and is just easy enough to let them sit and play it for hours.

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