Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again Hands-On

We play through the first of four worlds in this upcoming DSiWare game.

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Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
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The two iconic and most recognizable video game characters have teamed up once again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! With the game coming to DSiWare in just a few days, you'll be able guide the adorable, tiny wind-up Marios to safety. The game was announced during the Nintendo press conference, and we had an opportunity to check it out on the show floor of the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

It looks like there will be more than 30 levels in the game, with additional puzzle packs that will be available weekly after launch. It's unknown at this time how long the service will go on for, but we were told by a Nintendo rep that it will last at least six months. There are four worlds, and each will have eight levels, a bonus stage to unlock, as well as a boss level.

Like the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games before it, your goal is to manipulate the 2D platformer environment so that the mindless Mario drones can make it to the door. It starts off relatively easy, especially if you're just aiming to get them to the finish line. Given that your performance score is tallied at the end, it's beneficial to snag all of the coins and cards to get the gold star. Once you activate the mini-Marios, they'll walk back and forth until they exit the stage or wind up in a pit with spikes. The first world that we played was simple and required us mostly to tap pink blocks and reposition them so that the Marios can reach the goods. We encountered a mechanical Donkey Kong in one stage who would toss your Marios in the air, helping you reach the higher platforms. There wasn't much diversity in the first few stages, other than a ladder, a spring and DK. It all felt very familiar, but considering that this demo ended after the first world, we're wondering if there are going to be any other new additions.

The boss stage was actually quite fun because you're using the stylus to control and fire a cannon with a mini loaded in it. All you need to do to get rid of Donkey Kong is use your stylus to spin the wheel and tap the giant "shoot" button. The wheel is linked to a conveyer belt of sorts that moves the cannon left and right. Donkey Kong hops in and out of three windows in the top screen while hazardous items rain down. He can take only about five hits, so it's not exactly a long and drawn-out battle.

One of the biggest and lasting features of Minis March Again (especially since it's on the DSi) is the level editor, in which you can create and share your own devious creations locally and online. It's very easy to pull up a template and choose what kind of contraptions you want in your level. There is a limit as to how many items you can place on the map, but the possibilities are nearly endless.

We assume that the levels will ramp up in difficulty, but we look forward to playing more of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! The game will be available via the DSi store June 8 at a price of 800 Wii points.

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