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Mario vs. Donkey Kong a Welcome Remake in 2024

Mario vs. Donkey Kong a Welcome Remake in 2024

Release: February 17, 2024
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Articles, Switch Reviews


Great About Rating
8.5 - Gameplay
8.5 - Video
8.5 - Audio

There are two kinds of people when it comes to Nintendo’s decisions to remake old games and charge (sometimes) a premium for those experiences. There are those who love it, as they get to relive old memories with brand new graphics on current hardware; and there are those who hate it, seeing this as a lazy cash grab from Nintendo, playing on the nostalgia of longtime Nintendo fans. I tend to flip-flop between the two, although often like these remakes more than I detest them. Mario vs. Donkey Kong isn’t the first game that comes to mind when I think of Nintendo remakes that should happen, but I do have fond memories of the original title. Would a remake hold up? Let’s take a dive into Mario vs. Donkey Kong and see if this deserves to be elevated next to Super Mario RPG and the upcoming Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, or thrown straight in the trash!


In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, players will control Mario and manuever through a variety of puzzles in order to find the end of the level and continue their pursuit of Donkey Kong, who has stolen all the Mario Toys from the factory. Players will collect presents within each level to earn a gold star. This has changed from the original where players were tasked with getting a specific score to get the gold star for the level. Each level will earn Mario one more mechanical toy, and each world will cleverly use those in a different style of puzzle prior to moving on. The game introduces new concepts and ideas a a nice pace, which means players will have time to master one set of mechanics prior to being introduced to a new set of mechanics.

As remakes go, Mario vs. Donkey Kong appears on the surface to be as close to a shot-for-shot remake of the original with update graphics. Sure, the fully animated cutscenes in this new release are really nice, but as you manuever the first world you might find yourself in familiar territory. And if you are a longtime fan of the series, or have at least played the original, that is exactly how I felt. Is this it? Is this what I could be paying good money for?

Mario vs. Donkey Kong | Nintendo Switch games | Games | Nintendo

The puzzles in Mario vs. Donkey Kong all those years ago were really good, and even today, they hold up well. And while I had some initial disappointment as I made my way through the early (and very, very easy) levels of the game, that disappointment wore off the deeper I got into the experience. Are those new worlds and levels? Well this is exciting. And while I fully expected that excitement to be temporary the second I was dropped back into familiar places I’d been before, for some reason it didn’t. Perhaps I didn’t remember the ins and outs of the game as good as I thought I did? Or perhaps the thought of more new content deeper into the game got me invigorated. Whatever it was, I was fully invested in Mario vs. Donkey Kong after experiencing brand new levels for the first time, and I’m here to say this is a fantastic titles that deserves your attention.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong -

Before I go further, I do want to point out one thing that many people asked when I published my preview. Yes, I would definitely have preferred if Nintendo opted for a brand new Mario vs. Donkey Kong experience as opposed to porting over an old game. And this is not a universal thought about all Nintendo remakes either, as I would much more prefer the remake of Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door over a new entry in the series. But I do believe it’s unfair to criticize a remake simply because we may prefer a brand new entry. So I won’t go down that road here, although perhaps in a future article we can discuss it.

There are changes here that make it worthwhile for another deep dive if you are familiar with the original. There are brand new levels to explore, brining the games count to 130 total. There is also local cooperative play which has one person controlling Mario and another Toad. There is also a casual mode included which made playing the game much more accessible for my 9 year old son Lochlan. While Mario vs. Donkey Kong isn’t a particularly difficult experience, there are areas near the end of the game that might become a bit of a challenge. Nintendo has been championing accessibility in their titles over the past few years, and I’m glad to see that continue.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong™ for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Official Site

Ultimately, Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a gorgeous game full of interesting and intricate puzzles. The variety of game modes allows for veteran players to challenge themselves while also making the game accessible for casual and younger players. Each world is brilliantly designed and while some challenges and puzzles might prove easy, many more will make players stop and think about how to traverse the world. While I will admit I’d prefer to see a brand new entry into the series, this remake does a great job of not only flooding me with positive memories of my time playing the original, but also makes me hopeful and excited for the future of this franchise.

This is an easy recommendation from us, and a game we think most Nintendo Switch fans will enjoy!

A copy of Mario vs. Donkey Kong was provided by Nintendo of Canada for this review.



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.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel