|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev:SEGA||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA of America||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Besides these standard events you'd expect from a game simulating the Winter Olympics, there are also a series of dream events in the game that infuse some much needed Mario and Sonic flavor into the title. Most of these generally consist of taking a standard event and applying different backgrounds and mechanics to them in order to make them slightly more interesting. One example of this is a ski long jump that has you soaring through outer space while collecting points and weapons pickups to help edge out the competition before your final touchdown on a distant asteroid. Then there are also some which don't have anything to do with the Olympic Games such as a four vs. four snowball match that are just thrown in for good measure and some added variety.
The downside to these dream events are that they aren't immediately accessible to the player. In order to unlock these events, you'll need to play through the game's somewhat lengthy festival mode first. This mode attempts to simulate the actual Olympic Games by throwing training and events at you on a day to day basis in a quest to rack up the most points overall. The dream events and some rival challenges are tossed in to help to spice up what would otherwise feel like a grind but don't help as much as you'd hope.
The coins you earn from successfully completing any of the game's events can be used to buy various things, also seemingly meant to add superficial variety to the title. The items for sale include information about the Olympics, Mii clothing and accessories, patterns and banners (that can be applied to skis/snowboards), and classic Mario and Sonic tunes. While having this option is great, many of these items aren't very good or don't really add anything. Some of the Mii clothing and accessories are either completely plain or rather hideous and while the patterns and banners are a great idea, most look terrible and out of place once applied to your skis or snowboard.
Still, even with its problems Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is a slightly better title than its predecessor. There is definitely more variety in the events and the motions required, the dream events are better and more elaborate, and well, I just think that the Winter Games are inherently more fun than the Summer ones to begin with. However, it would have been nice if the game had gotten some more polish before its release, especially in terms of its visuals which can be fairly rough due to the horribly pixelated crowds and occasional framerate hiccups. Even so, if you liked the first Mario and Sonic Olympics title or are just looking for a Mario and Sonic-themed mini-game compilation, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games should be fun in small bursts, especially with four players.
CCC Staff Contributor