I started playing Mario Land Mini Mayhem on a plane, which is one of my favorite places to play portable games. There's something about putting on the headphones, shutting out that airplane noise, and just enjoying escaping from what would otherwise be a rather boring journey. If the flight isn't long enough for movies, that's my favorite way to kill time. Well, short of joining the mile high club with my wife and a couple of stewardesses in a first class bedroom on an international flight to somewhere awesome, but hey...I like to set my expectations realistically.
Anyway, after playing for most of the flight, I was definitely hooked on this one.
This is another in the "Minis" series of games, which somehow...I still don't own any of. This seems like a crime against gaming, so if I don't get any for Christmas this year, I'm totally buying them all myself. I played number 2 earlier this year on a road trip with my friend John, and I loved it.
The gameplay in this one is the same as the last "Minis" game. It reminds me a lot of Lemmings. As the name "Minis" might imply, you don't actually control Mario here. Instead...you control a bunch of Minis. These little guys look just like Mario, but they only walk in a straight line, and you need to use the environment and special objects to help them change direction. Eventually, you are trying to lead them to a door at the end of the stage, all while collecting special items along the way. A lot like Lemmings, but with many twists that make it awesome.
The gameplay is fantastic and there are a ton of fun puzzles. You try to collect all the items in enough time while you’re trying to get to the door of each level. Do all this fast enough and you'll win a trophy. Get all the trophies and you get a mini-game unlocked for each level. There are also boss fights. In each of those, you'll have 8 lives and need to climb up ladders to meet Donkey Kong and knock him off his platform. Just like the old days, he's got your girlfriend Pauline (the one before Peach). I don't know if it's the actress they used or the way they draw her, but she's the hottest "Mario girlfriend" of all of them...and you definitely want to save her from the giant monkey.
When you're not off saving the world, you can also construct your own levels. I tried doing this, but honestly...I didn't spend much time with it. I just wanted to play the campaign and keep on trying the puzzles and boss battles that were waiting for me there. I could have returned it in a mailbox at the airport after my plane ride, but I ended up playing the game some more in the cell phone lot and again the next morning before everyone at my sister's house woke up. I am totally hooked on this game, and almost bought it from Gamefly.
Overall Score? 9/10. Fantastic. The only reason I didn't buy it is I still have more than 30 titles to go before the end of the year and just as many days to do it in. I'm not going to have time to play many repeat games, and so there's no sense in buying something right now to have it sit. Besides, games go down in price, not up...so it'll be cheaper by the time I have the free time to play it. Needless to say...it's awesome, and I want it in my library.