Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Top Critic Average
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is a worthy entry to the series that'll appeal to existing fans and creative souls alike.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is very reminiscent of Lemmings, as the goal is to guide Mario and friends through levels by manipulating objects around them, instead of directly controlling them. Creating inventive ways to avoid hazards and collect coins make each level a challenging, but endearing, experience. The ranking system is well crafted to make the game appealing to both casual and competitive gamers. Creating new levels in the workshop mode and then sharing them online adds further replay value to a game that is already rich in content. The whole package is presented with beautiful visuals and an incredible soundtrack to create something that should not be missed.
I see myself getting a ton of mileage out the Workshop and Community options, which should keep me engaged for quite a while longer. If you are novice at puzzlers, Tipping Stars might be the game for you. Veterans will have to give this one a hard look, as it might only please them in the latter half of the journey.
Unlike previous Mario vs Donkey Kong games, which were mostly effortless recommendations, Tipping Stars is a game where the recommendation comes with a lot of caveats. As long as you keep those in mind, and keep your expectations tempered, there is no reason to not get the game at all. For what it is, Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is well made and a lot of fun.
The best part of playing Tipping Stars is finding a devilishly clever community-made level to enjoy, but is that good enough? The basic gameplay in this entry just seems uninspired, especially its main campaign. It feels like Nintendo's famed devotion to fun first is simply missing from the game, which merely ports a too-familiar formula to new devices. It's time to just let these lemmings jump off the cliff.
Tipping Stars is just about what you'd expect from a modern Mario vs. Donkey Kong title: unique, fun in short bursts, and inexpensive—but nevertheless, nothing terribly exciting. Although it certainly is the product of Nintendo's B-game (in contrast to the blockbuster, irresistibly creative products it's known for churning out elsewhere), it's a nifty $20 distraction that does include a respectably versatile level designer and affiliated online sharing system.
Removing "what", limiting "where," and focusing on "when" limits what can really be done in the main stages. The minimal "storytelling" that wraps the main game suggests where the developers wanted the focus to be: in the experimentation and design of the Workshop and in the sharing of the Community. That other stuff? Just a tech demo.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars might not be the smash-hit the Wii U needs to lift its sluggish sales figures and lacks the graphical flourishes we've seen in other Nintendo first-party software, but for pre-existing fans of the series and puzzle-lovers alike it's sure to provide more than its fair share of entertainment. Besting all of the single-player stages is no mean feat, but its the level creation tool - along with the online community which accompanies it - that are certain to make this a release which continues to attract attention months if not years from now.
Charming and inventive, "Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars" is one of the best sequels to own in 2015 on the 3DS and one of the most enjoyable Wii U games you can play with kids and friends. With a top-notch level editor, it's never been more fun to jump right into a game and discover what makes it so great.
The level editor is an excellent choice to add to the game and the possibility to download its version released for the other console upon purchase is a welcoming sign from Nintendo. It could improve, though, by showing more original content when compared to its predecessors.
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