Game of the Week: Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Mini-Land Mayhem puzzles it out.

Here's what we were picking from: Out This Week.

We started the week by heralding the belated arrival on British shores of Two Worlds II and could quite easily have ended it by crowning it king of games for seven days despite its rough edges, it's an ambitious and highly individual monster of an RPG and a vast improvement on the first game.

But its supposed release today was delayed a couple of weeks at the last moment and then put back some more after a shipment was "wrecked" on its way to the UK. God speed you, Two Worlds II! You'll be worth the wait.

That left us with a scrappy week of diverse but interesting new releases, some of which, for reasons too complicated and boring to go into, we haven't got around to reviewing yet. Look for our view on Square Enix's Monster Hunter hunter, Lord of Arcana, and Kalypso's keeper of the Dungeon Keeper flame Dungeons (still with me?) soon.

We did get around to the lovably exuberant if slapdash arcade racer Nail'd and pernickety Bionic Commando Rearmed 2, which somehow managed to be too retro and not retro enough at the same time.

Meanwhile, indie gem SpaceChem arrived late on our site but was rewarded with a 9/10. "Rather than sticking its fingers up your nostrils and dragging you where it wants you to go, SpaceChem tries an unorthodox approach: not doing that," wrote John Teti. It should probably have been game of whatever week it was released in (no idea).

Mario did his mini-game thing again with Mario Sports Mix but we were more interested in his mini-selves.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem

Portland, Oregon's own Jeffrey Matulef who has a moustache as impressive as Mario's, by the way took a look at this finely honed DS puzzler on its US release last year.

Mario vs. DK Mini-land Mayhem trailer

"It's expertly paced, with bite-sized levels that walk a tightrope between pull-your-hair-out maddening and knowingly easy and while it can be overwhelming and cause you to doubt yourself, it's always worth it for that moment of relief where it all slots into place," said Jeffrey. "There's no one thing Mini-Land Mayhem does that's particularly new or innovative, but it borrows the best elements of games like Lemmings, The Lost Vikings, and traditional Donkey Kong platformers to form an extremely refined puzzling adventure."

It's not the most exuberant or charming game in Mario's or Nintendo's repertoire, to be honest. But it draws on the other side to the Kyoto legend the ruthless, steely rigour married with almost sadistic invention that trains and supervises the best level designers in the entire world. For a puzzle adventure like this, there's no better pedigree.

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