Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars

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Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
European Wii U box cover
European 3DS box cover
Developer(s) Nintendo Software Technology Corporation
Nintendo SPD Group No. 3
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Wii U
Nintendo 3DS
Release date USA March 5, 2015
Japan March 19, 2015
Europe March 20, 2015
Australia March 21, 2015
Genre Puzzle
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
USK:USK 0.svg - All ages
Mode(s) Single player
Wii U:
Media CD icon.png Optical disc
Media DL icon.svg Digital download
Nintendo 3DS:
3DS Card Icon.png Cartridge
Media DL icon.svg Digital download
Wii U:
Nintendo 3DS:

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is an action puzzle game for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. It is the sixth Mario vs. Donkey Kong game overall and the first game in the series to be released on a home console. The game shares many elements with most of the series, where the principal goal is to navigate a number of Minis to their exits, and also allows players to build their own levels in a mode called the Workshop. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars debuts new features such as sharing custom stages through Miiverse. Parts and new Minis for custom levels can be unlocked in the Workshop Store after purchasing them with stars, which can also be given to other players as a "tip" for their shared stages. The game is digital-only except in Japan. Game cases with download codes are sold in Europe. The Wii U version requires 0.93 GB of memory to be installed, and the Nintendo 3DS version requires 3200 blocks.[1]

The game supports a form of cross-platform play, where if one version of the game is bought on the Nintendo eShop, the buyer receives a free download code of the other version. Levels are able to be shared between the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of the game.


The beginning of the story.

As in previous Mario vs. Donkey Kong games, Pauline is once again the victim of Donkey Kong's kidnapping antics at the start of the game, although this time, no motivation is given. Mario quickly gives chase with his Mini Mario toys in hopes of rescuing Pauline from Donkey Kong.

After traversing six puzzle-filled worlds, while freeing cursed Mini Mario toys along the way, Mario catches up to Donkey Kong and Pauline in a darkened room. The lights are switched on quickly, revealing Pauline, Donkey Kong, and two Toads standing in front of a "SURPRISE!" banner.

Mario's surprise party.

The ruse revealed, Mario can then continue through more worlds and bonus levels knowing Pauline is safe.


As in the game's predecessors, the main goal of every stage is to simply lead all Mini toys to the end of the level, which is done by manipulating certain parts of the environment. Using the stylus, players are able to drag objects such as red girders, springs, conveyor belts, pipes, and lifts to guide the characters. Notably, the gameplay of this title is largely simplified in comparison to the predecessors, barring elements such as boss battles and the ability to change direction of the Minis.

The most common level type in the game is the Single-Door level, in which a lone door represents the objective. In order to clear a course, each Mini must be brought at the exit door, immediately followed by another. The first Mini toy to reach the exit commences a short timer which shuts the door after a few moments, locking away any other Mini toy if they do not reach the door in time and resulting in a Game Over. Multi-Door levels, a feature introduced in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, are also found in Tipping Stars, where different Minis have to be rescued from Capsules and led through separate doors, each assigned to one of the Minis. In Multi-Door levels, there is no time limit between entering different doors.

Each world contains eight levels and follows a specific formula:

  • the first level of every world introduces a new game mechanic, which becomes recurrent from that point onward.
  • the third level and, sometimes, sixth level is where enemies that cause damage, like Shy Guys, Pokeys or Thwomps, appear.
  • the fourth level is always a Multi-Door course, the rest being Single-Door.
  • the fifth level is marked by the presence of a type of Kong toy, such as Circus Kongs, Cannon Kongs or Capture Kongs.
  • the seventh level has a locked exit, which can only be opened by a Key Mini Mario.
  • instead of a boss battle as in the predecessors, every world is closed by a level where a Cursed Mini Mario has to be reverted to its normal state by hitting it with Hammers, then escorted along with the other Minis to the exit door.

A level must be finished within its time limit, always set to 300 seconds. Otherwise, the result will be a Game Over. Other causes of a Game Over include falling on spikes, falling from a height of ten blocks or more, failing to enter the goal door before it closes, and coming into contact with an enemy such as a Shy Guy or a Pokey.[2] The only possibility to combat these enemies is by using Hammers, which are acquired for a short time and function similarly to the hammer from the Donkey Kong arcade game.

Scoring system[edit]

The game presents a scoring system, which factors the following:

  • Small and big coins spread throughout the levels. They are worth 100 and 1000 points, respectively. There is also a single M Coin in each level, worth 2000 points. Collecting all coins in a level awards the player an additional 6000 points.
  • Every second left on the timer, each worth 20 points.

Three high scores are established for each level and are linked to a bronze, silver, and gold trophy, in order from lowest to highest. Acquiring one trophy rewards the player with one star; in this respect, achieving the gold trophy in a level signifies a three star rating for that level. Stars form a collectable entity, and a total of 267 stars can be earned in the main game.

Workshop and online features[edit]

The Workshop mode allows players to build custom levels. They can either start building from scratch, or edit one of the three built-in templates. A total of 50 custom levels can be stored, but only up to 20 could be shared online. Levels can be transferred between both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U versions of the game. The Workshop Store is a section in the Workshop where collected/received stars can be used to purchase objects and other elements that can be used to customize the look of user-generated levels.

A help menu is available where players can learn about earning tips from other players, limits of the resource items, play-testing and themes for their custom levels.

The game presented online functions, which were paired with Miiverse. However, as of November 7, 2017, when the service was shut down, they are no longer accessible. Before the discontinuation, levels could be shared trough the Community option. Players could share, play, and 'Yeah' levels. Stars earned in the main game or by playing user-created levels could be tipped to level creators, which unlocked Miiverse stamps. Nintendo themselves had uploaded levels in the past, a list of which can be seen here.

Lastly, in both the Workshop mode and the Community mode, players can click their Mii icon to access their user profile, which displays some information linked to Miiverse: the number of 'Yeah's received on their levels, comments posted, and stars tipped to other players, as well as the number of shared levels. Likewise, the SpotPass funcionality can be adjusted there.


The cast is primarily composed of the Mini toys, which are the focus of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. Despite the fact that Mario and Donkey Kong are titular characters, they only fulfill minor roles. Pauline and a few Toads also make appearances in the game's cutscenes.

The protagonists do not feature distinctions in behavior. They all simply walk from side to side, interacting with the environment at times. The only Mini that does, however, differentiate from the others is the Cursed Mini Mario, which is a possessed Mini Mario that smashes any other Mini on contact. It can be turned back into a normal Mini Mario if hit with Hammers or if slope slid onto it.

MVSDK Wii U Mini Mario alt.png
Mini Mario
MVSDK Wii U Peach.png
Mini Peach
Mario vs Donkey Kong MLM-Blue Toad Art.png
Mini Toad
Mini Pauline
MVSDK Wii U Mini DK.png
Mini Donkey Kong
Mini Luigi
Gold Mini Mario
Dark Mini Mario MvDKU.png
Cursed Mini Mario


Dashing Desert.

Each of the eight main worlds of the game (six standard, two extra) introduces a new mechanic, and is divided into eight levels; the last one in each world is always centered around a Cursed Mini Mario. Levels in the main game are unlocked in a classic manner, i.e. by completing any level that preceded them.

Apart from the main game, there are 24 additional levels to unlock in a separate, Bonus feature. The player unlocks a bonus level for every 4 gold trophies obtained in the main game, except for Level B-21 onward, when levels are unlocked for each gold trophy earned. In order to unlock all Bonus levels, the player has to acquire a total of 87 gold trophies. Compared to levels from the main game, Bonus levels are to be noted for using previous gameplay mechanics in challenging ways, resulting in increased difficulty.

The four unlockable backgrounds in the Workshop—Winding Ravine, Swirling Courtyard, Clattering Cabin and Shimmering Gold Palace—do not have their own worlds, but are used to theme some of the Bonus levels. Each world including the afore-mentioned backgrounds is the setting of at least two Bonus levels. In the Workshop, there is an additional Editor Land theme, although none of the pre-built levels feature it.

There are slight layout differences between levels in the Nintendo 3DS version and levels in the Wii U version, meaning that a puzzle might require a different solution depending on the version it appears in.

See also: List of official Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars online levels
Main worlds
MvsDKTS1-2.jpg MvsDKTS2-5.jpg MvsDKTS3-2.jpg MvsDKTS4-3.jpg
World 1
Rolling Hills
Introduces the simple mechanics used throughout the game, such as girders, rivets and ladders. Except for Cursed Mini Mario at the end, only a single Shy Guy is present as an enemy.
World 2
Jumpy Jungle
A world that focuses on the use of Horizontal and Vertical Springs. Circus Kongs are also introduced here.
World 3
Runaway Warehouse
The emphasis of this world are the conveyor belts, many of which are purple and can be stretched between rivets. There are enemies as well, such as Thwomps and Cannon Kongs.
World 4
Crumbling Cavern
A place teeming with Movable Pipes, green pipes which can be positioned conveniently. A few Fire Piranha Plants inhabit this world.
MvsDKTS5-5.jpg MvsDKTS6-2.jpg MvsDKTSe1-8.jpg MvsDKTSe2-5.jpg
World 5
Dashing Desert
This world introduces Blue Lifts and also marks the first appearance of Pokeys and Capture Kongs in the game.
World 6
Twilight Valley
The last world before the game's conclusion. It adds Pink Blocks to the gameplay, which act as solid walls and platforms and can be placed or removed.
Worlds E1 and E2
Orbiting Observatory
Two extra worlds in the main game, in which magnet surfaces are first explored. Many other elements introduced in previous worlds appear.
Bonus worlds
Bonus 1
Bonus 2
Bonus 3


The game's numerous objects can be split into three categories: collectibles, objects that can be obtained only by a Mini toy; resource items, which can be stockpiled and moved or dragged on the screen using the console's stylus; and fixed objects, which cannot usually be modified but can be manipulated to help the Minis advance through a stage.

Item About
Coins Items found in every level, usually arranged in rows of three or more. Each awards the player 100 points for the score. Among these coins, there is also a large variety that is worth ten normal coins and, therefore, 1000 points. The player needs to collect all coins in a level in order to achieve three stars for that level.
Hammers A pair of weapons that can be used by the Minis to combat enemies or destroy Rocks. They are acquired for a short time and are banged repeatedly on the ground, confering the Mini that wields them a short period of invincibility. After they disappear, Hammers respawn in their initial position, allowing another use. If a Mini comes into contact with a Ladder or a Blue Lift while the Hammers are in use, they will be thrown high up in the air and can be picked up again if the Mini reaches the end of these objects in time.
M Coin A special "M"-stamped coin that is worth 2000 points. Only one appears in every stage. Like the other types of coins, collecting the M Coin is mandatory to obtain a three-start rating in a level.
Pickups Collectibles that increase the amount of resource items the player has, such as Girders, Blue Lifts and Purple Conveyors. However, they cannot be grabbed with the stylus; Minis are required to walk into them instead.
Resource items
Item About
Blue Lift A vertical succession of platforms that can be built between two blue rivets, only if one is located directly above the other. The movement of the platforms in a Blue Lift is determined by the direction of the swipe that created the Blue Lift. Upon encountering a Blue Lift, Minis will stop walking and will take the lift in the direction it moves, helping them reach platforms that are located underneath or above.
High Spring and
Long Spring
Trampolines that help the Minis bounce to higher areas. High Springs are violet and have an oblong shape—they launch the Minis on a vertical arc. Long Springs are yellow, rounded, and launch the Minis on a more widened arc.
Movable Pipes A pair of separate pipes that are somehow interconnected. When a Mini enters one pipe, it will be warped onto the other. The player can change the positions of these pipes to facilitate movement throughout an area, even though they can only be placed on predetermined slots.
Pink Block A block that can be picked up with the stylus and then used to fill a special slot by tapping on it. Pink Blocks come in formations, and act as platforms or walls to guide the Minis.
Purple Conveyor A platform that can be dragged across purple rivets. It moves automatically in the direction established by the player with the stylus. Apart from transporting the Minis, Purple Conveyors also turn them back if they are in opposing directions, without the need of a wall.
Red Girder A platform that can be created by connecting two rivets of the corresponding color. The main game only contains red Girders, but the Workshop mode allows the player to use Girders of different colors, associated with a playable character (green—Mini Luigi, blue and white—Mini Toad, pink—Mini Peach etc.) If Red Girders are positioned horizontally or slightly slanting, the Minis can walk on them as on normal platforms. If their slant is too abrupt, they cause the Minis to slide on them as on a slope. If they are positioned vertically, they act as walls that prevent the Minis from walking further. Red Girders can be passed from underneath, making them semi-solid.
Fixed objects
Item About
Cannon An object that slowly changes launching direction by rotating in place. It can store any amount of Minis that end up inside it, and can be tapped on to blast all Minis in the current direction. This way, apart from being able to reach far areas, the Minis can also zoom into Rocks and enemies to destroy them.
Color Switches Up to three Color Switches can appear in a level, each colored red, blue, or yellow. They enable or disable blocks of the same color.
Conveyor A platform that conveys the Minis in the direction indicated by its arrows. Conveyors are always horizontal.
Girder A semi-solid platform that the Minis can walk on. Girders are always horizontal.
Goal Door The exit of each stage in the game. In Single-Door levels, the goal is to get all Minis into a single door. Once a Mini enters the door, the other have a short amount of time to reach it before it locks them away. A few levels feature locked exits, which require a Key Mini Mario to unlock. In Multi-Door levels, each character must be guided to the door that displays its face on it.
Ladder A vertical set of steps needed to climb up to raised platforms, or go down a lower level. They can be seen as stationary Blue Lifts. Minis grab on a Ladder as soon as they walk into it, then continue to walk in the direction they previously followed. When two Minis bump into each other on a Ladder, they both change directions.
Magnet A platform that allows the Minis to walk on all of its surfaces. Minis fall off a Magnet if they are hanging upside-down and encounter a non-magnetic surface on their way.
Rock A small fragile block that breaks when hit with Hammers, a slope slide or a Cannon blast. Otherwise, Rocks act as normal platforms the Minis can walk onto.
Warp Pipe Warp Pipes come in two colors: blue, which are always found in one piece, and yellow—also known as Split Pipes—whose ends are separated from each other. Both types help transport the Minis to different locations in a level, although the length of blue Warp Pipes affect how long the Minis take to reach the other end, while Split Pipes have considerably less delay.

Enemies and obstacles[edit]

Enemies in the game can be divided into two categories, based on how they affect the player. Kong-based toys are rather large and indestructible but do not cause damage, and in many situations their capacities appear helpful; however, they can also often impede the player, in which case Hammers are available to stun them temporarily. On the other hand, there are harmful enemies that take miscellaneous forms, and only serve as obstacles that can usually be destroyed with Hammers or other means of attack.

Enemy About
Cannon Kongs Stationary toys whose bodies consist of giant cannons. When a Mini enters a Cannon Kong, it gets immediately launched in the direction the enemy is currently facing. This can help traverse unskippable distances and, sometimes, crash through Rocks.
Capture Kongs Wandering toys that are equipped with a small sack, which they use to capture and disable any Mini that walks into them. Hitting a Capture Kong with Hammers will stun it and free all captured Minis. While not lethal, Capture Kongs can cause a Game Over if they capture all Minis in a level. In some cases, Capture Kongs are used to the Minis' advantage, as they are able to travel on spikes and thus ferry the Minis to a safe spot.
Circus Kongs Toys that toss Minis upward repeatedly, as if juggling. Minis can escape a Circus Kong if a surface is placed between them, or if the Kong is stunned with Hammers.
Enemies that cause damage
Enemy About
Fire Piranha Plants Stationary enemies that are stuck to various surfaces. Apart from being harmful to touch directly, they attack by spitting a single fireball, which travels in a straight line and returns into the enemy's mouth after bouncing off any opposing surface. The fireball can be blocked from re-entering the plant's mouth if a surface is placed in-between. A sliding attack or a pair of Hammers is necessary to destroy a Fire Piranha Plant.
Piranha Plants Much the same as Fire Piranha Plants, these are always fixed to a surface, injuring any Mini that touches them. However, they lack the ability to shoot fireballs. Piranha Plants can be destroyed by hitting them with Hammers or by sliding into them.
Pokeys Tall, spiky, three-segmented enemies that simply roam back and forth on a platform, with no active intent to hurt the Minis, despite being harmful to touch. They can be defeated with Hammers, by sliding into them, or by blasting into them from a cannon.
Shy Guys Stout enemies that walk from side to side, destroying the Minis if they come into direct contact. They can be defeated by using Hammers, by sliding into them, or shooting into them from a cannon.
Spikes Dangerous surfaces covering walls and platforms. Falling onto one such surface destroys the Mini. Spikes cannot be destroyed.
Thwomps Floating stone enemies that come crashing on the ground when walked directly under, even though they can notice the Minis from a few spaces afar. They signal their attack by shaking in place for roughly four seconds, then plummet forcefully on the ground, squashing any Minis walking beneath them. They are completely invincible.


Main article: List of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars stamps

Like some other Wii U games, this game features stamps. One way of getting those is by buying items in the Workshop Store. 84 stamps can be collected.[3]


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars.


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Please upload all related music, sound effects, voice clips, or any videos for this section. See the help page for information on how to get started. Specifics: 3DS and Wii U.


Main article: List of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Nintendo 3DS) staff
Main article: List of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U) staff

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese マリオvs.ドンキ—コング みんなでミニランド
Mario buiesu Donkī Kongu Minna de Mini Rando
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land with Everyone

External links[edit]


  1. ^ European box arts
  2. ^ Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars digital manual
  3. ^ Nintendo. Retrieved Feb. 27, 2015.