Review – Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move [3DS eShop]

Posted: June 24, 2013 in 3DS, eShop, Reviews

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After my previous encounters with the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, I looked forward to this instalment. Looking at the screenshots an uneasy feeling crept over me. The whole floating blocks idea seemed off with the feeling of the original gameplay. I put it down to Nintendo wanting to have stuff at an angle so they can show off the 3DS’ three dimensional prowess.

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For Minis on the Move there is no real story this time (Pauline and Donkey Kong have a Mini arcade inside a carnival. Inspiring), which makes a change from the staple of Mario rescuing a damsel, but with no decent reason to keep going there’s little motivation to put much effort into it. Anything would’ve been nice, something to make you feel you were accomplishing something with each mission (Note: I don’t believe every game should have a narrative – Tetris did a lovely job showing that) but perhaps I have been spoilt by the rescue fever in previous titles. As such you find yourself wondering why you should bother making these Minis move from one side of the floating blocks to the other. There are a selection of Minis to control the fate of however the appearance is purely cosmetic, there is no benefit to using one Mini over another.

In Giant Jungle you'll need to move around the terrain using the circle pad.CTRP_MarioAndDK_scrn02_Ev04

Using the touch screen the aim is to guide tiny clockwork robots of various characters from the beginning to end. This is accomplished by manipulating the various tiles on offer to make the journey possible within the time limit. The music is littered with updated versions of classic Mario and Donkey Kong classic tunes and you wish you could take a moment and listen, but due to the miniscule time limit it’s hard to enjoy them.

There are four modes of play; Mario’s Main Event has you quickly placing randomly generated direction tiles to make a path for your mini to waddle its way to the goal. The difficulty to this can vary as the randomly generated pieces can either work in your favour or simply screw you over, much like waiting for that all important long Tetrimino. Giant Jungle is basically the same as Mario’s Main Event but on a much grander scale.

Puzzle Palace gives you all the pieces you need and your mission is to place them in the correct spaces. This mode is naturally easier with the random element taken out and even though later on you may mess things up due to an incorrect placement but you know things will be the same when you try again as opposed to the hit-and-miss randomness of Mario’s Main Event. It’s this consistency that makes the game feel more enjoyable, that niggling feeling that the answer is right in front of you, staring you in the face. You just have to figure it out.

Drag and drop tiles before you send that poor sweet Mini into oblivion.

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Many Mini Mayhem levels involve twisting and sliding platforms to guide multiple minis to the end. Fast paced urgency is the name of the game here as you furiously slide pieces from the route of one mini to the other before they fall off into oblivion. These latter two modes are where the addiction starts. Even as I write this review I’ve found myself returning to the game to have a few more games at the Puzzle Palace and feeling the Many Mini Mayhem. The difficulty increases with added mechanics, such as rotating pieces and springs to keep the game from getting too stale. Completing missions and collecting coins rewards you with stars which can unlock minis to look at and polish in the Toy Collection. Another amazing incentive to get full completion, right?

There are four rather uninspiring mini games, the majority of which involve catapulting a mini Mario using the touch screen. Cube Crash flings Mini Mario at a cube to break it apart using its tough metal exterior. Fly Guy Grab catapults a Mini Mario to latch onto a Fly Guy and furiously reel them in on the touch screen. Mini Target Smash is a standard catapult at a target game. Elevation Station offers the biggest change, a lone Mini Mario stands atop a platform which you turn the crank to raise or lower him to reach coins and avoid Bullet Bills. You can make your own levels and share them with your friends and the world, using all the pitfalls and extras from the get-go, so you don’t have to play up to a certain point to be able to use it.

To summarise the game in one word: disappointing. It’s enjoyable to an extent, but this game could be moulded around any franchise and still be no less unique. Instead we have a clone of the 1989 Amiga game Pipe Mania but given a Mario makeover. Not befitting of the Mario and Donkey Kong name. For under a tenner you may find it worth a go as there is a lot to get your teeth into, but don’t expect much in the variety of the flavours.

Pr0’sCTRP_MarioAndDK
A] Easy to pick up and play
B] Huge number of challenges
C] Ability to create and share your own levels

Cons
A] Average gameplay
B] Unimaginative mini games

Graphics 3/5
Sound 3/5
Gameplay 3/5
Playability 3/5
Lifespan 4/5

Final Score

6/10

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