|System: DSi (DSiWare)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Unlike March of the Minis 2, you dont have direct control over your Minis once you set them into motion. Tapping them with the styles wakes them up and starts them on a slow marching path through the level. Theyll reverse direction when they hit a large wall and automatically start climbing up any blocks arranged in staircase fashion. Avoiding spike traps, flames, and a medley of familiar foes becomes tougher as the levels progress in complexity and difficulty.
The trick to getting the little guys where they need to go comes in the form of divine stylus intervention. Tapping pink blocks arranged in dotted outline grids makes them disappear and reappear, and youll often use the blocks to build and swap out temporary walls, floors, and stairways for your Minis to reach their goal. Other interactive elements like springboards, conveyor belts, and timed gates can also be manipulated via the touch screen. An arbitrary life system has been added into the game, forcing you to restart the level and lose a life every time a Mini meets its doom. It seems pointless, since theres no consequence for getting a game over youre simply given five shiny new lives and sent on your merry way.
Even with some very minor, largely unnoticeable elements pared back, Minis March Again! looks and sounds very much like the full blown DS game its based on. The colorful characters and complex puzzle worlds are extremely well polished and the level of production found throughout this downloadable title is top notch. As is expected from a Mario game, youll find lots of charming music (remixed from past Mario games) and a little voice work thrown in for good measure. If it werent slightly smaller and lacking fully animated cutscenes, itd be hard to tell the game apart from a regular full-priced DS release.
Though its not quite as robust as its predecessor, the volume of content in Minis March Again is both surprising and impressive. The four main floors youll progress through each contain eight regular levels, an obligatory boss battle against Donkey Kong that has you firing Minis out of some form of cannon at the brute, and a super tough bonus level unlocked by being awarded a gold star for a stellar performance in each smaller level. Once you plow through all of those, youll unlock plus mode that has you progressing through the first 40 levels with a tougher challenge. Beyond that there are additional levels on the rooftop to play through and bonus basement level that are gradually unlocked as you amass more stars. Exhaust all of that content, and theres still the incredibly entertaining construction zone where you can create custom levels to play, share them via the Nintendo WFC, and play levels made by other people.
Minis March Again may look and sound like rehashed content, but all of the levels are entirely new. That said, it may not quite be the proper sequel fans of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series had hoped for. Regardless, theres a lot of game to explore here and the puzzle heavy Mini Mario management is utterly delightful. Whether youre new to the series or just feel like checking out a fresh set of levels, youll get a lot of mileage for your dollars here.
CCC Staff Contributor