Reviewed: Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move
The Mario vs. Donkey Kong series has changed a lot over the years, and one of the biggest changes in Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move is right in the title. You won’t be fighting Donkey Kong. Instead, you’ll guide mini versions of Mario, Donkey Kong, Peach, Toad, or Pauline through a series of puzzles.
There are four main modes, but the basic gameplay remains the same in each. Your Minis move on their own, and you must lay down paths for them to follow to the door. In Mario’s Main Event, random tiles are dispensed for you to use to create your path. Puzzle Palace gives you a set number of tiles instead, while Many Mini Mayhem fills the board with tiles you must arrange to guide multiple Minis. Finally, Giant Jungle plays like Mario’s Main Event, but on a much larger board.
Each mode is timed. That, together with the limited queue for random tiles and hazards the Minis might run into, makes Minis on the Move a tense, fast-paced puzzle game rather than a slower one.
There are also bonus tokens to collect. If you collect all three in a level, you get a star, and stars unlock new mini-games and toys.
The mini-games feel out of place with the rest of the gameplay, as they all revolve around either using a slingshot to fling Minis at targets or using a crank to raise a platform so the Minis can collect coins. Nevertheless, they’re entertaining enough, if simple. The toys, however, have no use except to admire character figurines and occasionally polish them.
Finally, you can create your own levels with an intuitive level creator, as well as share them and play other people’s.
Each of the four main modes contain different gameplay elements, and challenging new gameplay mechanics such as enemies and warp pipes are introduced in later levels, but the puzzles still can feel repetitive after a while. Minis on the Move is a game best played in short bursts.
Strangely, only one mode allows you to reset the puzzle, meaning that if you make a mistake, you’ll need to wait to fail the level before you can try again. It also isn’t possible to go straight from one level to the next, although this is more an inconvenience than an outright flaw.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move isn’t like its predecessors, and it isn’t the most innovative puzzle game, but with over 180 levels and a level creator, it should give puzzle fans a decent way to pass some time.