Mario Vs Donkey Kong

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Mario Vs Donkey Kong (Nintendo Switch) – Review

Our favorite furry ape and the red overall-wearing plumber are back. Nintendo has brought back a classic rivalry with this newly updated 2024 version of ‘Mario Vs Donkey Kong’.

When the game opens, we find our famous but ever-lovable ‘Donkey Kong’ relaxing at home channel surfing. When he sees an ad for a newly released ‘Mini Mario’ toy he rushes to the closest toy store. Finding they have all been sold out, a plan rolls into motion with his eyes on the factory that makes the Mini Mario toys. With a plan to steal as many as his little gorilla mits can handle, out titular ‘Mario’ gives chase to recover the stolen toys.

This is technically a remake of the 2004 Game Boy Advanced version with all new updated graphics, new features, and modes. So what is new you might ask? The graphics are the first update that many will notice and the soundtrack has been reorchestrated for a fresher audio presence. The addition of a two-player local coop has been added too; player two will take the role of community favourite ‘Toad’. Two brand new worlds have been added to the storyline as well, with new game mechanics. Two modes; Casual and Classic provide new styles of approaching the story and will impact how the puzzles perform as you play, casual making them slightly easier and less time-restricting.

Another change for a bonus round is they have done away with the ‘Wheel of Luck’ for extra lives. Instead, now, you must chase a flying key around a special level in each world that puts your platforming prowess to the test to snare the elusive key, before the time runs out. It’s much more fun and engaging than just jumping to hit and block and waiting.

The gameplay at its core remains the way that makes Mario titles so great. Still being a side scroller, platforming and climbing your way around the levels to either get a key and unlock a door or collect a Mini Mario to clear the level.

There are many short levels to test your skill on across the worlds, which all end with a face-off boss battle against Donkey Kong, himself. The encounter will be focused on skills you have learnt in the levels leading up to him such as automated platforms changing directions, sliding on ice and colour boxes being spawned in and out of the world to climb.

You will need to land four hits on Donkey Kong to win the battle before he runs off again much like classic Mario boss fights with ‘Bowser’. The toy rescue missions made me think back to the old game of ‘Lemmings’ where you have to guide the Mini Mario’s through a level while collecting the letters to spell out “toy” and safely have them reach the toy box. I did enjoy the concept of this but it did remind me why I was so bad at Lemmings in my youth in the first place.

The difficulty will come down to which style you prefer to play. Personally, I went with classic to have the timer on and make me think on the spot to clear the puzzles ahead, some of which looked very complex but turned out to be easier than I had envisioned.

The puzzles and timing for specific solutions will keep all players new and old to the series busy, and with the addition of two players co-op, you can tackle these puzzles with a friend or family.

Visually, Mario Vs Donkey Kong holds up proudly in the franchise. The Mario series has always had a clean cartoon look to them, whether it is a side scroller or an open-world style game like ‘Odyssey’. The visuals are always done well from the bold colour palettes used in the environment and the strong outlines of characters on the screen to the details of outfits and enemies.

You can’t be disappointed with sticking with the formula that works well for the series that just never gets old. The soundtrack being revamped again, like the visuals, fits perfectly and is exactly what you expect to hear from a Mario title. While playing you will be bopping your head along to the melody of the songs for sure.

In conclusion, Mario Vs Donkey Kong for the Nintendo Switch is a fun and great title for younger and older fans of the series. I didn’t play the 2004 version so this was a whole new experience for me but being able to play it with the newest upgrades visually and audio-wise, plus having extra content to explore made it such a hard game to put down. As much as I love Mario, it was great seeing Donkey Kong having a big feature again and I hope we get a new Donkey Kong series down the line. I loved every second of my time with this game.

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The Good

  • Fun gameplay
  • New levels and modes
  • Great for all ages
  • Difficulty adjusting to experience
  • Classic Mario visuals and music

The Bad

  • The toy recovery missions were a bit annoying
  • Levels were short

Written by: Shane Walsh


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