Reviewed by Jimmy | 10.31.06
Mario and his army of Mini Mario's are winding up ready to battle his arch nemesis Donkey Kong. In Nintendo's Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis you'll be doing battle from your living room, armed only with a stylus and some quick wit. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 is one of a kind, and a sequel that deserves your attention. Here is our full review on the year's biggest wrestling match, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2.
The original Mario vs. Donkey Kong was released for the Game Boy Advanced, and its one title that slipped by many gamers radar. Developed by the same original team, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 is unleashed on the DS. The concept has been shuffled around, and the gameplay has been tweaked to utilize the Nintendo DS's touch screen. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 is pure puzzling fun, with two of Nintendo's icons at war.
To classify Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 you would have to slap the puzzle genre label on the box. Although, classified as a puzzle game, MvD2 gives us more than static images and boring puzzles to solve. This is an action puzzle game which reminds a lot of the classic Lemmings. Your troop of wind up Mario's is always on the go and it's up to you to direct these Mario Minis successful across each level. Once you wind them up, they are off, and that is when the frantic panicking starts.
Controlling the Minis is as simple as dragging your stylus across the touch screen. Like a lot of other Nintendo DS games you'll be using quick swipes up, down, left or right control the characters as they automate themselves. You can jump on items and active switches around levels, but the most innovative aspect comes in the way of removable blocks. Scattered around the majority of levels are Mario-esq blocks that you can make disappear and reappear. Think of them as a bridge for the Minis to cross. Moving around these blocks in sequences according to your Mini's movement is they key to finding extras and finishing levels. If it sounds hard, don't worry, it really isn't. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 can be enjoyed by any age group and everyone from my six your old cousin to his mother enjoyed playing this one. It's a testament to Nintendo's excellent development skills of mass appeal.
Besides the main puzzle levels Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 also has an element of character management, and some cool boss fights. Fighting Donkey Kong across two screens is pretty entertaining even if the battles themselves are recycled ideas. The difficulty also ramps up the more you play the game, but it never jumps too far ahead or gets wildly out of control. The frustration levels are mild to low, which is good because Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 is marketed for all age groups.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 also features a built in level designer which could possible keep you busy forever. Supported through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection you can trade your maptastic masterpieces over the internet. The steps are simple to connect, to upload and download new maps, and the ones online are really creative. From friends or the big "N", the ability to download new levels adds unlimited replay value to the cartridge and it's really up to you how much you want to get out of Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2.
The audio and visuals in MvDK2 are very polished and retain that slick Nintendo trademark look. The colours are extremely bright and playful, and this follows suit into the games quirky soundtrack. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 has the look and feel you've come to expect out of first party games on the DS. When done right, like in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 the DS can become fairly impressive even if it has fewer horses under the hood then its competitors.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis is a fun loving puzzle game that has taken a few notes from those little green Lemmings. The gameplay all revolves around the touch screen, and the puzzles and boss battles are interesting and well designed. Plus you have the ability to create and download new levels and you have a game that could stick around in your collection until Mario challenges Donkey Kong again. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 is highly recommended for puzzle game fans.
Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 9, Innovation: 7.5, Mojo: 9. Final: 8.5 / 10
Good use of Touch Screen, Create and Share Maps, Good Production
A little frustrating, Not as Original as Expected
In the original Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Mario was trying to find all the Mini Marios ... but this time, it's up to them to save the day. Players use the stylus and the touch screen to guide Mini Marios through mind-boggling, obstacle-filled levels.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2 allows players to create their own maps with a new level editor. Once a map is created, players can send it across the world via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Players also can use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to download maps created by others, check out a player-ranking system and access special bonuses. These unique features are sure to be a smash hit with puzzle fans everywhere.
Pauline returns! Pauline appeared in the original Donkey Kong as the woman that Mario was attempting to rescue, and was one of the first recognizable characters created by Nintendo. After a decades-long hiatus, Pauline is finally returning to the world of video games in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2. Pauline is the object of Donkey Kong's misplaced affections, so players must rescue her all over again.