Review: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games
As I sat down with Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games for DS, I remembered how much fun my family was having with the Wii version over Christmas. For a party gamer, the touch screen based Olympic sporting event compilation has just as much to offer as the waggle version, but single players will probably become bored quickly.
The DS game contains sixteen characters, but obviously lacks Miis. As you advance through circuits of increasing length and difficulty, you'll eventually unlock all twenty-four events. Ranging from the 100m dash to skeet shooting, with fencing, table tennis, cycling, and more, there's no doubting that some games are much better than others. It's nice to see the variety of control methods, though. For instance, even though doing airborne tricks off the trampoline and diving board could be exactly the same, the former is controlled by drawing with the stylus, the latter by quickly pressing a sequence of buttons.
For those lonely single player completionists, the Mission mode unique to each character provides goals in five events. They can be as simple as not missing a single shot in a round of skeet, or as frustrating as not getting hit at all during the Dream Race, where, as in other Dream sports, a bit of whimsy is injected, in this case allowing players the use of Mario Kart items, like red shells, while challenging them to hurdle over spiked fences.
Somehow mini-game collections aren't complete without Simon, so Olympic trivia and jukebox sections are unlocked by putzing with these throw-aways. There's a weird Break-Out type game with moving targets, a conveyor belt sorting activity, and an airship that ascends as you blow into the DS's mic. Wikipedia is a better curiosity fix.
Of course, the real reason to purchase this game would be having grand Olympic adventures with four players. Download play only includes a taste of the action-six events-so to compete across full circuits you need to make sure your friends are ready to shell out their $35 as well.
The 3-D doesn't look half as bad as some DS games, while most of the music isn't too interesting. Even with the gameplay variety, you can whip through it all pretty quick. If what you're looking for is a rainy-day group activity, Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games could probably medal, but as a rewarding solo experience it doesn't quite make the cut