For the month before the 3DS and Wii U eShops close for new purchases on 27th March, each day we’re going to highlight a specific eShop game for one of those consoles and give a short pitch as to why we think it deserves your love and attention — before it’s too late. The chance to add these to your library will be gone for good soon and, for one reason or another, these eShop-exclusives are close to our hearts.

Today, Jim nominates Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, an action puzzler starring everyone’s favourite plumber and ape combo.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. For a title that lengthy, this is a surprisingly snappy game.

Who made it?

Nintendo Software Technology was the developer behind this one. Having developed every title in the Mario vs. DK series since its inception back in the GBA days, it seemed only fitting.

What’s the premise?

It’s your standard Mario affair: there’s an evil gorilla and a captured princess, it’s your job to stop him and save her. Simple, right? Ah, we nearly forgot to mention that this is your standard Mario if that game had been introduced to the Lemmings.

Like its predecessors in the series, this entry sees you manipulating the environment around a number of clockwork Mario characters to help them get from A to B without being spiked, dropped, or crushed along the way. You’ll be moving platforms, diverting enemies, and collecting coins to complete levels in the best way possible, all while accompanied by some musical blasts from Mario’s past.


Why should I play it?

There weren’t all that many titles out there to make full use of the Wii U’s Gamepad, but this is most definitely one of them. Worry not about how the game looks on the big screen for you will be spending most of your time planning your moves with the console’s touch controls and watching them succeed (or fail) in real-time.

The balance between success and failure is a path well-trodden in this game. While the initial levels might seem a little easy for those who consider themselves a “certified gamer” (or indeed anyone who has played a Lemmings-style game before), the amount of challenge soon ramps up so you will be moving traffic all over the place just to get your clockwork machines to their desired goal.

Much like many of the recent Mario titles, the replayability is genuinely a huge draw here. Completing the level unscathed is one thing, but with a big shiny ‘M Coin’ to be collected on each level, there is a lot to do for people that really fancy that extra challenge.

It’s true, the initial draw of being able to share your puzzling creations with other players is now defunct thanks to the Miiverse closing up shop, but there is still a lot of fun to be found in the base game meaning that Tipping Stars is by no means broken by this loss.

How much is it?

$19.99USD / £17.99 / 19,99€, which gets you the game on 3DS, too. Yay for cross-buy!

While the handheld console might offer a level of portability that the Wii U cannot, we’d say that the bigger screen is a huge bonus for the pixel-perfect puzzling.


Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (391 Posts)

Todd Friedman is heavily involved in the retro gaming community and has co-promoted the Video Game Summit in Chicago, IL for the past 16 years. He also has published 2 books and written for various different gaming magazines including Old School Gamer.