Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

DS Review

" is easy to fall under the spell of "I'll just do the next one then quit" and you will not be blamed."

In the majority of Mario games, the plumber has taken centre stage. In Mini Land Mayhem! however he takes a back seat and lets his clockwork companions the Minis do the work for him once again.

Fourth in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, Mini Land Mayhem! sees Donkey Kong return to his original habit of kidnapping Mario's friend Pauline who has accompanied Mario as he opens up his new theme park the titular Mini-Land. As an opening day promotion the first hundred people to enter the park get a free Mini Pauline toy. However Donkey Kong, enraged at being 101th in line decides to kidnap the genuine article and races into the theme park. What ensues is a mini mechanical chase through eight theme park themed worlds to rescue Pauline. To do so you must guide your Mini Marios to the exit door to advance through the theme park.

To say the worlds are themed would be slightly misleading, as it is not the worlds which are themed as opposed to the backgrounds. What you interact with stays the same but with more added along the way. From starting off with being able to draw girders between two points is turned into a frantic mission adding warp pipes and spring points to keep your Mini Marios out of danger, for if even one breaks you must start over. Each world finishes with a confrontation with the main monkey himself, deal him enough damage he will grab Pauline and run off to the next area.

The difficulty in the main game is simply too easy, even with slight increases like added enemies and other Minis such as Mini Peach to direct to other doors, the solution is mainly a no-brainer. Along the way you can choose to collect coins and cards which in turn unlock extra special levels and later on expert levels. It is within these extra levels that the games' true potential is realised. After completing the main game a "Plus!" Mode is unlocked. Similar to Ocarina of Time's "Master Quest", it takes the original game and adds further elements such as various Mini's in a tiny level (which at first looked fine when dealing with only Mini Marios) and having a certain order in which they must leave the level. It turns your perspective of the original game on its head and you will find yourself scratching your head over the sudden increase in difficulty. It does however counteract the repetitiveness of the original mode; due to its ease you may know how to solve the level before you have even looked at it. The expert levels and Plus! Mode removes this luxury and actually gets your brain working on new methods to moving your Minis.

The graphics are beautifully colourful and the background music contains many familiar melodies, such as the Super Mario Bros 2. Overworld theme and Peach's Castle which have all been given a polish and will instantly bring a smile to your face.

To test your family and friends a Construction Mode is available to create your own levels, with added pieces unlocked for your use as you come across them in the main game. If you want to challenge others and have them challenge you, you can upload your creations online via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and download levels other players have created.

Mini Land Mayhem! is perfect in short bursts, so if you really want to feel like you are getting your money's worth you may want to limit your play time. However it is easy to fall under the spell of "I'll just do the next one then quit" and you will not be blamed. It is an addictive puzzle game which even the younger gamers can get to grips with, although they may have some trouble with the expert levels.

N-Europe Final Verdict

If you are looking for something cheap, cheerful but downright fun, this is definitely worth a look-in.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability3
  • Visuals3
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Vintage soundtrack
Infinite WiFi lifespan extension
Colourful graphics


Main quest too easy
Slightly repetitive

© Copyright 2024 - Independent Nintendo Coverage Back to the Top