Impressions: Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games – Private demo

Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games private demo impressions

This might come as a surprise: this game’s actually fairly interesting. I know what a lot of you core gamers are thinking: after Summer Olympics, I’m not too terribly concerned about the details of the follow-up. But here’s the thing: from what we saw today, it looks like this game’s considerably more polished and possibly more entertaining than its predecessor. Although we haven’t put our hands on it yet, we did receive a behind-closed-doors demo straight from the Japanese developers featuring a bunch of stuff which wasn’t available on the show floor. Here’s the scoop.

The Wii version of the game is, as you might expect, wholly separate and different from the upcoming DS installment (for that, we’ll be posting separate impressions in a bit). Although there are a range of events available, the three we were shown which weren’t available to general attendees were as follows (in bullet-point format, as we all love):

Figure Skating

  • Very simple and intuitive.

  • To control, swing the remote in the indicated directions as you hit the circles on the ice. The path of the skater is on-rails, but there’s plenty to pay attention to, as the game gives you a variety of different “up”, “down”, “twirl”, and so on commands.

  • You can also swing the remote in time with the music to perform different moves.

  • There are also segments where you must balance the skater with the remote.

  • Finally, at the end, there’s a bonus section where you can earn some extra points.

  • The final version will have six different musical tracks to skate to; this one had just one—a classical track. Depending on the music you select, difficulty and moves vary.

Ice Hockey

  • Up to four players simultaneously; we witnessed two-player gameplay in our demo.

  • You can choose between 4 humans versus the computer or a 2 vs. 2 match.

  • Shoot the puck by swinging the Wii remote; beyond that, the controls are quite traditional.

  • Each pass builds up energy in the puck, which can be released with a goal shot.

  • Use the D-pad on the nunchuk to move the character and press the A button to pass.

Dream Ski Cross

  • Influenced by Mario Circuit from Mario Kart Wii. There’s just one course—Mario Circuit.

  • Many dream events are inspired by old Mario/Sonic titles, just as in Summer Olympics.

  • Controls are same as normal ski cross.

  • The music sounds very much like Mario Kart (might be the same?)

  • You can swing the Wii remote in mid-air off jumps to do tricks.

  • As usual, performing such tricks earns you speed upon landing.

  • You can press A to perform a special move; once exhausted, you must pick up five coins along the track to recharge it.

  • As you might expect, there are item blocks featuring the usual Mario power-ups to spice up the event for “dream” status.

  • During a jump, you can trace patterns with the Wii remote for more tricks in mid-air—this is quite a cool concept actually and looks like it might be a lot of fun at parties.

  • The event also supports the Wii Balance Board.

  • Looks like a lot of fun, but we sure wish there was to be more than one course available.

In other news, dressing up as Sonic and Mario will, in fact, not get you into E3.