Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 18.02.2024

Review for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's current trend of remastering and remaking classic titles continues with the Game Boy Advance vault having been rummaged for a beloved 2004 puzzle game featuring two company mascots. Mario vs. Donkey Kong, a successor to the original Game Boy's 1994 puzzle platformer Donkey Kong, has been given more than a fresh lick of paint, with entirely updated graphics and additional levels delivering an enticing product for Nintendo Switch owners looking for something to test their problem-solving skills.

It isn't clear at what stage Mario's ego got so out of hand that he decided to create toys of himself, but with his own Toad-employed factory dedicated to pumping them out, there is clearly mass appeal across the kingdom. Even Mario's gorilla rival Donkey Kong has become obsessed and kicks off the premise for Mario vs. Donkey Kong after raiding the Mario Toy Company building and nicking the latest Mini-Mario figures. Mario gives chase, reigniting their feud.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a relatively simple puzzle platformer that sees players control Mario in a traditional side-scrolling manner, moving him left and right with the direction buttons and jumping on top of platforms and enemies, while also picking items up to use elsewhere in the stage. The goal is to find a key and bring it to the locked door, completing the level and moving onto the next. The challenge comes in the form of the obstacles Mario must bypass, and in figuring out not just how to reach the key, but how to transport it to the door within the time limit.

Admittedly, most of these puzzles aren't particularly complex, and although some may require a degree of thinking on occasion, the difficulty doesn't so much come from the problem-solving tasks at hand, but more from the collision detection issues that are frequent. Even when taking extra care not to give the game the opportunity to be overly harsh with its hitboxes, still there are surprises when an enemy catches Mario when you would expect him to jump on or over it. This is usually where the frustration lies as opposed to being overwhelmed by Mario vs. Donkey Kong's trials.

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Nintendo Switch

Despite the seeming lack of a test for the bulk of the game, things change for the better once the main levels are completed and the credits roll, for that is where tougher and expert stages open up, along with a time trial mode to see how quickly each puzzle can be beaten. These extra challenges put a few new spins on the levels played earlier and are absolutely welcome for those that breeze the initial half of content.

Younger audiences and anyone that does struggle with certain sections need not worry, though, as a casual mode option exists whereby the time limit is removed, and Mario is given multiple chances to complete a stage before he will lose a life. There is also a two-player co-operative mode that can be activated at any time in the menu to tackle stages together, with some slight alterations utilised that account for the additional user.

It can take a little getting used to controlling Mario, especially if already familiar with the portly plumber's traditional platformer titles, where he has a quick and flexible moveset at his disposal. In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Mario moves much slower than players may be accustomed to, which can throw you off initially, but works for the more methodical and precise type of game this is. It is probably why the collision detection feels overly strict, too, as other Mario games would allow him to bounce on a foe's head instead of the one-hit KO that is experienced here. Mario fans new to this format just need to be a little wary.

Screenshot for Mario vs. Donkey Kong on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The asking price does feel disproportionate to what is on offer in Mario vs. Donkey Kong, even despite the host of additional levels that bring it past 130 in total, and its wonderful new presentation and cutscenes. Alongside 1994's Donkey Kong, though, this is the superior gameplay format for this series, which adopted more of a Lemmings approach in subsequent games, so interested folk should seek this one out at a more affordable price in the future.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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