In the realm of platformers and puzzle games, few titles stand out like Mario vs Donkey Kong. As someone who loves high-stakes adventures like Elden Ring and intricate storytelling like Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, I often find simulation games unchallenging. However, Mario vs Donkey Kong, with its blend of classic platforming and strategic puzzles, rekindles the simplicity and challenge of retro gaming from the late ’90s.

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Engaging Gameplay Mechanics

Mario vs Donkey Kong’s gameplay mechanics are a delightful mix of platforming and puzzle-solving. Players control Mario as he navigates various levels to rescue Mini-Marios abducted by Donkey Kong. These levels are intricately designed, requiring both reflexes and intellect to solve puzzles and avoid traps. The responsive controls ensure every jump, climb, and block push feels intuitive. For those who enjoy pushing skill boundaries, these mechanics provide a satisfying challenge without frustration.

Vibrant Visual Style

The visual style pays homage to its predecessors while leveraging modern hardware. The vibrant and detailed sprites, smooth animations, and colorful backgrounds add depth to each level. The graphics strike a perfect balance between retro and contemporary, making it a joy to look at while playing.

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Simple Yet Engaging Storyline

The storyline is simple yet engaging, perfect for this genre. Donkey Kong’s obsession with Mini-Mario toys leads him to steal them, prompting Mario to reclaim the toys. This narrative drives the player from one challenge to the next without overshadowing the core mechanics. While it may not have the depth of games like The Last of Us, it provides motivation and context for the player’s actions.

Iconic and Endearing Characters

The characters are iconic and endearing. Mario’s determination and Donkey Kong’s playful yet antagonistic nature bring a sense of continuity from classic Nintendo games. The Mini-Marios add a cute and charming element, making the player’s mission feel worthwhile. The character development is minimal, but the familiarity and nostalgia count.

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Overall Impression

Mario vs Donkey Kong is a delightful homage to classic platformers, wrapped in a modern package. It blends challenging puzzles with engaging platforming, providing hours of satisfying gameplay. Memorable moments abound, from narrowly completing a complex level to solving a tricky puzzle. The game stands out for its polished mechanics and nostalgic charm.

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  • Engaging platforming and puzzle-solving mechanics
  • Vibrant and detailed visuals
  • Simple yet motivating storyline
  • Iconic characters


  • Minimal character development
  • Storyline lacks depth

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Final Verdict

If you love platformers and puzzle games, Mario vs Donkey Kong is a must-play. Its charming graphics, engaging gameplay, and nostalgic elements make it delightful for veterans and new players alike. However, if you rely heavily on rich narratives, you might find the storyline lacking.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pro Tip: Take your time to study each level and plan your moves carefully. Rushing can lead to unnecessary mistakes, especially in complex puzzles. Use Mario’s abilities wisely and look for hidden shortcuts.

Mario vs Donkey Kong stands as a commendable and enjoyable game, bringing the best elements of retro gaming to the modern era.

Want to check it out yourself? Click here to see it on Nintendo.