There are elements of fun and nice sound and visuals, but much of it is shallow and lacks diversity. They could have and should have done better.
Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games on the Wii U is another title by Nintendo and this time the focus brings back some winter sports featuring some cool and well respected characters, namely 'Mario' and 'Sonic', and their friends.
It was cool in 2007 and it's still cool now, Mario and Sonic in a game together, this is just my childhood dream come true. This series is also on its fourth installment now and has the potential to be different as it is on a new HD system and, with motion plus becoming pretty much the standard now, they can potentially offer an awesome experience.
Now first of all this game has something big going for it, it's the first Wii U game to show the Mario Roster rendered in 3D, and they look stunning. The Sonic and Mario Roster and environments look really awesome and your eyes will certainly be happy and so will your ears as this game has a number of remixed and remastered tracks from both classic and recent Mario and Sonic games.
So the visuals and sound are fine, the only problem are the actual games themselves. It may look and sound tremendous but the overall selection of games are not only lacking in diversity but they are also lacking in number. There are a total of 10 games and six of them just involve tilting the remote to win a race like skiing downhill or bob sleighing. There are some differences between these six; in one of them, I think its called biathlon, you get to perform on a shooting range at a certain point of the race, and in another one you have to ride waves of wind to jump as far as possible. These two stand out but most of them just feel exactly the same as the others.
Another three of those ten are waggle games. In one of them you have to maintain speed by waggling to a pattern, and in another one, figure skating, you are given a pattern to follow but waggling when prompted seems to do the job just as well. Finally there is curling where you kind of bowl like Wii Sports and then waggle the amount required. These games get tired pretty quickly.
So from the ten games covered, six of them are tilting the remote to win races and three of the others more or less just require waggling the Wii Remote. The final game is actually completely different to anything else on offer, this one being hockey. In hockey there isn't actually any motion control at all, it just plays like any hockey or for that matter football game. You just skate around an ice rink, tackle players, pass the puck and shoot, it does not have much to it but it's OK.
Then there are the dream events which are pretty much just duplicates of the original events but set in certain locations taken from the Mario and Sonic worlds. These events are my favorite thing about the entire Mario and Sonic series, most of the games have a new twist to them but take away the Sonic and Mario connections and they would be just very shallow events; the Mario and Sonic connection means they can deliver a lot of nostalgia and fan service that the developers seem to have aimed to deliver as their primary objective. There are only eight events but each one of them is actually pretty enjoyable and without these dream events this Mario and Sonic game would be pretty mediocre.
To be fair, each game is better when played in multiplayer mode but not to a huge extent. There is an online multiplayer for those unable to play locally, but only four games are offered in this mode, three of them being ordinary races and only one of them being a dream event. Mario and Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic game just does not have a whole lot to offer and everything it does offer can be done within about half an hour and there is very little incentive to do it again unless you are a complete novice at any sort of sports game.
There are a few different ways to juggle the games around such as a Medley Mode which just plays a selection from out of all the games games and Legend Showdown where you play every single game. The latter allows you to compete against characters from the Mario and Sonic Universe that are unplayable in the game which is just kind of frustrating. The twenty playable characters in Mario and Sonic 2014 are the exact same twenty playable characters since the second game. The only real unlockables in this game are the outfits and music tracks, characters would have been nice in this instance, but sadly they have been left out.
Overall Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games could have been better, and although many of the chosen sports are pretty yawn provoking even in reality a lot more could have been done to make them interesting in the non real world of Sonic and Mario. There are elements of fun and nice sound and visuals, but much of it is shallow and lacks diversity on the Wii U. They could have and should have done much better rather than simply stamping the Mario seal of approval and expecting it to sell.