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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games review

A party game worthy of warming you on cold winter days


  • More variety then you'd credit it for
  • Excellent time attack game
  • A good sense of speed


  • Party modes are a bit limp
  • Most of the characters are jerks
  • Only social gamers will get their money's worth

Have we all gotten over the fact that Mario and Sonic are in the same game yet? Then we can begin. The chillier of the two Olympics might get short shrift in the national media, but historically it tends to produce the better videogames, and so it proves here again. Sega have done an admirable job of making loads of sports involving falling down a mountain at high-speed feel different from one another. Rich with content and ideas, there’s something for everyone here.

The Balance Board is the star here. Show it a copy of Winter Games, and the stern peripheral finally takes time out from criticising your pot-belly to have itself some fun, and boy, does it know how to party. It’s one of those Wii games where you have to really throw yourself into it to get the most from it – whether that involves lining everyone up in tandem behind the board for the bobsleigh event, or forcing the balance board to get close and personal with all that flab it hates so much for the luge event. None of the games require the Board, of course, but it adds to the amusement during social gatherings and gives the other players something to giggle over while they eagerly wait for their go.

If you tire of the straight-laced Olympic events, the parallel Dream courses see Mazza and chums in more familiar territory. Speed boost bars, weapons, chain-chomps – it’s effectively Mario Kart on snow – even the music has been lifted directly from the Wii version. Most of the Dream Events are unavailable at the beginning of the game. Unlock them by winning medals.

The general quality of the minigames is good – none of them are stinkers, although we were slightly disappointed with the stunted ice hockey on show. NHL 2010 it ain’t. NHL 1910, it ain’t, in fact. There’s nothing substantial enough to captivate the lone gamer for months or even days at a time, but as a party piece, it’s more than worthy of a place in your collection. Plus, all the good stuff is unlocked from the very beginning. They’re learning, readers, they’re learning!

Oct 13, 2009

More info

DescriptionAfter the monstrous success of their first Olympic team-up, these former console rivals are at it again, and while the snow covered events are hit or miss, this collection of light Olympics fun is worth the ticket price.
Franchise nameMario
UK franchise nameMario
US censor rating"Everyone","Everyone"
UK censor rating"7+","7+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)