When characters were jumping around in the trailers for the new Mini Mario game it looked like we might have a bit more player agency this time around, perhaps harking back to the original Mario Vs Donkey Kong. Alas though, this is another straight puzzler, but it’s still a blast to play.
Mini Mario and Friends has a lot in common with the previous entry, tipping stars. It is available for Wii U and 3DS, uses the same engine and you’ll still be managing resources to guide your character to the end of the level, Lemmings style. However there are some differences, most notably, the use of Amiibo.
Mini Mario and Friends is a free game, it’s essentially a ploy by Nintendo to get you to buy their toys (or take them all out of the boxes if you’re a collector). You can use any Amiibo to play as Mini Spek, a very boring character. In order to unlock all the levels you’ll need the ones for the characters pictured above. They each unlock four levels.
The game has a lot of variety, provided you have all the Amiibos at least. It pays homage to the characters and their previous games well. In the Yoshi levels you’ll be throwing eggs around, in the Diddy Kong levels you’re riding around in mine carts. The characters are as charming and funny as ever.
The music is great, you’ll be transported back with remixes of tunes from classics like Mario Bros 2 and Yoshi’s Island, it all fits the mood of the game well.
In terms of cost though Mini Mario is a bit of a rip off. If you like collecting Amiibos then great, this is a nice little bonus. However, if you like Mini Mario but don’t like Amiibos then you’ve been shafted here – you’ll end up spending around £100 if you want to unlock all the levels.
There are sixty levels in total. Some claim to have beaten the game within an hour but really it depends how much time you want to spend with it. If you go after all the coins and collectibles, it would end up taking much longer than that.
Overall Mini Mario and Friends is a good game, definitely recommended for Amiibo fanatics. For everyone else though, it isn’t really viable in terms of cost, you may be better off visiting one of the past entries in the series.
Review by Tom Martin