Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games

Common Sense Media says

Sports-themed party game is active, educational, and fun.

Age(i)

2
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5
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8
9
10
11
12
13
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game promotes competitive and social local multiplayer gaming. It recreates the Olympic athletic spirit in video game form, allowing players to become active in their living rooms.

Positive role models

The playable characters are the more popular cast members of the Mario and Sonic games. They don’t show much in the way of meaningful personality, save that some heroes smile graciously and some villains laugh maniacally.

Ease of play

Simple and intuitive controls for each event are explained via comprehensive hands-on training sessions.

Violence & scariness

Characters tumble briskly if they fall while skiing, but they don’t get hurt. A snowball fight game allows players to stun their opponents and knock them down. A couple of events involve cartoon-style shooting, including one in which players pop balloons with balls and another in which they hurl turtle shells at opponents from a hang glider.

Language

Not an issue.

Consumerism

It’s a cross-promotion for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and the Sonic and Mario brands.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Olympic-themed party game is safe fun for the whole family. Aside from some mild cartoon shenanigans -- such as shooting turtle shells from a hang glider -- everything in Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games is safe for consumption by children. It also provides an opportunity for players to get active as they wave their arms about in motions mimicking the action on screen or lean back, forward, and from side to side on a Wii Balance Board (note that a Balance Board is not required to play). Plus, kids will have an opportunity to learn a fair bit about the Olympics, its events, and the host city of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games as they spend credits earned in the game on books at the in-game Olympic Village library.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

MARIO & SONIC AT THE WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES, the second title to bring together rivals Sonic and Mario, is loaded with nearly 30 events spread out over several modes. Many of the game’s sports, including speed skating, bobsled, giant slalom, skeleton, and figure skating, are authentic Olympic activities that have been somewhat simplified for the game’s young target audience. Others are considered “dream events,” such as a ski jump competition in which players fly through space collecting stars and points, and a skiing game set in a Sonic the Hedgehhog-style race course, complete with a giant loop. You can take on these events -- plus a collection of simple party games -- individually or in a group of up to four players. Sports can either be tackled on their own or played in clusters in festival mode, which runs through more than 50 events, training exercises, and rival competitions over a two week period. The Wii and DS versions offer similar design and play, with primary differences coming in the form of interface and graphics.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

You can think of Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games as an Olympic-themed Wii Sports. With production values akin to a Nintendo-made Mario title, loads of activities and modes to choose from, and an educational element that distills scores of interesting tidbits of trivial information about the Olympics, this year’s host city of Vancouver, and various sports (did you know all curling stones come from a single quarry in Scotland?), there really isn’t much to dislike.

Even the controls -- often a weak spot for Wii sports compilation games -- are rock solid, benefiting from a philosophy that clearly puts simplicity at the fore. Speed skating, for example, involves little more than rhythmic swooshing motions as players move the remote from side to side, while giant slalom has players putting remote and nunchuk together and tilting them left and right to turn as though they were skis. The Wii Balance Board makes some events -- like skiing -- even more intuitive. It’s a good bet for any family looking for a way to bring the Olympics into their home.

Online interaction: Not an issue.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Olympics. Do the Games make you feel more patriotic? Do you think they are successful in getting countries to set aside their differences and come together in the spirit of friendly competition?

  • Families can also discuss whether this interactive recreation of the Winter Games, with its very video game-ish look and feel, actually feels like the Olympics. Which did you enjoy more, the authentic sports or the fantastical dream events? From which countries do you suppose each of the game’s playable characters might hail?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sega of America
Release date:October 12, 2009
Genre:Party
Topics:Sports and martial arts
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii)

This review of Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 8 years old May 23, 2014
AGE
3
QUALITY
 
WII U version is much better
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Teen, 14 years old Written byLegend736 March 6, 2012
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Young children will love it.

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old February 19, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Super fun, easy to controll

I don't have much to say because this is my most faveorite game out of ANY Wii game!!!!!! It's really easy to controll (you only need the wii remote so thats a +) And you can also play it with the Wii balance board. But this game is totally fun!! My parents and friends love it to!!! :))
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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