We've had a fresh hands-on with a virtually finished build of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and now we can't wait for Christmas. There's something about the game that makes us want to be huddled around the telly with mince pies, sherry and that 'I've just eaten lots of lovely food' feeling.
Compared to the Summer Olympic version, the new game feels looser with its license. Sure, you've got traditional game modes which are fairly realistic and straight-laced interpretations of the real events, but there are alternative 'dream' versions, which are pure fan service. Check this lot out:
Mario Kart on Skis
The downhill event is just like Mario Kart Wii, complete with power-up boxes, ramps and stunts. You're on a pair of skis, of course, but the experience is very similar. There's four-player split-screen too, which is fun, though the predictable position shake-up at the last corner is still here in full effect.
Above: The graphical style is identical to Mario Kart... only Sonic's in it!
Galaxy-themed ski jump
Very sadly, we haven't yet got a screenshot for Mario Galaxy Ski Jumping. But we couldn't let you down, so we've made our own:
The gameplay feels just how that looks. It's more than a little similar to the Monkey Target minigame from Super Monkey Ball 2: You launch yourself off the ramp in the middle of space, then fly through the stars, collecting coins and score icons along the way. When you run out of inertia (erm... this is space, right?), you must land on a dartboard-style planet, with the highest scores waiting in the middle.
There are four in-game shops for you to explore. There's a sports shop, boutique, music shop and (cue dramatic music) a SECRET SHOP
. Of course, the contents of this is being kept under wraps, but the items we did see from the others were much more desirable than most games of this type. We even played a game of curling while rocking out to the Sonic Heroes title theme. That just doesn't happen enough.
Above: The interchangeable graphics on the boards are very smart
Speaking of the curling, it's a superb multiplayer event. With decent use of the Wii-mote (not too specific in its gestures but enough to allow skillful play) and a good sensation of weight to the stones, it actually got us excited about curling, especially when the Sega PR rep pulled off a snooker-esque ricochet to win the game from an impossible situation.
Outfits for your Miis
Depending on how much you like Nintendo's cheery avatars, you'll find the following picture of the in-game outfits you can buy for your Mii either incredibly endearing or downright scary. We have to say, the picture falls into the latter category for us, although when you actually see these outfits in the game, they are much more likeable. After all, they do
Above: "We've come to collect the money you owe"
02 Oct, 2009