bitparade: Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Nintendo DS)

Did you ever spend a few hours huddled round a PlayStation with a multitap and four controllers connected, wrists and fingers hurting as you, once again, tried to take the gold in the 100m sprint on Konami’s International Track & Field? I know I did many a time, and thats essentially what we have here, but on the DS.

This is the first time Mario and Sonic have both been in a product together, officially anyhow. but don’t let this sway you either way as theres nothing here to suggest that its anything other than a means to shift units. The game itself is pretty solid and fairly enjoyable, with it using pretty much every aspect of the DS within the confines of each event, for instance, the 100m sprint, unsurprisingly, has you scrubbing away at your touch screen like a madman, something I assume isn’t really all that healthy for the machine in the long run, the cycling has you hammering away at the shoulder buttons, whilst changing “lanes” to pick up stamina items with the d-pad, Table Tennis gets you to you the d-pad and face buttons and the long-jump incorporates some use of the microphone in order to get you to fill up an “inspiration” metre before taking your jump which seems to have some small effect on the overall distance of your jump.

Most of the games are pretty much by the numbers as you’d expect them, they’re certainly not pushing any boundaries, but some work better than others. The fencing, for instance, comes across as quite confusing and the touch screen controls feel very random as to ether you are successful at parrying or not. The rifle shooting happens to be my favourite of all of the events on offer (16 in total) as it happens to be both simple yet challenging.

The game offers three different modes for single player, Single Match, Circuit where you are given 3 or 4 different events to do and you have to be the overall winner on points after all the rounds are over, and Mission where you are required to do different things (such as using Shadow in the 100m Sprint and not letting Sonic pass you). This all amounts to there being much more to do for the single player than previous games in this genre, but its multiplayer where these games always stand out as being most fun, and MaSatOG is no different via playing 2 player single card play I had access to 6 events which were easy to play and enjoyable whilst still competitive, however, there is no WiFi play available on the game which seems to be a bit of an oversight on SEGA’s part.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games appears to be a well built game, that looks pretty good graphically for a DS game, although certainly not on par with Phantom Hourglass, and its perfect for a bit of light hearted multiplayer fun, but I really wouldn’t recommend playing it too often, if only for the sake of your touch screen.

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