Mario vs. Donkey Kong

a game by Nintendo

Platform: GBA

Genre: Action

See also: Mario games

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a wonderful game that blends the best of a decade's worth of Nintendo Mario and Donkey Kong titles to create something much better than the sum of its part.

The game is a nice blend of puzzle and platform, leaning heavily on the Nintendo cannon of games. The plot is pretty basic: Donkey Kong has stolen a bunch of diminutive Mario dolls and it's up to Mario to save them. The game is broken into six worlds each with eight levels. Once you beat them you can access six more worlds and a higher difficulty setting.

Four of the six maps are played pretty much the same way; you have to navigate through a screen of dangers to get a giant key to a lock. Once through the lock you have to rescue a mini-Mario. After you make your way through the first six levels you have to guide a line of mini-Marios to a box. The eighth level has you battling Donkey Kong - which typically means running around avoiding the stuff he throws at you while frantically pitching things at him.

Mario has a bunch of moves to get you through the levels. He can run and jump like in the original Donkey Kong, climb from vine to vine and drop fruit like in Donkey Kong Jr. and pick-up things and throw them like in Super Mario Bros. 2. He also has a few new moves, like the ability to walk on his hands to avoid damage from above, the ability to do flipping hand stands for super jumps and the ability to twirl around tension lines to flip high up into the air. Mario will also spend some time flipping toggles to turn on and off platforms.

The levels are basically puzzle laden platforms, where your success is dependent on the ability to use the right Mario abilities and flip the right toggles to get where you need to go without dying. It's this blending of past Mario and Donkey Kong games that make this game so memorable and so much fun to play.

The graphics are pretty sharp and music leans heavily on some of the past titles, completing that fun nostalgia feel. All said this game offers up 12 worlds and unlockable difficulty settings - providing plenty of fun in a tiny package. This game is a definite buy if you're a fan of puzzlers, platformers or Nintendo.

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