Mario vs. Donkey Kong Game Boy Advance

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
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  1. Nov 15, 2016
    5
    This is the worst game of the "Mario vs. Donkey Kong" series (including the Japanese only Super Famicom game Mario & Wario). I played it first and found it more than a little frustrating, so I thought I wouldn't enjoy the rest of the series. It took me a couple of years to realize that the first entry in the series is not only the worst of them all, it is also quite different (in terms ofThis is the worst game of the "Mario vs. Donkey Kong" series (including the Japanese only Super Famicom game Mario & Wario). I played it first and found it more than a little frustrating, so I thought I wouldn't enjoy the rest of the series. It took me a couple of years to realize that the first entry in the series is not only the worst of them all, it is also quite different (in terms of genre / gameplay) from the other games.

    I will not bother to complete this 100%, and I'll explain why...

    First of all, the puzzles aren't really puzzles.
    The ghost house levels in Super Mario games qualify more as puzzles.
    Very little thinking is involved, here, especially if you've played other games in the series.

    If you want to earn the gold star, in any given level, there is (typically) only one way to do it. You have to follow a very linear path, through each level. And, each level is split into two halves. So, to get the gold star, you have to finish the first half perfectly and then complete the second half perfectly. If you stuff up the second half, you have to kill off your remaining lives (or quit the level) and start the whole thing again. This, for me, is the biggest flaw in the game design. Maybe if the levels were really fun, I wouldn't mind doing the same thing over and over again. But, they aren't.

    One level, in particular, that frustrated me, involved crouching on the edge of robots at precise positions so that (when one robot bumps into another) you swap positions and progress through the level. There is literally half a millimeter difference between success and failure. You have to do this twice, in this particular level, to get to the end. And, it is the second half of a level. So, if you're trying to get the gold star, and you happen to be positioned ever so slightly incorrectly on either robot, it's back to the beginning of the first half. This is one of about half a dozen levels I gave up on. If I persisted, I'm sure I could get all the stars, but life is too short and I have better things to do.

    As I said, this isn't a puzzle game. It is, predominantly, a platform game and it's not a very good one. In fact, it is (in my opinion, anyway) the worst Mario platform game ever made.

    The rest of the series is sort of like Lemmings, in the Mario universe.
    You're required to edit the level, in real time, as Mini-Mario toys walk blindly through it.
    Whereas, in the first Mario vs. Donkey Kong, you control Mario instead of manipulating the environment.
    It is a half-way between Donkey Kong (on GameBoy) and a typical Mario vs. Donkey Kong game.
    But, again, Donkey Kong is a much better game.

    The linearity of the game bothers me more than anything else, I think. When trying to earn gold stars, there is a couple of seconds difference between success and failure. This leaves practically no room for developing a personal style of gameplay. In order to succeed, you have to complete a very specific series of events.

    Instead of thinking, it requires you to obey. It reminds me of playing "Guess what number I'm thinking of." You either provide the precise answer you're expected to provide, or you fail. There is no room for individuality, here; there is no freedom of expression.

    The game, itself, isn't bad. But, trying to get all the gold stars is beyond tedious.
    And, like most games in the M vs. DK series, many of the boss levels are sloppy and dated.
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  2. Apr 14, 2016
    8
    Mario vs. Donkey Kong is one of those fanservices that actually works. It's not because it's just a video game and I'm claiming video game battles to be better than movie battles, it's that Nintendo created it just the way the movies are supposed to do them.
  3. Feb 26, 2016
    7
    Este Juego es uno de los que mas recuerdo en la GBA, un juego que sin duda no es 100% bueno ya por ser lento, pero tiene buenos puzzles que te pueden dejar un buen tiempo jugando.
  4. Aug 29, 2014
    7
    Was expecting to love it but ultimately struggled to get into it.

    This is not a bad game by any means and it shares some of the great fun of the original Donkey Kong on the Game Boy, I just didn’t like many of the ideas that were added. The levels where you had to get all the minis to the end were cool but I felt the ones where you actually collected the minis weren’t particularly
    Was expecting to love it but ultimately struggled to get into it.

    This is not a bad game by any means and it shares some of the great fun of the original Donkey Kong on the Game Boy, I just didn’t like many of the ideas that were added. The levels where you had to get all the minis to the end were cool but I felt the ones where you actually collected the minis weren’t particularly exciting and never very challenging. The puzzle element was often removed and replaced with platforming. I loved the original for its puzzles and having to look at the whole map to figure out how to get the key to the door. The levels where this was still the goal in this game were generally good fun although I felt that the puzzles weren’t as inventive as in the original and the worlds certainly not as individual. This is strange as you’d have thought with the additional firepower of the GBA they could have made the worlds a little more distinctive but ultimately the levels and soundtrack are nowhere near as memorable and most worlds just feel like more of the same.

    I came away feeling slightly disappointed, though it must be re-iterated that this is in no way a bad game, the visuals look good, it controls pretty well, and the level design is good. However it’s missing that Nintendo magic that takes things to the next level and makes a game a really memorable experience. Things just feel a little stale.

    I’m interested to play the ‘March of The Minis Series’ to see how that competes with this effort.
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  5. Jan 18, 2013
    10
    GBA at its pefection. Funny, cute, long and challenging and graphics were pleasing. The puzzels were obviously made by a genuis and as frustating it was and you'll feel like a genius after playing too! Since all the puzzels where mind squeezing and coporative., it never got boring. The cutscenes where classy too! It'll take you a while to get bored of Mario cute lil quotations.
  6. Nov 9, 2011
    6
    The puzzles are not very addicting but they amuse for a little while. The game has a lack of content which makes it feel empty. The other games in the series are better.
  7. JonH.
    Sep 11, 2004
    10
    A fun silly solid mario game, the best mario game in a long time.
  8. Trix
    Jun 12, 2004
    9
    I thought the game was too easy until I got stuck. How DO you get past that level? The game has a lot of flash, good sound effects, decent eye candy and humor. Some kids playing it were actaully laughing out loud. It's the feel good Mario game of the moment. I wish it included all the original Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr levels, but this is all about the puzzles. I liked DK94 better I thought the game was too easy until I got stuck. How DO you get past that level? The game has a lot of flash, good sound effects, decent eye candy and humor. Some kids playing it were actaully laughing out loud. It's the feel good Mario game of the moment. I wish it included all the original Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr levels, but this is all about the puzzles. I liked DK94 better at first, but this one just looks better (though plays very much the same). It's like comparing an old VW Beetle to a New Beetle. The old one has authentic charm, but you'd rather drive the new one because it has all the bells and whistles. Expand

Awards & Rankings

#21 Most Discussed Game Boy Advance Game of 2004
#3 Most Shared Game Boy Advance Game of 2004
Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 43 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 43
  2. Negative: 0 out of 43
  1. 80
    Oh-so-close to being the perfect handheld game. Its rich, entertaining gameplay can be enjoyed in nuggets, and simply put, it’s beautifully designed.
  2. It's not necessarily innovative, but it is fun and particularly suited to people who have only short burst of time to play on the GBA.
  3. 70
    Visually, this is a good example of what the GBA can do, with clean lines and solid character animation. There's a bit of slowdown on crowded screens, but the controls are tight and generally the game moves smoothly.