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Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Preview

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Posted by: Vito Gesualdi

I think most gamers were surprised that Mario and Sonic's first major interaction was destined to take place in an Olympic brand title, yet it seems the colorful take on the classic events was worthy of a sequel. So now we have Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which should prove to be another thrill geared toward the younger crowd. We went to an exclusive event showing off the new title and saw how the game has evolved since its last inception. The main focus is on the new party mode, a four-player romp through a Mario Party series of events--rampaging through the gameboard streets of London and collecting stars stickers, for example. All of the characters from the original return; in other words, there are no new characters. Given the wealth of options from the first game, it will be hard for fans not to find a favorite in the roster.

One exclusive event we got to see behind closed doors was the new Rhythmic Ribbon event. In it, Princess Peach took to the athletic mat for what resembled a simplified version of Elite Beat Agents, with the player performing various moves with the Wiimote as the shrinking target circles demanded. While it was entertaining to watch a middle-aged Japanese game developer show off his twirling skills, I was disturbed to see Princess Peach in such a high-cut leotard. More exciting were the dream events, designed to involve all four players without the use of split-screen. First was a break-neck obstacle course, with Mario and friends dodging buses and traffic signs. Another was a simple race through the streets of London, with characters gobbling up coins like Pac-Man. And then finally, we watched a giant scripted chase sequence, with all the players working to maneuver a cart around obstacles and away from enemies to keep a cache of Yoshi eggs intact.

Again, this is obviously a game made for a younger audience, but there's a lot to like. All the familiar characters are perfectly rendered. With events like the Ribbon and Equestrian events, there's definitely a nod to bringing in some young female gamers, too. Overall, Mario & Sonic at the London 2013 Olympic Games looks like a great party game for the Wii crowd.

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