Mobile Menu

Mario vs. Donkey Kong Preview

It’s been two decades since Mario vs. Donkey Kong originally released, and the game must have been popular enough for Nintendo to bring it back for the Nintendo Switch! We’ve been given early access to the game thanks to Nintendo of Canada, and while we can’t dive too deep into what we have experienced so far, here are a few things we’ve noted in our early play-through!


Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a beautiful puzzle game where Mario must avoid baddies, collect items, find keys, and unlock doors, all in an effort to save a multitude of stolen Mario toys. Stolen by whom you may ask? Well, Donkey Kong of course! The story is as minimalistic as it was back in 2004, but as it did so long ago, it simply moves the platform puzzle title from stage to stage across dozens of beautifully coloured levels.

For this preview, we had access to the first few worlds of the game, and if you have a solid memory of the original title, you are in for a real treat. The graphics pop and are full of colour, the soundtrack is much improved and fits the game nicely, and there have been a number of quality of life improvements we’ve come to expect from our games in 2024.

It all starts with brand new cutscenes that replace the pixelated stills of the original. These cutscenes are once again Nintendo at their animated best, and are as colourful as they are charming. The game also features two additional world and extra brand new levels not included in the original. This is a really good reason to bring back longtime fans, even if they have a fairly good memory of the original game.

A lot remains constant as well. You are still marching through levels, stomping on Switches, tossing enemies around, and using keys to advance through doors. The core puzzles are still in tact, but they are given a fresh coat of paint and (after replaying my 2004 cartridge) controlling your character is better and more precise as well.

Remember in Super Mario Bros 3. when you had to go into a Toad House and pick a random box for a prize? That use to be how price levels worked in Mario vs. Donkey Kong as well, but those have been replaced with small little levels where you will work against the clock to collect 1-UP Mushrooms and gather the flying key that will reward you with even more free lives! It’s a welcome change from the original that takes the luck out of these experiences.

There are other changes here as well, but ultimately my time spent during this preview session was lots of fun. I have yet to play the included 2-Player mode, so be sure to stay tuned for my review when it goes live closer to release date. For now, however, Nintendo has definitely breathed new life into an old classic. Whether that is enough to appease longtime Nintendo fans will have to be seen.


Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

Follow on:
Twitter: @AdamRoffel