Mario vs. Donkey Kong Brings a Classic into the Modern Era

Release Date: May 24, 2004

The Review


Mario vs Donkey Kong is a fantastic remake of a classic handheld game that all fans of the franchise should check out. 


Mario vs. Donkey Kong showcases the staying power of the Mario franchise.

Did you know that Mario owns their own meta toy company that makes Mario toys? Seems like a hat on a hat to me but it is also somehow very on brand for Mario. For those who may be unaware, Mario vs Donkey Kong 2024 is a remake of the class Game Boy Advanced game Mario vs Donkey Kong. The Mario franchise has so many titles spanning so many different genres and themes that fans sometimes miss out on some of the great ones.

That may be one of the reasons why Nintendo has been going through the backlog and giving players amazing remakes of games such as Mario RPG and Mario vs Donkey Kong. This entry into the franchise should feel fairly familiar to fans of the Mario franchise. Donkey Kong shows up and Mario’s factory and steals all of their copyrighted action figures. Why does a giant gorilla want plumber themed action figures you may ask? Well, they have some beef that goes back over forty years at this point, so maybe he’s getting payback for all of those barrels.

So, Mario goes on the hunt across eight different worlds in search of his toys. For the most part, this feels like a standard Mario game. We have a standard platformer game showcasing some of our favorite Mario franchise characters. What separates this entry from the more traditional titles is the puzzle aspects of the game.

In Mario vs Donkey Kong, jumping on Goomba heads isn’t enough. To retrieve the prized toy collection players will need to complete puzzles in various areas to unlock the next section of the map. All of this has to be done within a time limit while avoiding the various creatures and traps that are set up throughout the map.

That dastardly Donkey Kong is makin' off with the mini-Mario toys! It's up to Mario to get 'em back!

Mario vs Donkey Kong has taken an interesting approach regarding the difficulty of the game. The Mario franchise has always been known as a family centered game that everyone can enjoy. Because of this Mario vs Donkey Kong has a couple of options to make sure that everyone is having fun.

Casual Mode is intended to make the game playable for younger players or anyone that may be having difficulty in a certain area of the game. While this mode is active areas no longer reset upon death. This allows players to focus on the puzzle aspect of the game without having to worry as much about dying during a run.

On the opposite end of that spectrum is Mario vs Donkey Kong’s Expert levels and time attack mode. Both of these options provide a more challenging experience for people replaying the game or simply trying to live out their dreams of a Mario themed Dark Souls game.

If that is the path you choose, you will be happy to know that the controls and input times on Mario vs Donkey Kong are stellar. For being a platform game, Mario has an impressive amount of versatile movement styles. Players can command pivots, triple jumps, and even handstands in an attempt to clear the various levels. This upgrade from the standard jump, and double jump options keeps the game feeling fresh and inventive.

As always, the sound design in the entry of the Mario franchise is amazing. It sounds overly simplistic but the sound design in a platformer can make or break a game. Since there is typically little to no dialogue in these games, the soundtrack is what drives the player’s emotional attachment to the scene. Mario vs Donkey Kong is aware of this and does a fantastic job.

Mario vs Donkey Kong is a fantastic remake of a classic handheld game that all fans of the franchise should check out. Even players who have spent some time with the classic should be impressed with the quality of life additions and the new polish added to the graphics of the game.

Sci-Fi 3D Team

Covering all things sci-fi, horror, gaming, and tech with an old-school, retro twist. Welcome to Sci-Fi 3D. We were geek…before it was cool!

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