Mario vs. Donkey Kong | In good shape, the gorilla

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a charming remake of the 2D scenes of yesteryear, where the challenge isn’t traversing armies of colorful enemies but solving puzzles. Slightly redundant, but wildly fun.

Available for Nintendo Switch starting February 16, Mario vs. Donkey Kong is not entirely a new idea. The first version, released in 2004 for Game Boy, was then entitled to two sequels on Nintendo DS. They all took up the initial idea of ​​the game Donkey Kong released in 1994, itself coming from Donkey Kong arcades from 1981. And we still have an old Game & Watch portable console in a drawer Donkey Kong purchased in Switzerland in 1984. In short, we are in video game archeology here, with this big gorilla trying to prevent Mario from reaching his goal by throwing barrels at him.

Find the way

Here we are in 2024 with brand new and much more refined ideas. The starting point of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, it’s Mario’s quest to find all the mini Mario toys that the gorilla maliciously stole from the factory. But don’t rush to jump on the heads of mushrooms and turtles like in the old days: here you have to think and solve puzzles to get through more than 130 paintings.


These tables, divided into eight worlds like Mario & Co Toys, the Donkey Kong Jungle, the Mystery Forest or the Fire Mountain, are as cute as anything. They come in the form of footbridges, rocks, ladders to climb. You often have to pick up a key and manage to unlock an inaccessible door. Sometimes you have to reach a mini Mario stuck in a pile of blocks. Essentially, you jump on switches of a certain color, blue, red or yellow, to make blocks of that color appear or disappear. You have to strategize and die a few times to use the right passage without an electric current or a burst of fire hitting you, climb on a vine while snakes run after you or jump on giant springs while avoiding birds who patrol.

Tutorials as gifts

Mario has some special techniques, for example standing on his hands to avoid being hurt by objects falling from the sky, and jumping higher after two acrobatics.


In the first tables we are treated to a very rare gift, tutorials in the form of cubes decorated with a question mark which explain to us how to use these techniques.

In some scenes, things are complicated by escorting a herd of mini Marios to their toy box. These little cuties will scream “Come Back!” » if you move too far away and can, while following you at a lower level, trigger certain switches themselves or collect the gifts. Because the success of a painting relies, in addition to achieving the ultimate objective, on collecting gifts of different colors.

We have the choice from the outset between Classic mode and Relaxed mode, where Mario returns to a point marked by a flag if he dies and where there is no time limit. It is this mode that we mainly experimented with. It is also possible to play with two players in local mode. The tables are then slightly modified to provide a better challenge.

The solutions to these childish little tables are sometimes far from simple, even in Relaxed mode. If the path sometimes seems obvious, ghosts, birds, carnivorous plants, cannonballs, molten lava or laser beams, among others, are there to complicate your life.

Aging well

And each world ends with a confrontation with the big boss, Donkey Kong, who must be knocked out with a trash can, barrel or fruit.


All of this is rather entertaining, not to be taken too seriously, and can be enjoyed quietly. Don’t be too greedy by wanting to devour your 130 paintings too quickly, they are still a little repetitive despite the wild imagination of the designers.

But all in all, he looks great for his 43 years, this Donkey Kong.


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