Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis is a puzzle game and the sequel to Mario vs. Donkey Kong. This time, the focus is on the Mini toys created by the Mario Toy Company; along with the Mini Mario toys returning, more new toys were added for this game including the Mini Donkey Kong, Mini Toad, and Mini Peach toys. This game also marks the first appearance of Pauline in the Mario franchise since the Game Boy Donkey Kong game.
Mario's Toy Company returns and is mentioned at the beginning of the game. It starts with a commercial promoting the new Super Mini Mario World, which is an outdoor amusement park centered around the Mini Marios, Mini Peachs, Mini Toads, and Mini Donkey Kongs. A crowd of Toads is shown watching Pauline and Mario about to cut the ribbon to open it. One of the Mario Toy Company's employees, Donkey Kong, is in the crowd. He immediately falls in love with Pauline and rushes to her with a Mini Donkey Kong to give to her, but Mario hands out a Mini Mario. She chooses the Mini Mario, so Donkey Kong is heartbroken and breaks down a sales post of Mini Marios, even crushing one with his feet. He then heads toward the elevator, grabbing Pauline on his way and knocking Mario to the floor. As Donkey Kong heads toward the elevator, Mario gets up and tries to get to the elevator, but he is too late to rescue her. Donkey Kong brings Pauline up to the roof of the building. Mario doesn't know what to do until two Mini Marios come to offer help.
In the ending, Mario finds Pauline safe with tons of presents in a room on the roof. Donkey Kong looks sorry for what he's done, when a Mini Mario races across the floor to meet a Mini Donkey Kong. Pauline picks up the Mini Donkey Kong and kisses it, making DK happy. Toads appear and everyone waves, leading into the credits.
Unlike the Game Boy Advance predecessor, Mario plays absolutely no role in this game; he is only seen in the beginning of each floor, and before each boss fight and in the final boss fight and following cut-scene. Instead, the task is to control the Mini Mario toys through eight diverse floors of nine levels each to reach Pauline. At the end of each floor is a boss battle with DK. There are 240 Minis in all - generally, there are more minis in a level as the difficulty increases (going as high as 8 in a level called 8-3). This change in game-play laid the foundation for the two Mario vs. Donkey Kong games that followed on the DS.
In each level, the player attempts to move all of the Minis on the map to a portal-like doorway that has a red M on top - this is the goal. Moving the Minis around uses the stylus and touch screen entirely. Touching a Mini activates it. Swiping a Mini left or right moves it in that direction or switches directions. Swiping the same way across multiple Minis changes the direction of all the Minis. Swiping up makes a Mini jump. Swiping down on a Warp Pipe makes the Mini go down into it, and jumping and swiping up makes a Mini go up a pipe. Touching a Mini again stops it.
Minis automatically change directions when hitting a wall or another Mini. Also, a Mini gives a warning "whoa!" noise when it is about to fall into spikes or another danger that will break it, including large heights.
What makes the game challenging is the requirement of having to move environmental pieces of the level around to reach the Goal - similar to Lemmings. For example, colored blocks (most commonly pink) can be realized if the player has a certain number of blocks in the inventory - for example, players can take three blocks from one part of the level and use them somewhere else, perhaps where the Minis need to cross first. Other such examples are elevators with an up and down pad and conveyor belts with a left and right pad.
The player has 300 seconds to move as many of the Minis as possible when the timer starts. The timer does not start until a Mini is activated or colored blocks are removed - the player can look around the level using the D-pad (or buttons for left-handers) and plan what to do before beginning.
Scoring and Stars
Scoring is specific and precise for each level. Small and big coins are spread throughout the levels (50 and 500 points, respectively). Each second left on the clock is another 10 points. There are many bonuses that come into effect:
By filling in all of the criteria above, the player can earn a gold star for the level. Below it is the silver star and the bronze star. It is possible to get no star, especially if the player loses more than one Mini. Stars are used to unlock extras at the end of the game.
The following is a chart of the bonuses for the number of Minis that appear in the normal game, Gold Mini or not, and the minimum scores for the stars:
↑ refers to the entry just above it
Each floor of Super Mini Mario World besides the Basement is diverse and has its own unique elements that sets it apart. They each consist of nine levels, a mini-game, and a DK boss battle.
In each level of a floor, there is a Mini Mario Card - a card with a letter on one side and a Mini Mario's head on another. With nine levels, the cards spell MINIMARIO on each floor (i.e. 7-3 would have a N card). Finding all cards in a floor unlocks a single Mini-Game: Shy Guy Smash. In it, the player uses the stylus to break (touch) 25 Shy Guys within 30 seconds, coming out of pipes. Unfortunately, not only do the pipes become more complicated as the floors increase, Bob-ombs are thrown into the mix - tapping them loses 5 points. The player is challenged to beat his or her high score after getting over 25, for replay value.
DK Boss Battle
Each floor is concluded by a boss battle with the giant ape. Players must launch Mini Marios from a cannon up and hit Donkey Kong either directly or indirectly, depending on conditions. The number of Minis available depends on how many Minis the player got to the Goal in the nine levels. In odd-numbered floors, the cannon will shoot directly up, trying to hit DK from below. In even-numbered levels, DK is protected by a spiked platform from the bottom, and the cannon is adapted to hit off of walls to reach above him instead, as illustrated to the right. Minis are broken by sharp points, DK's projectiles such as bananas, barrels, weights, mines, even fireballs, or in the later battles, Swoops (Spooky Attic) and Snapjaws (Jungle Hijinks). DK has six hit points in all battles.
Each of these boss battles is also capable of getting stars, but the score is calculated differently. Simply put, the gold star minimum is the maximum number of Minis on the floor times 1,000 (25,000, 30,000, etc). Each second left on the clock is ten points (each boss battle starts with 180), and each Mini still "alive" is still 1000 points. Getting a gold star thus should mean that no Minis can be destroyed and perfect play is required. However, in theory, it is possible to win with over 100 seconds of time remaining - which is 1,000 or more points left over - which means that a player can still miss one Mini and earn a gold star. However, it gets more difficult to beat DK within those eighty seconds as the game progresses, so it should not be taken as a rule of thumb. Silver stars are generally 75% of the Minis surviving, and bronze stars 50%.
Final Boss Battle
Immediately after the Minis defeat Donkey Kong at Jungle Hijinks, the final boss battle begins. Here, the level 25m from the original Donkey Kong game is used. Mario waits at the top screen, while DK throws barrels down into the lower screen. Minis will actually come from the Goal, and it is the player's job to get six Minis into the upper screen for Mario to throw at DK before six Minis are destroyed by barrels or fires from the tar pit (also from Donkey Kong). Ladders accompany this section, as well as the Hammer power-up on two occasions. This battle is not ranked and the ending and credits follow success.
Items and Objects
The following is a list of enemies in the game:
March of the Minis boasts a supply of unlockables, some minor and some major:
Pre-release and unused content
Most of the music are cover versions from other games. The only original compositions in the game are the Pipe Works theme and the main menu theme.
References to other games