As concerns mount over the unseasonably warm weather in Vancouver ahead of the Olympic Winter Games, Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is experiencing its own lukewarm reception.
These games are short and without much excitement, unlike the two week-long Vancouver competition. Four events have been given the Sonic treatment: Curling, Snowboard Cross (i.e. snowboard racing), Figure Skating, and Skeleton (i.e. luge).
While some liberties have been taken with the introduction of coins and power-ups, the events at their core are modelled after their Olympic counterparts.
Simple controls heighten an already accessible slate of mini-games. Speeding through the skeleton half-pipe is a matter of tilting your handset. The same controls are used when directing your snowboarder down the slopes in snowboard cross. Gestures drawn on the screen dictate tricks during figure skating competition and propel the stone in curling.
While the events earn recognition for well-designed controls, their humdrum nature hints at a larger issue.
Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games fails to assemble a large enough event roster to be anything more than of fleeting interest: worse still, there's nothing that binds these shallow mini-games together into a compelling experience.
Circuit mode takes you through each event in a sort of Olympic tournament, with medals awarded for the all-around top athlete. Coins collected in each event can be saved up for minor items in the Olympic shop - new songs for figure skating, a couple bonus characters, two snowboard cross locales - but these do nothing to truly broaden gameplay.
It takes an Olympic village
It's more interesting than the one-off Single Event mode, yet the lack of online leaderboards and minimal unlockable content prevents it from possessing any depth.
A few more events would at least lend variety, if not added substance, from which a cohesive Olympic Career mode could be formed. Right now, Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games is just an insipid collection of mini-games.
Local multiplayer in three forms (pass around, Bluetooth, and wi-fi) is noteworthy, as are the visuals which appear noticeably sharper here on iPhone and iPod touch than the original DS version. Neither feature is strong enough, however, to make Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games cool.