E3 06: Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis Hands-On

Tap the Mario Minis to make them move in the DS sequel to Mario vs. Donkey Kong.

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LOS ANGELES--Mario vs. Donkey Kong was a really sharp game for the Game Boy Advance, and it's no surprise that it's going to get a sequel on the Nintendo DS, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March on the Minis. The sequel is conceptually similar to the previous game, but in practice, it's vastly different on the DS.

The story setup is quite simple, though without any text to accompany it, we're not entirely sure who each character is. All you really need to know is that Donkey Kong gets shunned by a woman who chooses a mini Mario toy over a mini DK. Donkey Kong goes bananas, behaves like a fiend, and kidnaps the woman. Mario sends the minis out to recover her and save the day.

In the game, you don't control Mario anymore. Instead, you use the stylus to move the mini Marios around and manipulate objects in the world, such as elevators and removable blocks. You tap and drag the minis to start them walking, and if you tap and drag up, they'll jump. Your goal is to lead all of the minis into a goal gate. As you'd expect, this starts out really simple and gets totally crazy as you proceed. While the previous game had boss fights, the version on display here didn't appear to have them. We'll have to wait and see how the story progresses and if there end up being larger foes to face.

Visually, the game has a playful look to it, but it's also a very simple one. Most importantly, though, it's easy to see what's happening. Aside from the touch screen, your only other control scrolls the screen around, letting you maintain a good view of the action.

Despite having the word March right in the name, March of the Minis is due out in late September.

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