If I had access to a time machine one of the places I'd visit would be my old middle school lunchroom circa 1994. I'd take a copy of the new Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games for the Nintendo Wii with me and blow the minds of my past self and childhood friends with the idea that the two biggest rivals in the 16-bit console wars had come together in a single game. I would not let my past self play it, however, as that would shatter the mystique behind the surprising combination. That's right; my review of the sports mini-game collection is now available at AMN and I'm sorry to say that this officially licensed Olympic product isn't all that much fun.
What we have here is yet another collection of mini-games for the Wii, and that's really not so bad when the segments are done as well as Mario & Sonic pulls them off. Competing in an event is as simple as waving the Wii remote around really quickly or pressing the A button at the right moment. That's really all there is to it, however, and that leaves the gameplay feeling shallow when playing in the game's single-player mode. With friends, on the other hand, there's a definite competitive party aspect to the whole experience.
There's also a lot of pomp and circumstance surrounding the events themselves, meaning that before one can play an event there's the whole ceremonial aspect of one's chosen character entering the arena/stadium, optional clapping and cheering with the Wii remote and nunchuk, a review of the rules for those who need the refresher, and then finally the event can begin. Then the event ends in twenty or thirty seconds or so. Follow that up with the scoreboard and then awards screen where the winners pose and say something comical. That's a lot to go through just to jump over a few hurdles by flicking one's wrist for half a minute.
I wanted to like it, I wanted it to be great, and I wanted it to be worthy of the history it brings to the table, but it just wasn't meant to be. It looks like we'll have to wait for the real clash of the titans in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.