When we reviewed Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games back in November we remarked that it was one of the best mini-game compilations on the Wii, a statement that still stands rather true to us today. Here we are a few months later and Mario and Sonic have teamed up once again for the Nintendo DS version of Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, but is the title as fun as the console version or should Mario stick to platformers, kart racing and partying while Sonic stays on a 2D playing field?
Despite coming a few months later, Mario and Sonic on the Nintendo DS is very similar to the Wii version. The game contains several different Olympic sports including running, fencing, shooting, cycling and swimming, but the main drawcard for the game is the inclusion of sixteen familiar faces. From the Sonic universe comes familiar characters such as Knuckles, Vector, Amy, Blaze, Shadow Tails, Dr. Eggman and of course Sonic the Hedgehog. From the Mario games comes Bowser, Wario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Waluigi, Yoshi and the Italian plumber himself. But wouldn't Sonic always win the running events? Well, yes, he certainly has an advantage and Mario and Sonic addresses this by splitting the sixteen characters up into four different categories. The four categories include power, all around, speed and skill and it is important to choose the right character for the right event. For example, you wouldn't go into a field event with Bowser or Dr. Eggman, at least not unless you are willing to lose or work much, much harder.
The game includes three main single player options - single match, circuit and mission. A single match is self explanatory and allows the player to choose an event, then choose a character and play the event. The circuit option contains a series of miscellaneous events, with the objective being to complete the events in the highest possible position and win the circuit. The mission mode features individual missions for specific events, with more missions unlocking as the player completes the missions successfully.
Like in the Wii version of the game, it is probably the multiplayer which will keep most players satisfied. The game supports multiplayer for up to four players, so if you can find enough players with a Nintendo DS then there is plenty of potential for some good multiplayer fun. Even though the game does support the DS's download play option, there are less events on offer if only one person owns a copy of the game, which is disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. Unfortunately while the game does support the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, it doesn't support it in a way we had hoped. Unfortunately it is not possible to play any of the events online, and all you can do is view the fastest times and scores for events. There are already a significant number of scores and times online (more than 22,000 for the 100m sprint), so those who appreciate the old days of going for better scores may enjoy the fact their scores and times can be compared with the world. The Wii and Nintendo DS versions also don't connect up in any way, which is a bit of a shame.
What really lets down Mario and Sonic is the fact that the game just isn't as enjoyable as the Wii version. In the Wii version we loved really straining to get to first place and really moving the Wii remote as quickly as humanly possible. On the Nintendo DS every mini-game is played in a different, but much less satisfying way. So, whereas in the Wii version the 100m sprint required the player to actually move the Wii remote and nunchuk up and down, the Nintendo DS version requires players to slide the stylus to the right and then to the left. It just simply isn't as enjoyable as the Wii version. The Nintendo DS version does benefit from two exclusive Olympic events (10m platform diving and cycling) and five exclusive dream events (canoeing, boxing, basketball, long jump and skeet shooting), but once again, playing with the stylus just isn't as good.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games is an okay game on the Nintendo DS. We loved the Wii version, with its strenuous mini-games and addictive multiplayer, but the stylus controls for all of the events on the Nintendo DS just aren't as enjoyable. Gamers have been hoping to see Mario and Sonic together for a long time in a video game, so to get an Olympics title is probably going to annoy a few people. We weren't so concerned on the Wii because the game was a bit more satisfying, but on the DS there are far better mini-game compilations than Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games.