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Review: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is not for me. It's not for any of my friends. It's not for any of the people I converse with about video games on a daily basis. It is unabashedly for children, and there's nothing for grownups. That's not to say that the game is horrible, but much like tofu, it's not for me.

Believe it or not, there's actually a story mode that takes the forefront of the game experience. To sum it up, Bowser and Robotnik have torched Vancouver (err, melted all the snow) and have captured the snow sprites that create the snow, except one. The lone sprite enlists the help of Mario and Sonic to save the day. While exploring the game's hub, you find Olympic events to compete in that give you the MacGuffins required to continue the adventure. As you finish more you find more people to join your crew, all with different stats to help in different missions. It's pretty straightforward.

Now, the bulk of the game is the actual Olympic Games that you take part in, either in story mode or freeplay mode. As you can probably imagine, they're all mini-games with super simple and super repetitive controls. Need to speed skate? Press L and R rapidly. Need to do a ski jump? Move the stylus down then up then down. And there are a lot of the games, but most of the controls for all of them are simple.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm tired of mini-game collections. Maybe it's that the game is directed towards children. Maybe it's the thought that I've been doing this game-playing thing for so many years that simple, inoffensive games just don't do anything for me. I love mindless, zone-out-while-you-kill-dudes games that don't require much thought, but I also need a bit more from my games than what Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games has to offer. I'm sure if I was new to games, or was twelve years younger, I'd really dig this game. There's nothing bad about Mario and Sonic, there's just nothing compelling.

Players:1-4 players

Platform(s):Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii

Developer:Sega Japan