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Video GameMario vs. Donkey Kong (Series) Review
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Posted: 16 months ago, last updated 6 months ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a series of puzzle games where you guide miniature Nintendo characters to the end of the level. The twist is that you can't control the characters, only the level itself. The exact interactions vary from game to game, but in each you are placing down items to direct the characters to the exit.

You don't control the mini characters directly but use the level design, bridges and pipes to guide them to the exit. Reminiscent of Lemmings or Pipe Mania, you use the buttons or stylus to place down the right piece (bridges, jump pads, direction tiles and the like) to get your minis to the next area. However, you only have a small supply of each of these items, so it's important you only use them when necessary, and pick them up when they're no longer needed to recuperate the resources.

As you progress the levels get harder. There's also things to collect that give you a better score, as well as aiming for a faster time. Because of this it's worth revisiting some levels to perfect them. You can also create your own levels on some of the games.

The different games have introduced new features, such as the ability to use hammers to whack blocks, and in the latest game, you can use different characters to play unique levels. Some of the games also feature a level editor that allows you to create and share your own designs.

There have been seven games in the series thus far:
  • Donkey Kong (1994) Game Boy - Platform game that inspired the series.
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004) Game Boy Advance - Platforming and Lemmings style play
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis! (2006) DS - Lemmings style play
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! (2009) DS - Lemmings style play and level designer
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (2010) DS - Lemmings style play and level designer
  • Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (2013) 3DS - Pipe Mania style play
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (2015) Wii U and 3DS - Lemmings style play and level designer
  • Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge (2016) Wii U and 3DS - Lemmings style play and level designer

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 24/05/2004, updated in 2016

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS and Wii U

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Brain Game, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 20 features

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)




Play Time: This game will take between 1 hour and 2 hours to complete. While the newest game, Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge, is relatively short, some of the earlier games are longer. The penultimate game, for example, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, can take up to 6 hours to beat.

Play StylePlay Style

This is a single-player game.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 3.

Skill Rating

7+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need good planning skills and be prepared to try again in their plans don't work. The simple premise and indirect control make this a good first platform or traversal game for youngsters.


Mario vs. Donkey Kong usually costs £6.29 to £17.99.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2: March Of The Minis

Switch Store Wii U £8.99

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars

Switch Store Wii U £17.99
Switch Store 2DS|3DS £17.99

Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Switch Store Wii U £6.29
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
While the most recent game, Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo challenge, is free, to beat certain levels, you need to have certain amiibo (Mario, Peach etc.) and to beat all levels you need 11 specific amiibo.

While 12 levels can be beaten with any amiibo, you play as Mini Spek, who has no abilities other than the basic jump. 


Our Mario vs. Donkey Kong Accessibility Report documents 20 accessibility features:
This report is based on the most recent addition to the series: Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge. Previous games may differ in the accessibility features they offer.

While individual reactions don't need to be quick, there is a time limit on each level, which starts after your character first moves. Before this, you have a chance to survey the level and make any adjustments; building bridges, placing jump pads etc. To make your character move, you need to tap it with the pen on the screen, and for any further actions, such as jumps, you do the same. This is also how you place down bridges and jump pads.

While the text is high contrast, it isn't all large, making it occasionally hard to read.

As it is played on a 2D plane, it is quite straightforward to discern the location of the end of the level. Some actions, such as sliding down a slope, result in a motion blur trail, which could be disorienting to some players. In the levels, there are pipes you can travel through to get from one area to another, and these are colour coded, so this could present a challenge for colourblind players.

As all the necessary information to play the game is communicated visually or textually, no sound is needed.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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