Meta-Review: Mario vs Donkey Kong – GBA

 I must admit, I was a tad skeptical about this title when it was first announced, but I heard good things about it, played the demo, and then played the full game. Now I have to say this is actually a very well-crafted effort by Nintendo and will be welcomed addition to any retro-gamer’s portable collection. Don’t expect a run-of-the-mill Mario game with this one — it has a strong platformer taste (both from its Mario & DK roots), but it relies on puzzle solving for its main gameplay.

As I eluded to before, it seems to be well polished as the presentation is top-notch Nintendo quality and the controls and graphics are pretty solid for a GBA game. I haven’t played it for hours on end quite yet, but I have no real complaints so far.

Until I have more time for a full review, I’ll share some existing review tidbits:

” The stages themselves are meticulously designed, and have a real Nintendo feel about them, which means devious, devilish layouts and traps that cause you to curse and persevere in equal amounts. Even the smallest of stages can be packed full of things to do, in order to thwart your chances at busting the high score. Indeed, it is these that are often the hardest to solve. You have to admire the sheer genius of the designers for producing quality content that isn’t so frustrating that you give up in despair, and instead encourages replaying and tinkering with the solution.”

 ” Much of the charm of the original Donkey Kong was in experiencing how Nintendo’s game designers took the original arcade concept and built upon it for a contemporary game design, all without straying from the look or feel of the classic game.”

“At first glance, Mario vs. Donkey Kong seems like an incredibly short game. The game’s first four worlds are really, really easy–the puzzles practically solve themselves. Around the fifth world, things start to pick up a bit, and the game gets more challenging. On top of that, the game’s listing of only six worlds is deceiving. Beating the six main worlds unlocks six new worlds with six levels each. You can also unlock expert levels, which are even more challenging. So the game has a good amount of stuff to it and should keep players busy for a while.”

“Mario vs. Donkey Kong’s graphics and music are adequate. The visuals are sharp and clear, but with somewhat small levels there isn’t much in the way of parallax scrolling or special effects. Mario and the enemies are animated very well and have a rendered look to them, which is what really separates this game from the Donkey Kong released on the original Game Boy.”
Gaming Age

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