Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games
Content at a glance:
Mild Cartoon Violence: Characters can bump each other around and attack with items like flying shells and exploding bombs. Characters are unharmed.
Spiritual Content: One character is a ghost.
Suggestive Content: One rival character wears a tight, low-cut outfit.
This review was written only for the Wii version of the game. Content descriptions may not apply for the DS version
At some points, athletes from all across the world gather in one place to take part in a series of sporting events dating way back to ancient Greece. Every four years, the games involve skis, skates, and snowboards. Even with the change of scenery, and climate, the thrill of the competition and the possible prestige of standing to receive a gold medal in your event are very much the same. Yes, the games I refer to are the Winter Olympic Games. But these games in particular are not your typical Olympic Games. Koopa shells slide down the ski slopes, hedgehogs (yes hedgehogs) mount snowboards, and a certain plumber grabs a hockey stick to compete for Olympic gold. What kind of Olympic games are these? They’re the Olympic Games video game style.
Video game rivals Mario and Sonic, along with a lot of their friends (and foes), met back in 2007 for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Now, two years later in 2009, the two video game big-names pack up their gear and bundle up to meet once again for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. But the big question is not who will take home the gold, but will this competition be warm for families or leave them out in the cold?
There’s not much to tell here, folks; pretty common for sports games. It’s 2010, and spectators ranging from Toads, Koopas, and Shy Guys to the cute, little Chao are filling the stands in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics. On the field, Sonic and his friends, like Tails and Amy, and foes Shadow and Dr. Eggman go up against Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser and still others for Olympic gold. Only one of them, hopefully the one you picked, will win the most points and become the overall champion for the games. Pick from a number of your favorite Sonic and Mario characters, and set them through 16 days of skiing, snowboarding, skating, hockey, and curling (that’s what the game’s called). Win enough points, and you’ll find yourself in first place. Keep winning and you’ll find yourself on the top of the podium as the champion…if you can shake off the numbness from being out in the snow or falling into the snow that is. Hey, whoever said the Olympics were easy?
Gameplay is set around two modes, Winter Olympics and Party Games. In the Olympics, you can choose to compete through 16 game days of events to take home the gold or just play through single matches. Party Games are where you can play through events to win the right to play one of three carnival-style games. During the Festival, the main game of the Winter Olympics mode, you’ll sometimes be challenged by a rival, which is this game’s equivalent of a boss fight.
Since this is a Wii title, you’re going to be pretty involved in this. The controls are all different for each game, but except motion. For instance, in a lot of skiing events, you’ll have to turn the Wii remote left and right to turn left and right. The further you turn, the tighter your character turns. In figure skating, you’ll have to watch the screen and swing your remote according to their instructions to execute the jumps, twirls and tricks needed to snag first place. And in ice hocky, you bring both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuck into play to skate, pass, and shoot for the goal.
The characters themselves have a varying degree of strengths and weaknesses in a few areas. Sonic is faster than Bowser, but Bowser is stronger. If you’re going for the 16-day Festival, weighing those traits is important, because the character you pick is the one you’re stuck with.
By the way, motion is the name of the game, but a lot of games rely on timing and rhythm, so this game has quite its fair share of challenges. Still, it’s a lot of fun.
Mild Cartoon Violence
This game is really clean, but there are a couple of areas. In games like hockey, you can ram into other characters, knocking them back a bit. That’s the most violent these games get. The rest is limited to sending Koopa shells hurtling down the slopes. One item to impede your rivals’ progress is an exploding bomb. The most that happens is the characters caught in the blast get knocked over, but no one gets seriously injured.
King Boo, of the haunted mansion Luigi won some years back, makes an appearance. Other than that, there’s nothing to be seen here.
Mild Suggestive Content
One of the rivals you encounter in Festival mode is Rouge the Bat. Once again, she sticks with a low-cut, tight-fitting suit. You only see her close enough to notice this once, and you can avoid watching her performance. All the other females, despite wearing short sweaters, are all modestly clothed.
Other Negative/Questionable Elements
You can choose to play as villians Bowser, Eggman and the bad counterparts to our famous plumber brothers, Wario and Waluigi. You don’t aid them in their more infamous exploits, like stealing treasure or world domination, but still you can play as them.
I decided to rent this game recently. I have to say, I wasn’t overly thrilled at mixing Sonic, Mario, and sports together. I don’t know why I decided to pick up this one, but I’m glad I did.
I was never a sports fan, even in video games, but there are a few games that I’ve made exceptions with, and this is one of them. After I put it in my Wii, I was soon having quite a time racing down snow-covered hills hoping I would come in first and take the gold. Despite its challenging controls, the controls still make the gameplay exciting.
Discerning parents will like this title too. This game is about as clean as the snow the games are set in. There are a couple of bumps to be found, but I doubt they’ll make players trip over them and fall head-first into the powder.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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