Ever wanted to see a blue hedgehog do a triple corkscrew on the trampoline or hungered to witness a fat Italian plumber attempt the 100m sprint? Well now you can, as two of gaming's finest icons get together to do battle across track, field and pond in a game that will be instantly familiar to anyone who played the NES's Track and Field or any of its numerous generational derivatives, or equally anyone who's spent time making a fool out of themselves on any of the Wii's countless mini-game collections.
You can grab a brand spanking new copy of Mario and Sonic's first gaming mash-up for just £12.99 from Gamestation, saving a good five pounds on the nearest competitor with a full stock room (Gameplay - £17.99), and perfect for a family stocking filler.
As I mentioned earlier, if you've ever dipped your Wiimote into the bustling crowd of party games available on the console, you'll fit right in. Mario & Sonic will feel hugely familiar to anyone who's ever picked up Wii Play or Rayman's Raving Rabbids for example.
The premise is pretty self-explanatory: there are 24 authentic Olympic events to choose from, each of them requiring some deft movement of the Wiimote, generally combined with the odd bit of button mashing. They all fall into one of eight categories - athletics, gymnastic, shooting, archery, rowing, aquatics, fencing and table tennis - and they're all slightly different, although some more than others. There's not too much to tell the tapping frenzy for the 100m apart from the 400m, so it's a bit of a cop out there, but events like archery and table tennis are very well implemented indeed.
This could all get horrifically boring after a while with only 24 events - especially considering that games like Wario Ware boast a mini game count in the hundreds - but SEGA and Ninty shake things up a bit by adding in online leaderboards (although sadly no real-time head-to-head play), a Mission Mode that plays like a laconic career mode with character specific objectives, and best of all....Dream Mode.
Dream Mode is excellent: you basically take four core Olympic events and sprinkle a hefty dose of Nintendo magic over them so that they become raucous affairs with item blocks and super attacks, speed boosts and wacky rules. It's here that my friends and I had the most fun and, as with Mario Kart, be prepared for a little bit of 'Just One More' syndrome. The controls can be a little bit frustrating and the game isn't perhaps as fully fleshed out and expansive as it could be, but there's a surprising amount to get to grips with here and watching Mario try and keep up with Sonic on the steeplechase is deliciously funny.
Thanks to whizzkid at HotUKDeals