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Mario and Sonic at the Olympics brings together two of the best-loved characters in the video game world, throws in some of their animated friends and then allows you to test your skill at 20 Olympic events.
It's the first game I bought along with my Wii, and it's the one that gets played most often - to explain why I'll have to let you into a secret - my husband Lee and I both have an awful competitive streak, especially against each other. Whether it's mini golf or bowling, if we can turn it into a competition then we do - and unfortunately he usually wins!
With 20 events to choose from this game suits us down to the ground, as we work our way through the circuits trying to select the most skilful character and win the gold medal. The controls are simple enough for even me to master, but while I can click and twist my way to Trampoline mastery I never fail to come last in the running events. There's just something about the drumming motion required that never fails to make my arms ache and while Lee storms across the finish line my character simply limps along. This game really should carry a health warning; the first time we played my arms hurt so much I couldn't lift anything for a week!
It's always fun to challenge your partner to a game of table tennis or the triple jump.
After Wii-Sports it was refreshing to load up the game and see some reasonable graphics - characters that look more like the Sonic and Mario and less like Weebles! They've managed to pack in a lot of detail, from the characters themselves to the backgrounds in the stadiums.
The game play works well too - each event uses the controls in a different way and a lot of thought has gone into the actions. The controls required for the archery for example allow you to imagine that you really are pulling back on that arrow and aiming at the target.
With 16 characters to choose from and 20 events this isn't a game you'll tire of quickly. If you want to impress your friends and collect a stash of gold medals you'll need to test out each of the characters, and work out which one is most suitable for your event of choice. Getting in some secret practice time is always useful to stay one step ahead of your opponent!
And if you start to find the events become too easy you might want to check out Mission Mode, it's more difficult than you think to come second in the 100m swimming, or beating Sonic in a specific event.
This one will definitely be making an appearance on Christmas day.
Of course while it's always fun to challenge your partner to a game of table tennis or the triple jump to decide who's going to do the washing up there are times when you need to set the competitive streak aside. For some reason you can't unlock the subsequent circuits and events in this game unless you play by yourself - which is quite difficult when you can swim faster than Michael Phelps but have two left feet when it comes to running. And that's where the teamwork comes in - select the circuit, use one character and one remote and then take it in turns to cheer each other on as you go for gold in your best events.
With up to four players being able to join in the fun this one will definitely be making an appearance on Christmas day - I'll line up my unsuspecting parents and I might actually win the Gold medal for a change!
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