Monday, July 20, 2009

Mario vs. DonkeyKong: Minis March Again!


I was looking to download a new DSi game. Two caught my eyes: Asphalt 4: Elite Racing and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again. I was really looking toward the racing game. I only downloaded the DK game for the level editor.

It turns out the racing game was bad. Not that it isn't sexy, or fast, or technologically advanced. It just isn't fun. I was wondering if it's the control. I don't think so. The control is similar to PS2 Ridge Racer by Namco. Also Need for Speed game for GBA. I decided that the level design is faulty. That special indescribable quality that makes a game "fun". Maybe I should check out Mario Kart and compare the design.

In the meantime, I checked out the Minis. It is very much fun! There's quite a bit of levels in there, 100 total if you include the challenges. In addition to normal mode, there's also the Plus mode where they ramped up the action by starting all the Minis all at once. By that time, though, you should be an expert in the game. I got all gold star in the normal levels.

The included level editor is excellent. The only gripe I have is the extremely limited resources available for the levels. I guess that's why the levels are small. Furthermore, not all items are available at the beginning, but I don't find that a negative, just a distraction.

I suggest that if you have any interest in being a game developer/designer that you give it a try. It is a good experience to have. I designed several levels already. I uploaded 2: Hill and Farsite. Pinacola is my username.

Hills is solid, but rough at the edges. The are several solutions available. Easy, Fast, and DropOnly. DropOnly mode means you take out all the pink boxes. Then, once you put it down, you don't pick it up! Very interesting influence to the design. Alas, Hill suffers from tight timing issues in some places. Good for first try, but unpolished.

FarSite is a much better polished level. I ran into limitation real quick, but improvised enough to pass it. That green pipe shouldn't be there! If you think I put the card a long way off, you're wrong. I could have put it in the dead end on upper right. That way you would have to scale the ladders TWICE. I spare you from that grief.

In short, Minis March Again is a great game and is easily worth the $8 it costs you. I know it filled my days with delight. I really enjoyed thinking about the level design. Implementing it only takes a part of the day. Testing multiple solutions does take some time.

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