Luckily, the Dream Events make these a little better with some more creative additions to the game such as Hole-in-One Curling and Snowball Scrimmage. These also become infinitely better when you play with friends in-person. The Legends Showdown mode is the game’s attempt at a story mode that puts you up against your shadow counterparts, but it’s mostly just a combination of all of the events, and while it is fun, it’s nothing spectacular.
The Action & Answer Tour game mode is a great experience with a group of friends as you can choose how long of a gaming session you are aiming for when you start. The game will then choose some random events, with some twists, for you to play. One example of a game with a twist is the coolness curling game. The trivia question is which person is coolest, and the way you find out the answer is by playing a curling match where you are pushing the eyes, nose, and mouth onto a face, with the winner being the person who gets the parts of the face closest to their correct locations. This is fun enough and brought some good laughs while playing. This was overall probably the funnest part of the game that I experienced, especially in a group setting.
The music is spectacular in the game with a wide range of choices. The music used in the events normally is good, but nothing standout. However, the music is taken to a new level with the ability to choose the tracks in each match from a number of Mario and Sonic classics. The only bad things is that these require unlocking, but I personally enjoy that as it gives you something to strive for while playing. The music works especially well in the Figure Skating events where you get to choose from certain songs including the real world classic Ride of the Valkyries, Super Mario World Main Theme Remix, or even the Windy Hill Zone 1 theme from the recently released Sonic: Lost World.
One aspect that I noticed was kind of odd was the lack of any sort of tutorial system when doing multiplayer under Single Match. I know I can’t be the only person who decided to do multiplayer with a game like this on my first playthrough. The first thing we did was try some of the events such as Alpine Skiing Downhill and upon starting, the game really told us nothing on what to do. We pretty much had to wing it, which was the case with the rest of the events. It wasn’t even until later that I discovered that the game had a tutorial system for each of these events, but only when you are doing it as one player. The tutorial system is easily skipped if you don’t want to do it, so it would be very useful to include for multiplayer as well, especially if you may be showing the game off to a friend for the first time.
Online play is surprisingly very solid for the game, perhaps one of the best on a Nintendo platform. They have had some success in the past with series like Mario Kart, but games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl presented terrible online experiences that were more common with other Nintendo titles. The online part of the game is found on the main menu of the game under Worldwide VS, which upon choosing will give you further options. The only really disappointing part is that there are only four choices you can pick for online play. You have the option to compete online with friends or a random person globally. The option to play people globally was very good for me as the game is only out overseas at the point I was playing the game. There was zero lag during the matches and led to a very good online experience.
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games is pretty much what you would expect if you have played any of the previous games in the series, especially the previous Winter Olympics title. The game looks great with each of its events, but one of the biggest problems is the lack of depth in a number of these events outside of a few standouts like Ice Hockey and Curling. Not to mention that the GamePad is greatly underutilized in most every one. The Dream Events and Action & Answer Tour are your best choices to try by far, especially when playing with a group of friends. If you liked the previous games in the series or are just looking for a decent multiplayer experience on the Wii U, you likely will find some fun here as well, especially if you are a Mario or Sonic fan. There is some potential here with the GamePad usage, so hopefully the next try at the Olympics for Mario & Sonic will further improve on the formula.
[Editor’s Note: Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games was reviewed on the Wii U platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review,