Why Mario & Sonic's Winter Olympics is fan service heaven

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 arealternative 'dream' versions, which are pure fan service. Check this lotout:

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. Butwe 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 theMonkey 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.

Unlockable goodies

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 arevery 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 Miieither 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 smile sometimes..

Above: "We've come to collect the money you owe"

02 Oct, 2009

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine, Traxion.gg, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.