Two years ago, Mario and Sonic joined forces for the first time to compete at the Beijing Summer Olympics. The result was a middling collection of sports-themed minigames that failed to deliver on the potential of that once-forbidden union. Never ones to give up, Mario and Sonic have reunited to hit the slopes and skating rinks of Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games. The result is an occasionally enjoyable but very inconsistent assortment of events that improves a bit on its predecessor but still falls short of earning a medal.
The skiing and snowboarding events are fast and fun.
The game boasts 27 events, which are divided into two categories: actual Olympic events and zanier dream events. Some of the dream events are inspired. Skiing at breakneck speeds through a Mushroom Kingdom environment filled with ridiculous jumps and Mario Kart-style items you can use against your opponents is fun. But this and all of the ski and snowboard racing events, Olympic and dream alike, essentially control and play the same way, so there isn't nearly as much variety to the game as the number of events might lead you to believe.
Those skiing and snowboarding events are the best of what Mario & Sonic has to offer. These are played by holding the remote (and, optionally, the nunchuk) like a ski pole, turning it from side to side, tilting forward to crouch for better speed, and flicking up to jump. It's an intuitive control scheme that works well, and there's a good sense of speed to the visuals that contributes to the excitement. The bobsleigh and skeleton events also deliver thrilling speed, but because your course is predetermined, they aren't as interesting to play. Your only task is to tilt the remote to stay along the best line down the track, which is clearly marked onscreen. Bobsleigh does offer a bit of enjoyment when playing with friends as a team, because you'll need to coordinate leaning left and right as a group to achieve the best speed, but these events are too simple and straightforward to stay interesting for long.
Ice hockey lacks depth but makes up for it somewhat with over-the-top arcade action as you constantly bodycheck members of the opposing team to knock the puck away from them. Games last for only two short periods and don't overstay their welcome. In curling, you use a bowling-like motion to throw the stone and then rapid thrusts to sweep the ice and keep the stone sliding. The strategy of the sport, which can involve using stones to protect your other stones and to knock your opponent's stones out of the scoring area, can make it fun for friendly competition.