In Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, the goal is pretty simple, at least from a superficial level. The goal of the game for you, as Mario, is to guide around a little army of mechanical versions of iconic Nintendo characters. These little Marios, and Toads know pretty much one thing: how to stumble forward into whatever danger is lurking there. They don't care if they area bout to walk off of a cliff, drop onto a pit of spikes, or even walk into a wall of flames. You can probably see where we are leading you. Your job, as the most intelligent and adventurous plumber of all time, is to guide these mechanical machines of death to the finish line -- using a dearth of level editing tricks and tools.
'Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars' was developed by Nintendo and released for the two trademark consoles for the brand: the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS. We picked up the game for our Wii U, with the great visual gamepad, and got down to business. Within minutes we felt transported back to our childhood. The trademark Nintendo charm was out in full force, even if the delivery was slightly different than we expected.
Mario and Donkey Kong can pretty comfortably define an entire generation of gamers. With the success that Nintendo has found marketing two of their juggernaut characters, it only makes sense that we'd get new material featuring the two characters together.
The goal of 'Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars' is pretty simple, at least from a superficial level. The goal of the game for you, as Mario, is to guide around a little army of mechanical versions of iconic Nintendo characters. These little Marios, and Toads know pretty much one thing: how to stumble forward into whatever danger is lurking there. They don't care if they area bout to walk off of a cliff, drop onto a pit of spikes, or even walk into a wall of flames. You can probably see where we are leading you. Your job, as the most intelligent and adventurous plumber of all time, is to guide these mechanical machines of death to the finish line -- using a dearth of level editing tricks and tools.
None of this is precisely new for fans of the long standing 'Mario v. Donkey Kong' series, but that doesn't mean it is stale or less interesting. You are given the task of moving around the environment in order to make it more accessible for your toy troops. Along their routes your troops will also try to get their greedy little robot hands on as many collectibles as possible. Coins and power ups make for good route fodder if you can get your units to grab them up before dying. There is a unique blend of level editor, puzzle solver, and an almost 'Angry Birds' like spin on things. There is a ton going on in this game and you'll have to keep an eye on everything.
When you first boot up the game you will find that it plays almost too simply. Your beginning levels will compact down to you essentially creating bridges and then destroying them. Did I mention you only have a finite amount of bridges to use? Yeah, so you'll have to pay attention to your resources as you plunge gamely on through the multitude of different levels. At its core the game goal is pretty simple. You want to keep your clockwork figures alive, collect items, and get them to the promised land all without dying. It's simple but still fulfilling. Materializing a bridge right before our little Mario falls to his doom feels great and hits you right in your gamer feels.
'Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars' forces players to adhere to an almost perfected standard. While this could make things frustrating at certain moments, it also makes the game pay off even more. The levels in 'Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars' are all fairly small and self contained so if you do mess up you aren't going to be spending too much time re-establishing all of the work that you just lost. This is very similar to those handheld apps that are sweeping the market. There are perfect ways to do things, good ways to do things, and many bad ways to do them. You can restart a level whenever you want in order to pursue perfection. While messing up at the last moment is surely infuriating, the chance to fix things immediately afterward helps to assuage the frustration.
One of the biggest issues with 'Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars' is that you will spend a lot of your time simply waiting for something to happen. Once you have your route picked out for a level you have to wait for your units to traverse the path before you can do something else. This is really only a problem early on in the game, when things are exceedingly simple. It's a small issue and the only glaring problem that we could find with the game.
Probably the strongest element to 'Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars' is that it brings you face to face with so many characters from games that you have played before. It's cool to see the entire Mushroom Kingdom (or as many as they could fit into the game) re-imagined as little Clockwork baddies. You'll see Thwomps and Goombas and so much more as you go. Don't think that each little bad guy is simple to get around. Even the smallest enemy can present a huge problem for your clockwork units. This adds a layer of difficulty and it gives you a little bit of respect for these normally small fry characters.
A favorite part of the game comes in the form of end World bad guys. These bad guys take the form of giant demons with monkey and robot inspirations These demons take control of your mini men and send them on a destructive path through the level. This is truly one of the only times that the game feels fast paced. So much more of the game is done at an almost relaxed pace, so suddenly having the pace amped up to 11 is definitely a fun change of pace.
But don't worry too much about your enemies. The environment will always be your biggest concern. From elevators to conveyor belts and all the way back to the classic pipes, you'll be kept plenty busy. Each World that you progress to will add a new wrinkle to the gameplay and make things more and more difficult. The longer you play the harder things will get, but you'll also get more addicted. And that is sort of a summary of this game in entirety. It's difficult but relaxed. Frustrating but rewarding.