Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games

August 20, 2009 by Aaron Green  
Filed under Nintendo DS, Reviews

Overview

Title: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Release Date: January 17, 2008 (JA) January 22, 2008 (US) February 7, 2008 (EU)
Developer/Publisher: Sega
Genre: Sports
Platform[s]: Nintendo DS, Wii

Storyline

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games on the Nintendo DS much like its Wii counterpart does not feature a story or any plot whatsoever.  This however is mindless sports button mashing and because of such requires no storyline is required.   

Gameplay

Much like the earlier released Wii version of M&S the gameplay is still a simple affair.  Two headlining characters pit it out in a series of events taken directly from the Olympic Games and the featured events are mostly the same as the Wii’s but with a couple of minor exceptions such as the exclusion of relay racing and rowing though with the inclusion of cycling and the dream events: basketball, boxing, canoeing, long jump and Skeet Shooting.  Game modes included are: Single Match, Circuit Mode, Challenge Mode and VS.  In Circuit Mode the player chooses a pre-defined Circuit to play which consists of a series of events – the highest scoring competitor wins.  Single Match lets gamers choose individual events rather than the predefined Circuits.  Mission Mode offers character specific challenges (some quite hard) and VS mode is quite obviously the multiplayer option in which you can play friends either via DS Download Play or Local Wireless if they own the cart.  M&S takes full advantage of the DS.  Both screens are used (the lower for interaction in most events) and in many fast passed games (running, swimming, cycling etc) the stylus is used quite aggressively to ensure victory – this is a problem, I would like to think that my handheld can take such a beating but it just downright feels like I’m tearing the thing apart.  I know this is the “Touch Generation” and that the emphasis on consoles such as the NDS is entirely about getting physical but I’ve seen other people accidently drop or throw the their styluses and indeed DS’s whilst playing overenthusiastically and it just isn’t cool!

To conclude the gameplay consists of using the stylus, the buttons, the microphone and a degree of self-awareness.  It’s an enjoyable romp but little more than mutton mashing though not as fun as the Wii where you actually feel worked out afterwards.  The singleplayer does not have a steep difficulty and were it not for the aggressive controls I’d say this is a great game for the little ones. 

m&s-Screen

Graphics

Cartoon imagery to suit the theme of the titular protagonists presented in your typical old-school 3D (e.g. PS1) which is absolutely fine bearing in mind the handheld’s hardware restrictions.  The only genuine gripe I have is that the action-replays are angled uselessly.

Sound

The usual sound effects coupled with mediocre music.  Clearly the acoustics are not the title’s key selling points.

Overall Score & Replayability

We at VGR found Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games to be an altogether enjoyable experience on the Nintendo DS but for a number of reasons it just doesn’t match the Wii.  The sound is inferior, the controls aren’t as great and the multiplayer just isn’t as enjoyable!