Mario vs Donkey Kong

Get ready for an exciting showdown as Mario and Donkey Kong clash once again in Mario vs Donkey Kong. Originally released in 2004 on the Game Boy Advanced, Nintendo has brought this beloved puzzle platformer to the Nintendo Switch. With challenging puzzles, colourful visuals, a catchy soundtrack and two new stages, Mario vs Donkey Kong is a charming and engaging experience from start to finish.

Mario vs Donkey Kong Details

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Nintendo
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Genre: Action, Puzzle
Mode(s): Single-player, Multiplayer (2 player local)
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Donkey Kong is up to his old tricks again

Mario vs Donkey Kong kicks off with Donkey Kong’s uncontrollable desire for Mini-Mario toys, which as a huge Mario fan, I can totally relate to. This leads Donkey Kong to go on a wild rampage through the toy factory, snacking up all the Mini-Mario toys insight. As Mario, it’s up to you to chase down the mischievous ape and get back the stolen toys.

It’s a simple yet engaging premise that drives the game’s narrative forward, which creates a sense of urgency and purpose throughout the game. As you make your way through the game’s levels, they unravel the story through charming, beautifully animated cutscenes and interactions with various characters.

The game’s story unfolds organically and never feels like it’s rushed. As a result, Mario vs Donkey Kong offers a mix of humour, excitement, and some heartwarming moments. For me, this really cemented how well the game’s storyline serves as a strong foundation for the gameplay, providing motivation and a sense of progression as you try to overcome obstacles and rescue the Mini-Marios.

Mario vs Donkey Kong

Engaging and addictive gameplay

Mario vs Donkey Kong offers an engaging and addictive gameplay experience that combines platforming action with clever puzzle-solving. The controls are pretty straight forward and the game has a gradual difficulty curve. As you guide Mario through the game’s levels, you’ll encounter unique challenges and obstacles. Levels begin with straightforward platforming as Mario collects scattered presents, while later stages shift focus to finding keys and unlocking doors for progression. The latter part of the game centres around retrieving Mini-Mario toys that Donkey Kong stole from the factory.

Mario comes well equipped with acrobatic abilities, such as jumping, climbing, and flipping, which are crucial to avoiding enemies and making your way through each level. For me, the puzzles in Mario vs Donkey Kong are the true highlight of the game. In a satisfying way you must use your problem-solving skills to overcome obstacles, activate switches, and find creative ways to rescue the Mini-Mario toys. And, what I really like is that the game gradually introduces new mechanics and challenges. You never feel overwhelmed and this keeps you engaged, slowly learning at a manageable rate.

In addition to Mario vs Donkey Kong’s main levels, the game offers bonus stages, boss battles, and collectibles. Trust me, there is plenty of content here for you to explore. These additions add depth and variety and kept me engaged and looking forward to the next challenge. Another feather in Mario vs Donkey Kong’s caps are the game’s controls. They are intuitive and responsive, allowing you to move Mario precisely when needed. Nintendo did a great job in creating an immersive and enjoyable experience for players of all ages and skill levels.

Charming visuals along with a catchy soundtrack

Mario vs Donkey Kong’s graphics have received a significant upgrade over the Game Boy Advance original. On the Nintendo Switch the game now includes colourful and beautifully rendered environments, detailed character models, and smooth animations. Each world in Mario vs Donkey Kong is unique and visually captivating. From the bustling toy factory to the lush jungles and spooky houses, I was amazed by the attention to detail in the game. With intricate backgrounds, clever level designs, and silky smooth character animations, they all come together to add depth and the game a unique personality.

In addition to the game’s visuals, Mario vs Donkey Kong’s soundtrack is catchy, upbeat, and full of charm. It features a mix of classic Mario tunes and new compositions. The sound effects in Mario vs Donkey Kong also add to the overall experience. From the iconic sound of collecting coins to the whimsical noises of the Mini-Mario toys, every sound contributes to your overall immersive experience.

From the charming graphics to the catchy music and immersive sound effects, every aspect of the game’s presentation adds to its overall charm and appeal.

Mario vs Donkey Kong

New features and quality of life improvements

In Mario vs Donkey Kong, Nintendo have added several new quality of life features and additions. The game now has a casual mode with unlimited time to complete each level as well as bubbles that act as additional health. Also, there is now a local multiplayer mode, where the second player controls Toad.

One of my favourite and notable new additions is the ability to control multiple Mini-Mario toys at one time. Not only does this add a level of complexity to the game’s puzzles, which really makes you think and plan out and coordinate the movements of the Mini-Mario toys but it also adds a ton of fun. On the Nintendo Switch, it’s clear to see that Mario vs Donkey Kong has been designed with accessibility in mind.

While Mario vs Donkey has been designed with accessibility in mind, there is plenty here for those looking for a challenge. With bonus stages, expert levels, and time attack mode, Mario vs Donkey Kong provides additional challenges and rewards that will definitely put a smile on your face. This adds a lot of replayability to the game ensuring that there is always something to do and to discover.

Mario vs Donkey Kong

Two new stages that bring a fresh and exciting dimension to the game

The introduction of two new stages, Merry Mini-Land and Slippery Summit, in Mario vs Donkey Kong brings a fresh and exciting dimension to the game. These new stages seamlessly blend into the existing gameplay, offering unique themes and mechanics.

Merry Mini-Land is a whimsical and festive environment. The levels are filled with vibrant colours, cheerful decorations, and lively background music. The puzzles on these stages are cleverly designed, incorporating elements like gift boxes, holiday-themed obstacles, and interactive toys.

In contrast, Slippery Summit takes place in a chilly and treacherous mountain setting. Levels include icy platforms, slippery slopes, and freezing hazards. What makes this my favourite new addition to the game are the new challenges that require careful timing and precision. Whether you navigate through slippery surfaces, avoid sliding off cliffs, or strategically use the ice-related mechanics to progress, Slippery Summit adds a welcomed refreshing twist to the gameplay.

Mario vs Donkey Kong offers memorable and accessible experience on Nintendo Switch that is worth picking up

Mario vs Donkey Kong combines beautiful visuals, a delightful track, and accessible gameplay that creates a truly memorable and accessible experience for players of all ages. The game’s intuitive controls and gradual difficulty curve make it easy for newcomers to jump in and have fun, while still providing enough challenges to satisfy experienced players.

Whether you’re playing alone or with a friend, the game offers hours of fun at a great price point. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the Mario franchise or new to the series, Mario vs Donkey Kong offers an immersive and enjoyable adventure that will keep you coming back for more.

+ Intuitive controls and a gradual difficulty curve makes it easy to pick up and play
+ Variety of creative and challenging puzzles
+ New stages bring fresh and exciting gameplay mechanics to the game

– Those looking for an extreme challenge may find gameplay mechanics to simplistic


Gameplay: 4/5
Graphics: 3.75/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5

Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)

Purchase Mario vs Donkey Kong on Nintendo Switch

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Jon Scarr
Jon is the Gaming Editor and is based in Toronto. He is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. You can often find Jon streaming the latest games on his YouTube channel. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Threads @4ScarrsGaming and @4Scarrsgaming on Instagram.


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