Table of Contents
When Nintendo first announced a remake of the 2004 Game Boy Advance classic Mario vs. Donkey Kong during September 2023, excitement immediately began building amongst longtime fans. This would mark the first new entry in the sub-series since Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars on the 3DS and Wii U back in 2015.
Additionally, it has been almost 20 years since the original Mario vs. Donkey Kong brought back the 1981 Donkey Kong arcade-style gameplay. With the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie generating more interest in the mascot and his friends and foes, the timing could not be better for Mario and Donkey Kong’s rivalry to make a triumphant return on Nintendo’s hit console.
What is the Mario vs Donkey Kong release date?
The Mario vs Donkey Kong remake is expected to be released on February 16, 2024. Fans hoping Mario vs. Donkey Kong would usher in a revival of the old-school arcade Donkey Kong titles had their wish granted when Nintendo announced a full remake for their red-hot Nintendo Switch console.
Reimagining a Handheld Classic
Mario vs. Donkey Kong was originally released in North America on June 6, 2004. The game played like a spiritual successor to 1994’s Donkey Kong on Game Boy, which had been celebrated for recreating the movement and precise jumps of the arcade original. Both games tasked Mario with climbing up platforms while avoiding hazards like barrels and enemy attacks. The key difference in Mario vs. Donkey Kong was the ability to pick up, carry, and throw a variety of items for the first time, adding an extra layer of strategy.
Another new twist was the premise. Here, Donkey Kong had gotten his hands on some Mini Mario toys and made off with them! Players took control of an angry Mario chasing him down through over 100 stages spread across 8 worlds, all to get those mini figures back. The mini figures also served a gameplay function, as each level required guiding them from a start point to the goal without losing any along the way. It made for a satisfying experience whether playing for the personal challenge or just to progress the lighthearted story.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong received positive reviews at launch for returning to a beloved play style after the puzzler spin-offs of the Donkey Kong Land series. Selling over 430,000 copies in the United States alone, it ended 2004 as the 11th bestselling Game Boy Advance title. This also made it more popular than the console Mario platformers Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3 that same year. Critics praised the addictive level designs, smart enemy placement demanding precision jumps and item throwing, and the watchability lent by the detailed sprite work.
Updating the Visuals and Gameplay
The remake will feature Mario, Donkey Kong, the Mini Marios and all their 2004 Game Boy Advance glory but updated visually for modern times. Here are some of the key features that you can find in Mario vs Donkey King 2023. The developers have tried their best to make it similar to Mario vs Donkey King Original, but with a better experience.
· New 3D World
The pre-rendered sprite work has been replaced with smooth 3D models and animations taking clear inspiration from 2013’s Super Mario 3D World. Throwing and climbing animations look particularly fluid and satisfying based on early footage. The colors pop with vibrancy we never could have seen on original GBA screens, and lighting effects like sunshine gleaming off keys and pulsing lava flows make the presentation that much more dynamic.
· Better Controls
Most importantly, the sharp controls and level designs that made Mario vs. Donkey Kong so addictive to play look preserved. Tightrope walking across beams while dodging fireball blasts from Tane Pakkun still requires perfect timing of jumps and handstands over gaps. Carefully piling Shy Guys on top of one another to create makeshift stair steps is still key in certain areas.
Chucking hapless RamRams into nearby Ninjis or Snapjaws continues eliciting giggles as their flailing bodies soar through the air. Some item throwing physics even look slightly floatier than the original, allowing for potential strategy shake-ups.
The only gameplay changes definitively announced so far is the addition of local co-op multiplayer. Players can now choose to take control of Mario or Toad, working together to grab collectibles and guide Mini Marios to level goals. Coordinating to set up and throw one another or quickly building staircases and passing keys between characters looks to add even more replayability.
· Changes in Voice Cast
One interesting change for longtime Mario fans lies in the voice cast. With Charles Martinet retiring from the role of Mario after Super Mario Bros. Wonder, his classic voice clips would not be usable for a brand-new 2024 game. However, the Mario vs. Donkey Kong announcement confirmed archival recordings of Martinet as Mario will be repurposed.
This allows his iconic video game voice that many fans grew up with to live on. Current Donkey Kong actor Takashi Nagasako re-recorded lines for the temperamental gorilla rather than reusing old clips. Perhaps these hints at Donkey Kong having a more prominent speaking role?
Mario First Met Donkey Kong in 1981
To appreciate why the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series remains so popular today, it helps to examine the history behind gaming’s most famous rivalry. Mario and Donkey Kong first crossed paths in 1981 when Nintendo launched the Donkey Kong arcade cabinet. In this era before the developers officially named “Mario” anything, Jumpman was out to rescue Lady (Pauline) from the clutches of the barrel-tossing ape. Little did those first players depositing their quarters know they were witnessing the birth of the future mascot for one of the most prolific gaming companies ever.
Donkey Kong’s massive success spawned several sequels continuing Jumpman and Lady’s struggle against DK and son:
- Donkey Kong Junior (1982)
- Donkey Kong 3 (1983)
- Donkey Kong Jr. Math (1983)
The ape eventually settled his beef with the overalls-wearing plumber. So much so that when Mario needed a break from rescuing Princess Peach beginning in 1994, Donkey Kong happily took his place as hero in the Donkey Kong Land trilogy on Game Boy. Of course, almost killing Mario via barrel 10 years earlier was not getting totally brushed aside. Cranky Kong refers to Mario as “that darn guy that jumped over my barrels” when he appears in Donkey Kong Country. Their rivalry clearly added some spice to DK franchise lore long after that fateful first meeting.
This eventually culminated in Mario vs. Donkey Kong on GBA pulling the two popular characters back into direct competition, much to fans’ delight. Both have evolved so much since 1981 in terms of personality, abilities, and place within Nintendo’s library of icons. Yet putting Mario head-to-head against his first-ever villain never gets old.
With DK having enjoyed revived popularity via the Jungle Beat games and Mario continuing to star in 3D adventures, that dynamic duo driving initial arcade success had not been truly reunited in the spotlight for some time. Their history together just heightens the novelty of once again seeing Mario’s platforming prowess pit against Donkey Kong’s hulking strength.
The success of Mario vs. Donkey Kong on GBA combined with 2005’s King of Swing and 2007’s March of the Minis spawned an entire sub-series that continued experimenting with the core mechanics. Whether navigating obstacle courses or engaging in Lemmings-style puzzles, the Mini Mario toys became stars alongside the big guy searching for them. After nearly a decade with no new entries post-Tipping Stars, the Switch remake has the perfect opportunity to re-engage that fan base while drawing in a new generation based on Mario’s current ubiquity.
Potential Synergy with the Mario Movie
Beyond reliving fond Mario vs. Donkey Kong memories, the 2024 Switch remake’s timing lines up with another major event that could turbo boost its visibility. Universal Pictures is set to release their hotly anticipated Super Mario Bros. animated film on April 7, 2023. So far fans have been receptive to the art direction and casting like Chris Pratt as Mario, Charlie Day as Luigi, and Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong. Nintendo is clearly hoping to capitalize on this global spotlight by promoting Mario’s games more aggressively. In other words, Mario vs Donkey King Mario Movie will play a major role behind the popularity of the game.
In 2022 Nintendo began adding special movie-themed costumes and references to titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Nintendo Switch Sports. 2023 will take this synergy further with games like Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, the Wii U port Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, and most likely Mario vs. Donkey Kong in 2024. The movie promises to further boost Mario’s popularity, which always drives interest back to his original home on Nintendo consoles. New and lapsed gamers hooked by his film adventure may see the Switch remake as the perfect introduction to Mario’s side-scrolling roots and history with Donkey Kong.
The involvement of illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri with both the movie and games like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle already confirms an active sharing of assets and ideas. This cooperation makes explicit Mario movie references or content in Mario vs. Donkey Kong more likely than ever. We could see Pratt’s Mario voice clips, movie-inspired outfits for the characters, a level based on New Donk City, or who knows what else!
Why was the Mario Movie Got Delayed?
While the Mario film was delayed from its original planned release in December 2022, that extra development time looks to benefit synergistic games like Mario vs. Donkey Kong. More production materials around costumes, voices, music, locations, and characters can be shared with Nintendo’s development partners. Rather than rushing to cram in movie references and miss potential sales from theatrical viewers, these games can now fine tune the integration. Mario vs. Donkey Kong as a smaller title compared to the massive Super Mario Odyssey 2 has added flexibility.
The key point remains that Mario vs Donkey Kong GBA game hype will reach new peaks in 2023. Mario vs. Donkey Kong releasing so shortly after in early 2024 is perfectly positioned to capitalize. Fans will have renewed enthusiasm for Mario’s history with Donkey Kong following their movie banter and clash.
Their curiosity will drive sales above what a random nostalgic remake may otherwise achieve. Disney consistently proves the effectiveness of this self-sustaining hype cycle across theatrical films, merchandise, games, theme parks, and more. Nintendo rarely plays the synergy game openly, but the Mario movie changes that. 2024 looks to be the Year of Mario, with his remake rivalry against Donkey Kong turning up the heat.
The Future Looks Bright for Mario vs. Donkey Kong
From its surprise reveal during a jam-packed September Direct to build up anticipation over the next five months, Nintendo is clearly banking on Mario vs Donkey Kong Switch release to succeed. It checks all the right boxes as a sought-after remake, reintroduces an acclaimed retro play style, and benefits Mario possibly reaching his peak popularity ever simultaneously. While light on details currently, the foundation looks incredibly strong for this updated rendition of a portable classic.
Longtime Mario vs. Donkey Kong devotees have waited nearly a full decade for the series to come back. This Switch remake is poised to make that glorious homecoming well worth that wait. A blend of nostalgia and modernization alongside multiplayer innovation has all the makings of a game to please across generations. If even a fraction of the newfound Mario fans generated by his upcoming film give this remake a shot too, it could drive interest in more retro revivals down the road.
Perhaps most importantly, Mario vs. Donkey Kong stands to introduce elements of Mario’s earliest adventures vs. Donkey Kong to young gamers. It pays homage to the 1981 cabinet many of their parents, or even grandparents, experienced growing up. Passing down gaming history helps contextualize characters many only know currently via memes or merch. The stage is perfectly set for the hottest rivalry in Nintendo history to captivate imaginations all over again.
For more information about Mario vs. Donkey Kong, including the most recent news and tips for winning the game, see the blog.
Also if you’re interested in earning with Electronic First as soon as today, check out our affiliate program. You can share your link with friends, family or anyone. Sign up today to reap the rewards!