Xbox One | 360 | XBLA  PS4 | PS3 | PSN  Wii U | VC    3DS  PS Vita  iOS    PC    Retro    

  » news
  » reviews
  » previews
  » cheat codes
  » release dates
  » screenshots
  » videos

  » specials
  » interviews

  » facebook
  » twitter
  » contests

  » games list
  » franchises
  » companies
  » genres
  » staff

Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
GENRE: Puzzle
November 14, 2010
Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Super Smash Bros.

 Written by Nicole Kline  on November 12, 2010

Review: It's on like? wait, are we going to get sued?

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! is one of the best DS games I've ever played. There, I said it. I put it all out on the table. It's got great puzzles, a fun soundtrack, and it's so cute it actually hurt me a little. The only thing that could be cuter would be if it came with a box of kittens. Adorable mewing aside, this is the game I wished Scribblenauts had been ? puzzles that are fun yet challenging, music that is nostalgic yet different enough to feel new, and with a main character I actually cared about ? despite the fact that he's a tiny, wind-up version of Mario.

The storyline is a simple one ? Mario is opening an amusement park called ?Super Mini-Mario World,? and the first 100 customers get a free mini-Pauline doll. Donkey Kong comes running, tossing Toads out of the way, but arrives too late: all of the dolls have been given away. Furious, Donkey Kong grabs Pauline and takes off into the amusement park. Mario, probably tired of saving girls all the time, again sends in his trusty wind-up minis to save the day ? and the dame.

And that is where the fun begins. There are eight different attractions, and each one has eight levels, a Donkey Kong showdown, and an unlockable minigame. At the end, there's also a special boss battle against Donkey Kong. Each level has coins, a special Mario coin, and a card. Collecting all the cards spells out ?MINIMARIO? and unlocks the minigame. Beating the ?goal? points on each level also gives you a trophy. These are important because the Mario coins unlock ?Special Levels,? of which there are 20, and the trophies unlock ?Expert Levels,? of which there are 10. Beating the main game also unlocks ?Plus Mode,? which is all of the levels from the story mode...just more difficult. In case you were wondering and/or are bad at math, this is A LOT of content. I made it through the entire game and have unlocked maybe half of the special and expert levels, and I've barely had a chance to scratch the surface of Plus Mode...and I still can't put it down.

So what do these levels contain, exactly? The gameplay mechanics start out simple enough ? the goal is to get your minis into the door with the star on it. You have a set amount of build power, and at first, all you can do is build red girders between red screws. With a tap of the stylus, you can take them down, adding to your build power so you can build girders elsewhere. You can have anywhere from one to five wind-up mini Marios, so sometimes, it's hard to take something down to build something further down the line if your mini-Mario parade is spaced apart too far. You have to figure out which ones to activate and when, so that this doesn't cause a problem. You can activate them by tapping them separately with the stylus (sometimes necessary in later levels when they're spread all over) or just let them bump into one another to get them going. There's also a timer on the level and, to make things more interesting, once one mini goes through the door, you only have a few seconds to get the next one in before it closes forever and you have to start over again.

Each Attraction has one level that has different kinds of minis that must get to their special door ? Mario, Toad, Donkey Kong, the Princess, and Pauline all get the wind-up mini treatment here. There's also one level on each that has a locked door, and only the Mario with the key can unlock it ? which is tricky, because it means you have to maneuver him to the front of the line of your minis. Once they start walking, they keep going ? so you have to make sure they don't run into any hazards along the way, or that you cover up the hazards and make them a clear path from the start. You have some time to think about what you're doing, take a look at the level, and move buildable items around at first before you start them up on their tiny journey.

In addition to the red girders, later levels include multicolored springboards; purple conveyor belts (that run in whichever direction you draw them); movable warp pipes; magnetized walls; and possibly the cutest, coolest, most clever one of all: tiny, perforated blocks that can be filled in with enemies. So if you want a Shyguy to turn into a block you can walk on, all you do is build a way for him to get to the little perforated block, and he'll ? very sadly ? fall in and oblige you.

The Construction Zone, in which you can make your own levels, can only be accessed fully once you do the ?Level Creation 101? course, which teaches you everything about how to create or edit a level. It teaches you how to lay down ground tiles and figure out where to place red girders. These are the basic building blocks (no pun intended) needed to make levels. Once you're done with the four lessons, you can start building, saving, and sharing your levels online. It's easy, fun, and even in the build menu, it's still adorable. Beating Attractions unlocks more items for you to build with. The Construction Zone also has a Challenge Mode, in which you can create levels to be played and judged as well as play and judge levels made by other players.

But on top of all that, there's even more that's great about this game. I would argue that one of the best things ? maybe not as great as the cuteness, but almost as awesome as the puzzles ? is definitely the music. If you're into the old Mario games as much as I was when I was just a wee lass, then you will adore the music. The tunes borrow heavily from the old music, but each one has a personality of its own, simultaneously bringing something new while reminding you of those good old golden days of gaming.

Bottom Line
There are only two more words I really need to say about Mario vs Donkey Kong: Mini-Land of Mayhem! and they are simple: buy it. If you like puzzle games, Mario games, Donkey Kong games, games you can pick up any time on the go and jump into without missing a beat, adorable games, or even if you just like a good brain-teasing challenge, you will absolutely love it. From the already robust offering of levels to the entertaining Construction Zone, you're definitely getting every penny's worth out of this game. Thank you, Nintendo, for giving me hope again that puzzle games can have a story while still being entertaining and intellectually satisfying.

User Comments

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Goes Gold, Releases New Behind the Scenes Trailer

Call of Duty: WWII Free Trial Weekend Going On Now for PC Gamers

Double Kick Heroes Enters Steam Early Access on April 11

Deep Rock Galactic Arrives in Early Access Form Next Week on Xbox and PC

EA Publisher Sale on Xbox Will Save You A Lot of Money This Week

ONRUSH Trailer Released by Codemasters and Deep Silver for Xbox One and PS4

The Story Goes On Will Arrive on Xbox One Next Month

Burnout Paradise Remastered Rolls On To Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Next Month

Battlefield 1 Apocalypse now Available for Premium Pass Members

Fe Has Now Arrived as the First Game to Launch in the EA Originals Program

Home    •    About Us    •    Contact Us    •    Advertise    •    Jobs    •    Privacy Policy    •    Site Map
Copyright ©1999-2012 Matt Swider. All rights reserved. Site Programming copyright © 2004 Bill Nelepovitz - NeositeCMS