Returning to it’s Roots, Yet Creatively Social
By Corey Dirrig
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, the lastest entry in the long running series, returns to it’s roots, ditching the 3D perspective and giving players the much loved 2D focus. The premise of the game is simple: manipulate the environment and guide miniature toy versions of your favorite Nintendo characters to the right exit, using the touchscreen on the Wii U Gamepad or 3DS. Players will need to redirect enemies, cover traps, build bridges and more in order to lead the toys around the stages.
The single player experience is pretty solid. Guiding the minis to the goal in the 48-level campaign is pretty entertaining and there is a lot of fun to be explored in planning multiple moves. The game is very Nintendo, as it starts with a simple concept and creatively complicates it, making the game increasingly harder. Eventually, I found myself not only encountering a harder difficulty, but also testing my speed, reaction, and foresight. I found myself playing through each level a second time trying to get the giant M coin to complete each stage. There are challenge stages are unlocked through natural progression and by the amount of coins collected throughout the main campaign.
| Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars Trailer |
The main draw of the game, and what differentiates it from previous entries in the series, is the level creation kit, called the Workshop, and how Nintendo cleverly promotes user levels with other players. Players can share their levels on Miiverse, receiving one, two, or three stars as tips for their level creativity, hence the name, Tipping Stars. I found some mediocre levels, sure, but there are some truly outstanding levels, putting my initial levels to shame. Finding the levels is quick and simple using the intuitive user interface. It shows Nintendo is beginning to learn and understand the importance of social connection of the internet, as it finally ditches the user QR codes from games like Pushmo World.
Finding levels is a breeze, as it sorts them by time uploaded, friend’s creations, and most popular. Another great feature is that you can save levels you like and can take them with you offline, which is specifically great for 3DS users. Comments and user-guides for the levels can be left on the creator’s Miiverse page, which can become a great asset when tackling a challenging coarse.
All in all, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is a simple, yet fantastic puzzle game with potentially infinite replayability. The fact that for twenty dollars players can get it cross-buy is awesome, as it shows Nintendo experimenting is headed in the right direction. As in most Nintendo games, the ideas and mechanics are solid, even if the concept is simple, giving kids and adult gamers alike the ability to jump in and play. Though it isn’t very different from previous entries to the series, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The sharing feature is the game’s biggest draw, with fresh and infinite content readily available everyday for players to find. Personally I find the game fits better on the 3DS, but the toys are visually charming on the big screen as well. Mario vs. Donkey Kong may just be a simple experiment for Nintendo, but it’s fun none the less. I recommend it for fans of action puzzlers and the series in general.