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  • Writer's pictureLaMar Bridges

My favorite puzzle-platforming game this year Mario vs. Donkey Kong

In a whimsical clash of pixels and bananas, Mario and Donkey Kong dance their eternal tango—a platforming pas de deux where Mini-Marios pirouette and barrels roll! 

Donkey Kong has taken all of the mini-marios for himself, and it is up to you and Mario to save them all while stopping Donkey Kong in the process.

The World of Mario vs. Donkey Kong Puzzle Platform

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a fantastic Nintendo Switch remake game for old and new fans. I never got to play this version of the game on the GBA. In fact, I never heard of the game as a kid. The only Mario games I played then were Mario Party and the all-time classic Mario 64.

I still had my Nintendo 64 at this time of my life. So when I saw that Nintendo was releasing the game on the Nintendo Switch, I jumped the gun and bought the game, which I am glad I did.

The game effectively teaches the controls and provides a challenging experience with 129 puzzles across 8 worlds.

There are a few options in the game for how you want to enjoy your journey; players can choose to play the classical way, meaning you have a time limit, and one attack kills you. With the time limit, players get a full minute and twenty seconds to complete the two-part stage.

The faster you move to complete the first half, the more time you add to the second half of the stage. The first stage is always the stage to find the key; once you find the key and collect the prize boxes, the second part is to rescue one of the mini-Marios.

You collect six mini-Marios in each world leading up to the battle between Mario and Donkey Kong; once you beat him, you get to advance to the next world. Thus continuing the battle over in a new world.

The graphics, combat, and great music

The game is on the kid-friendly puzzler side but is excellent once in the first two to three worlds, depending on your skill level. As you advance to different worlds, the puzzles will get more complex. Once I got to the fourth world, I noticed myself getting fewer perfect completions.

Each world has six stages with very little combat in them.

One stage has the most combat: your fight against DK. DK fight is the last stage that leads up to a tiny mixture of the puzzles you advanced from to get to his stage.

His fights are manageable and can feel a bit dated. You have to avoid whatever object he throws at you while trying to hit him with whatever object is around for you to pick up. As I said, the first two worlds are the easiest, but the challenge amps upward the further you go into the game.

The leveling design is fun, to say the least. Not every world is a worthwhile view to see or playthrough. Like the Boss fights in this game, sometimes the stage can be easy to finish, and the puzzles become a race against time.

For example, when Mario grabs the key and throws it, a small clock will count down. The countdown means this time has to pass before the key disappears and transports back to its original position.

But if Mario grabs the key, the timer disappears, and it resets if Mario throws it again. I noticed as I played in the later maps or worlds that the puzzle design was not against the obstacles of each level; instead, the puzzle was against the time itself. Which changes the strategy a bit in worlds 4 through 8.

The game graphics are stunning on the Nintendo Switch; the colors are bright and vibrant, while the textures are as smooth as possible. It was not bad for a Nintendo Switch remake. Originally, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was a part of the Game Boy Advance era, and even then, the game looked amazing. A decade later, Nintendo revamps the game.

As I switched between dock and handheld mode, the graphics looked good on your television. That is where the graphics look its best, but the switch still holds its own in the graphics department. Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a beautiful game.

My overall review of the game

The puzzle-platforming game Mario vs. Donkey Kong is one of my favorites due to its smooth jazz and dramatic Donkey Kong expressions. I give it a solid 9 out of 10.


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