Mario vs. Donkey Kong (video game)

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Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mario vs. Donkey Kong Coverart.png
North American box art
Developer(s)Nintendo Software Technology
Director(s)Yukimi Shimura
Producer(s)Shigeki Yamashiro
Shigeru Miyamoto
Designer(s)Wing S. Cho
Composer(s)Lawrence Schwedler
SeriesMario vs. Donkey Kong
Platform(s)Game Boy Advance
ReleaseGame Boy Advance
  • NA: May 24, 2004
  • JP: June 10, 2004
  • EU: November 19, 2004
  • AU: 2004
Genre(s)Platforming, puzzle

Mario vs. Donkey Kong[a] is a 2004 puzzle-platform game developed by Nintendo Software Technology and released for the Game Boy Advance. The game is the spiritual successor to Donkey Kong, which was released in 1994 for the Game Boy. The game's first sequel, Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, was released on the Nintendo DS in 2006.

The game concept revolves around a combination of platform and puzzle elements, challenging Mario to find keys, reach a locked door, and rescue mini-Marios.


Mario must unlock the door to progress in this screenshot taken in World 1, set at the Mario Toy Company.

In Mario vs. Donkey Kong, the player assumes the role of Mario, who is pursuing Donkey Kong through a toy factory in order to retrieve several stolen Mini-Mario toys. The game, a puzzle platform game, plays similarly to the Game Boy Donkey Kong game, giving Mario a vast set of different athletic moves, including a handstand, a sideways somersault, and a triple jump, all of which can be used to maneuver platforming stages in various different ways. There are several different environments, ranging from a lava environment to the classic construction site, and there are four different types; in the first, and most common, Mario has to pick up a key and take it to the locked door, and then find and pick up the Mini-Mario toy at the end of the level. The second type is where Mario must guide six Mini-Mario toys to the Toy Box, while protecting them from dangerous environments. The third type is the boss level, where Mario must fight Donkey Kong in order to proceed to the next world. The fourth type is the Plus Level, where Mario must activate one Mini-Mario in the level, which is holding a key, and take it to the door. The fifth type of level is the Expert levels. The expert levels can be accessed after beating the main worlds. In this mode, Mario must get the key and lead it to the door, much like the first type of level, but these are the hardest levels in the game. Getting through the door beats the level in Plus and Expert modes, rather than sending Mario to a second part.


Mario is the owner of Mario's Toy Company, a toy enterprise in which he sells a series of small wind-up figures called "Mini-Marios". After seeing a television advertisement for the Mini-Marios, Donkey Kong immediately falls in love with the toys and sets out to the store to get one for himself, only to find that the toy is sold out. Furious, Donkey Kong breaks into Mario's toy factory across the street and steals all of the Mini-Marios, prompting Mario to chase after Donkey Kong to get his toys back. Mario travels in pursuit of Donkey Kong, rescuing the Mini-Marios and battling Donkey Kong several times along the way before retrieving all of the toys. Mario, the Mini-Marios, and the Toad employees from Mario's Toy Company all make fun of Donkey Kong, who has realized that all of his stolen toys are gone, prompting him to kidnap all of the Toads and imprison them on the tower of a big building. Mario climbs to the top of the tower, rescues the Toads, and battles Donkey Kong once more, after which Donkey Kong falls onto a truck containing a shipment of new Mini-Marios. Donkey Kong then promptly steals this set of toys as Mario pursues him once again to reclaim them. Following another cat-and-mouse chase, Mario gets back all but 6 of the captured Mini-Marios, which Donkey Kong holds captive and guards with a large robot mech. Mario fights Donkey Kong one last time, destroying Donkey Kong's mech and finally getting back the rest of the toys. Mario notices that Donkey Kong is devastated and crying in shame, to which he responds by giving him a free Mini-Mario. After finally getting what he has wanted all along, Donkey Kong, Mario, the toads, and the remaining Mini-Marios all rejoice together.


The game is an evolution of Donkey Kong Plus, a title on display at E3 2002. During the show, Plus had a feature that allowed players to design and save their own levels on the GameCube, then copy them to the Game Boy Advance using a link cable. It was essentially an updated version of Donkey Kong '94, but the game had disappeared by the following year. It was replaced with the pre-rendered graphics and gameplay additions of Mario vs. Donkey Kong. The Create-a-Level feature was removed from this version (but appears in its sequel). The level editor still exists within the game's programming, and can be enabled through a modification.[1]

The game has hidden e-Reader support.[1][2] Nintendo held a competition in Japan in which cards were distributed to 1,000 winning participants. Five level cards were released by CoroCoro Comic, and another card was given away at the 20th World Hobby Fair.[3][4] The game can save up to 12 extra levels.[1]


Aggregate score
Review scores
Game Informer7.5/10[10]
GamePro4.5/5 stars[11]
GameSpy3/5 stars[13]
Nintendo Power4.5/5[16]

The game received "favorable" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[5] On March 16th, 2007, IGN listed it as #25 in their list of the top 25 Game boy Advance games of all time, calling it "a great game that fits the Game Boy Advance's pick-up-and-play environment since players could whip out the system, solve a puzzle, and put it away for later."[17]

Limited re-release[edit]

On July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced that Mario vs. Donkey Kong, as well as nine other Game Boy Advance games, would be available to Nintendo 3DS owners who purchased their systems before the August 11, 2011 price cut via Virtual Console as part of the ambassador program. This offer is available in all territories, and only to those who became eligible in the Ambassador program (by accessing the Nintendo eShop before the date of the price-cut). Although the game was released on December 16, 2011 to Ambassador users, Nintendo currently has no plans to release this game to the general public in paid form on Nintendo 3DS[18] unlike the Wii U version, which later released in 2014.


  1. ^ Japanese: マリオVSドンキーコング Hepburn: Mario tai Donkī Kongu?


  1. ^ a b c "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". The Cutting Room Floor. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  2. ^ [1] Archived January 8, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Mario vs. Donkey Kong Card e+". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Undumped". e-Reader Encyclopedia. No-Intro. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Mario vs. Donkey Kong for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. ^ Edge staff (August 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". Edge (139): 103.
  7. ^ EGM staff (July 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". Electronic Gaming Monthly (180): 108.
  8. ^ Bramwell, Tom (11 November 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". Eurogamer. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  9. ^ "マリオVSドンキーコング". Famitsu. 809. 18 June 2004.
  10. ^ Mason, Lisa (June 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". Game Informer (134): 137. Archived from the original on 6 January 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  11. ^ Dr. Chapstick (24 May 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong Review for Game Boy Advance on". GamePro. Archived from the original on 8 March 2005. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  12. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (24 May 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  13. ^ Williams, Bryn (26 May 2004). "GameSpy: Mario vs. Donkey Kong". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 20 November 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  14. ^ Hollingshead, Anise (1 June 2004). "Mario Vs Donkey Kong Review - Game Boy Advance". GameZone. Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  15. ^ Harris, Craig (24 May 2004). "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". IGN. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  16. ^ "Mario vs. Donkey Kong". Nintendo Power. 181: 119. July 2004.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Newton, James (31 July 2011). "FAQ: Nintendo Ambassador Program and Free eShop Games". NintendoLife. Retrieved 12 August 2013.

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