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Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis

Friday 19 May 2006
You wouldn't know it by looking at all the 'buddy buddy' sports games on GameCube, but once upon a time, Mario and Donkey Kong were big-time enemies. In the case of Mario vs Donkey Kong: March of the Minis, you're controlling a horde of tiny, mechanical Mario clones as they try to escape the puzzling, 2D prison Donkey Kong has slapped them into.

Well, you don’t actually control the Marios themselves. They're basically roaming freely around the levels, awaiting your instructions. You tap one to animate it, then point it in the direction you want it to walk. It'll follow that path with no regard for its own safety, though, so you've got to constantly be on their case. In just the first few puzzles, we saw four or five of the little guys running around simultaneously, bumping into enemies and getting themselves killed.

The little micro-brats can't fall very far, either, so you've got to mind bridges, elevators and all that good stuff too. Bridges, in fact, are another key component to the riddling levels - you can suck up squares with the stylus and plop them back somewhere else, thus creating a safe walkway. But what order to do this in, and where to slap the squares, that's where the skill lies.

They're not totally defenceless, though. We stumbled across a magic hammer that KO’d anything in the level... until it ran out of steam.