The Big N is taking their first steps toward cross-buy functionality between Wii U and Nintendo 3DS with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. This new game in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series takes all the assets from its predecessors and builds upon them, while introducing new ways for players to interact online.
The same Mario vs. Donkey Kong gameplay remains intact for this new game in the series. You shape and shift the world around ‘mini’ Marios (via the touchscreen) to get them to their destination. The same basic rules you know from previous titles are at play, and you can’t deny its amusement and charm. The game doesn’t stray too far from the path of its predecessors; however, each level is uniquely crafted and will keep you playing until you inevitably have to eat, sleep, or go to work. Puzzles get tough fast, but it is a great feeling once you finally overcome them. It also never felt like a chore to collect (or re-collect) stars for online tipping, which was something I feared, and I applaud Nintendo for the great execution of this new feature.
What is online tipping you ask? It’s a key mechanic introduced in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. When completing a level, you can earn up to three stars based on your time and coins collected throughout the puzzle. After building up your earned stars, you are able to take them to the online space where you can play levels created by other players. If you enjoy a level another player has crafted, you tip them some of your stars. These stars in turn help them make more awesome levels. Same goes for levels you create: if other players like your work, they can help you continue building. It’s a bit like team work and earning a reputation.
Speaking of level creation, it’s back and features a wide array of unique tools. Magnets and cannons galore, you’ll find this MvD to have much more variety in creation devices than its predecessors. The game is also extremely easy to navigate via the 3DS touch screen and Wii U GamePad. The bigger the screen the better, so if you’re a level-creator junkie, the 2DS and original 3DS isn’t the best choice for this game.
As I mentioned at the top of my review, this is Nintendo’s first game to offer cross-buy functionality, which is hopefully a growing trend for the company. If you play the game on both Wii U and 3DS, the levels you create on either console are accessible with both systems through Nintendo’s online community, Miiverse. It’s a nice feature that certainly makes sense for the series. However, Miiverse is the only thing that connects the Wii U and 3DS versions. Any ‘story mode’ progress you make will not ‘cross-save’ with the other platform. This just a minor annoyance, but I recommend you start the game on your preferred system. Might I add, I also recommend the 3DS version the over Wii U. The 3DS’s portability comes in handy often. And while Wii U version of the game looks slightly better, it takes place almost completely on the gamepad, with very little TV screen interaction.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars insures us that this series is still just as fun and addictive as ever. Its new online ‘tipping’ system is original, and gives gamers more incentive to keep building. While Cross-Platform functionality is limited, you can’t argue with getting two games for the price of one.