Nintendo Australia Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis

Hours of lavish entertainment

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Nintendo Australia Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
  • Nintendo Australia Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
  • Nintendo Australia Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
  • Nintendo Australia Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Construction Zone, can share customs levels, puzzles, fun!

Cons

  • Construction Zone has a steep learning curve

Bottom Line

Well paced, new puzzle elements keep the game fresh and hip until the end.

Would you buy this?

If you like Lemmings, you'll love Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis for the Nintendo DS. From the simple gameplay to the cute fa?ade, March of the Minis will provide you will hours of lavish entertainment.

It was just another beautiful day in the Mushroom Kingdom as people gathered around to witness the grand opening of Super Mini Mario World, a theme park based on the popular mini toys of Mario, Donkey Kong, Toad, and Peach. But the fun has been spoiled by the jealous Donkey Kong. Rejected by the gorgeous Pauline, DK steals the innocent damsel and heads for the elevator. Unable to stop the menacing force, Mario sends the minis in pursuit of DK to save the sweet Pauline. You are the puppet master and the minis are at your command.

There are nine worlds in total in March of the Minis, each with a subset of nine levels, a bonus mini game, and one DK boss fight. The game starts out slow, providing helpful tutorials and simple solutions to puzzles, but picks up speed quickly as multiple mini Marios and pesky enemies are added to the levels. To complete a level, at least one mini must make his way through the gateway; however, more points are awarded for guiding all minis to safety. At the end of each level you'll be awarded a bronze, silver, or gold medal depending on time, minis saved, coins collected, and whether or not you did it without stopping. Obtaining gold medals for each level will prove to be a must difficult challenge indeed.

Point, Click, Command

A step up from the original Mario vs. Donkey Kong on the Game Boy Advance, March of the Minis offers a different style of control using the Nintendo DS touch screen. It's more like a simplified version of Lemmings. Sliding the stylus across the screen will set the minis in motion. They will walk, jump, or hold position at your command. Intuitive as the controls are, grouped mini Marios are difficult to manage as they bump into each other and start walking in the opposite direction. You'll need to be very attentive to keep all the minis alive and well.

The puzzle elements per level add to the immersion as you'll spend quite a bit of time figuring out which strategy is best to safely escort each mini to the finish line. Your minis have to work as a team if you plan on earning all the gold medals. Gates need to be lowered or raised by jumping on the colour-correlated button, and to cross chasms there are pink blocks to pick up and replace at will. They also serve to be excellent blockades against fire-spitting flowers. Enemies are the biggest problem area in the game as you'll spend most of your time focused on your minis and pow! "Where'd he come from?" Jumping on springs will launch you over baddies or use the helpful powerups provided. All the classics such as fire power and the smash-happy hammer return to help the minis succumb insurmountable obstacles.

Building Blocks of Fun

The fun doesn't stop in the story mode. The Construction Zone is a playground of customisable levels. Build your own map from the ground up or use a template unlocked from main game. A bit overwhelming at first, the Construction Zone has a steep learning curve as there is a lot to process. But after an hour of fiddling around, you'll find the interface to be straight forward and easy to navigate. Once you've completed your level, play test it and share it with friends. That's right! Wi-Fi allows you to swap custom-created levels with friends and family.

As a sequel, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis surpasses the original by leaps and bounds backed by the capabilities of the Nintendo DS, however the new control scheme does take some getting used to. Although, graphically it's no New Super Mario Bros., this 2D platformer makes full use of the dual screens; in-game and during the cut scenes. For audio enthusiast, March of the Minis is filled with cute little touches, such as Mario calling you names if you put the DS in suspend, that make the game shine.

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