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Mario vs. Donkey Kong Review for Nintendo Switch

It’s been a minute since I got to review a game on the Nintendo Switch, the last one being “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” (you can check that one out HERE), now we have yet another Mario title. You can’t keep this Italian plumber down, being the most iconic video game character, at least for Nintendo. There was always another icon that always was stuck in Mario’s shadow, mainly due to often being portrayed as a rival type character, that is of course, Donkey Kong (who really deserves his own new game). This game being “Mario vs. Donkey Kong” is actually a remake of the 2004 for Gameboy Advance title with the same name.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong Review for Nintendo Switch

As a fan of that original title, I was very curious to see what this one has in store, as a matter of fact it has a lot of the same, which I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a bad thing. The story is very simple, Donkey Kong becomes enamored with these mini-Mario toys and decides to go to the toy factory and steal them all. It’s up to Mario himself to stop Donkey Kong and retrieve all the minis. Toad is also in this game and can be playable in co-op mode to play along with Mario. Being able to go through single-block spaces while doing a handstand, Toad can be a very helpful asset if you chose to play with someone. The general flow of the game consists of six stages where you will have to find a mini-Mario in each, along with a level where you have to escort all six to safety, and then have a boss fight against Donkey Kong. Once you do that, you essentially do it all over again with six new stages, and so on. There are about eight sets of worlds in total, each with their own Mario flare with different themes we have grown to know and love in Mario games.

Moving around during the stages doesn’t feel as fluid as I’m normally used to in a Mario title, seeing as how the levels are a lot more puzzle based, Mario is more constricted in the confines in order to be able to do such puzzles, it took a lot of getting used to, but after a while I got my groove. Escorting the minis can also be rather frustrating, as you do not have full control of them. This in of itself is also a puzzle, but not one I specifically liked all that much. During my playthrough that having lives didn’t seem to matter much. Since you start with three lives and every time you die you start at the beginning of the stage, and when you run out of lives essentially the same thing happens, so it seems unnecessary to even have lives at all here. You can even set the difficulty to casual and whenever you die mid-level you are escorted in a bubble to a checkpoint, so you are not starting the entire stage completely over.

This game doesn’t really re-invent the wheel in any way, but it does a great job of bringing me back to a simpler time by keeping things simple. The modernized graphics and quality of life improvements really stand out in the best ways. Along with the charming little cinematics scattered throughout, made for an overall good time. This isn’t the type of game that lends itself to be binged through all at once, but it feels like the perfect type of game to pick up now and then while you’re on the go with your Switch.


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Related: Nick Navarro Reviews

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Gaming since I was given an original Nintendo as a kid. I love great storytelling and unique ingenuity. When both collide in a single game, I'm a happy gamer. Twitter/IG @NickNavarro87