Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games marks the first time that the Olympic-based Mario & Sonic series has made its way to Wii U. The game has a lot of positives that I feel are often overlooked, but it also has a lot of negatives that weighs down the experience and keeps it from being good.
The game features various characters from both the Mario and Sonic franchises as they compete in various winter-based Olympic events. This includes figure skating, snowboarding, curling, and more, obviously with a very quirky Nintendo vibe.
A lot of the games are a lot of fun, even if they can be a little too basic at times. Various game modes keep things interesting, such as the Legends Showcase that almost even applies a story to the events, and all of the different multiplayer versus and co-op options available. There’s even an online multiplayer mode, but it is hardly very active at all.
The problem I have with the game is that most of the motion control is entirely irrelevant to the experience. I am not one of those people that hates on motion controls for no reason, but this game uses motion controls in situations that would’ve fared better if more traditional control inputs were used instead. The tilting mechanic used by a ton of the games simply does not work in many cases, or the characters freak out and get stuck on walls. The jumping by lifting the GamePad is silly when there are plenty of face buttons that would’ve worked perfectly fine. I think that the game is seriously held back by the lack of traditional button inputs and that Nintendo shouldn’t force motion controls into a game when it’s not necessary.
Pretty much the only game that really needed motion controls was figure skating. This rhythm based game is actually quite fantastic and uses the motion controls expertly. There’s a variety of different songs to choose from as well, ranging from real world tunes to music from the Sonic and Mario gaming franchises.
The game, while sporting a solid foundation, can become extremely frustrating to play because of the motion control issues as well as other problems. The AI ranges from incredibly cheap to incredibly dumb, and a lot of the games have to do with pure luck.
The game’s greatest asset is its looks. Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is beautiful, with surprisingly detailed stages, stunning character models, and brilliant graphical effects. The game is one of the best looking games I’ve ever played, and I am honestly surprised that so much effort went into making a game this good looking.
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is mostly just more of the same for the franchise. There’s a ton of kinks to work out and I’d like to see an entry in the series that uses traditional control inputs down the line, but overall the game has a lot of fun moments unfortunately bogged down by equal servings of frustration. It’s gorgeous, but it doesn’t play as good as it looks.
Tested on Wii U. Final Score: 6/10