Before Minis on the Move arrived in the eShop last week, the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games focused on the brave plumber's fight against his former arcade nemesis, using wind-up toys and cunning savvy to get through the ape's traps and eventually prevail. But with this game, they've seemed to have settled their rivalry, with a "place the proper tiles here" sort of puzzle game instead. While we miss the old days of Versus, Minis on the Move is a sufficient fill-in – and a swell time-waster for ten bucks.
In the game, you've got a variety of puzzles that require you to place tiles in specific places as a wind-up Mario scurries about. If you don't put the pieces into the right place, he'll walk off the edge or, worse yet, into a bed of spikes. Along the way, you can pick up a series of coins littered on each stage. Getting all three earns you a perfect rating, allowing you to unlock minigames to play on the side.
Early stages in the game are simple enough, so you can get a hang of the controls and the tile drop system. (Word of advice: don't let them stack too high, or it's game over.) But as Minis on the Move progresses, things change significantly, with moving walkways and other dangers. It's enough to keep you interested in the long run, until you finagle a perfect rating out of each stage.
The gameplay is excellent, though there are times the odds might be too much in your favor, especially with the tiles stacking up as quickly as they do. It's a suitable challenge for those who like puzzle games, though, and the later stages are quite good when it comes to picking your brain.
However, the minigames could've used a little more diversity. They're average time wasters at best that you'll likely spend only a few minutes on before returning to the main part of the game. We wish there were more games based around classic NES games, not newfangled touchscreen mush.
Graphically, Minis on the Move is a colorful delight. The 3D stages really pop out at you, and it's fun watching little Mario scamper about as he gets to the goal and launches into his happy dance. The backgrounds could've used more diversity, but they're firmly placed in the Mario universe, so fans should be happy.
Likewise, the music doesn't scream "different," but it works here. The Mario themes have been remixed a bit, so you'll sense something familiar, yet new. It's fun to listen to, though it grows repetitive after a while.
While we prefer the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games of old (there's just something about one guy versus a big ape, no matter the circumstances), Minis on the Move is an entertaining addition to your virtual game library, especially if you're up for something to test your touchscreen skills. Wind 'er up and play to your heart's content.