Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (JP) is the sixth installment in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS released in 2015 and the first game in the series to be released on a home console. The game is a follow-up to Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! and shares elements with most of the series, including navigating a number of Minis to their exits and allowing players to build their own levels. Players were able to share custom stages through Miiverse until it was shut down in November 2017. The focus of the game are the stars, which form a reward earned in accordance to how the player performs in levels. They are used to tip other players for their shared stages or unlock parts and new Minis for custom levels in the Workshop Store. The game is digital-only except in Japan. Game cases with download codes are sold in Europe. The Wii U version requires 0.93 GB of memory to be installed, and the Nintendo 3DS version requires 3,200 blocks.
The game supports a form of cross-platform play, where if one version of the game is bought off the Nintendo eShop, the buyer receives a free download code of the other version. Levels can be shared between the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U versions of the game.
This is a puzzle game similar to the other Mario vs Donkey Kong games. The Minis are Mini Mario, Mini Luigi, Mini Toad, Mini Kong, Mini Pauline, and Mini Peach must be guided to the end of each level by connecting vertices with lines drawn on either the Nintendo 3DS touchscreen or Wii U GamePad to create ramps or bridges to help the toys cross gaps or avoid hazards.
Every last level has a Cursed Mini Mario in which the player will need to guide the marching toy character, as Cursed Mini Mario can't enter the Goal Door. Each level the player complete rewards the player with stars, which can either used to reward players online with more stars or buy parts for making levels of their own. Tipping players will reward the player with stamps.
Each world has 8 levels.
- Rolling Hills
- Jumpy Jungle
- Runaway Warehouse
- Crumbling Cavern
- Dashing Desert
- Twilight Valley
Development and release
- Level D-1, which would be shipped with the release version as Level 1-1.
- Level D-2, which would be shipped with the release version as Level 2-1.
- Level D-3, which would be slightly modified and shipped with the release version as Level B-7.
- Level D-4, which would be released post-launch as an official Nintendo level in the online community.
Later before E3 2014, Nintendo confirmed through a video presentation that the game would be launched on Wii U in early 2015. This was followed on January 2015 by the unveiling of the game's final title and release dates, as well as the Nintendo 3DS version and the cross-buy promotion between versions.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars was unanimously said to deliver a challenging and worthwhile gameplay experience, even though it does not renew the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series in any significant way. Metacritic gives a metascore of 70/100 on Wii U based on 26 critic reviews and 70/100 on the 3DS based on 15 critic reviews.
In reference to its lack of innovation, Brendan Graeber of IGN evoked the disappointment players who have played previous titles from the series would have with the new game. Although he did acknowledge the new Cursed Mini Mario mechanic as "the highlight of Tipping Stars’ meager innovations," he added that it does not contribute much to the gameplay. Conversely, Graeber appreciated the rich content of the game, including the plethora of levels, the substantial level editor, and the "new and improved" community hub where players could share their created levels. He likewise regarded the in-game practice of earning and tipping stars to other players as a "brilliant model", although only in theory. He explained that the community was profuse in short levels that allowed players to obtain stars quickly, considering it disadvantaged the "many smart amateur level designers out there who [had spent] their time crafting challenging and creative levels for us to play."
Alex Olney of Nintendo Life offered a more positive review of the game, in which he praised the game's online service for having "a slick, easy-to-use interface," opposing it to Pushmo Worlds. He also emphasised on the ease of finding levels in the community, praising Nintendo for the "awful lot of thought" they put into such a modern online experience. Apart from the gameplay which he described as solid, Olney referred to the game's presentation and graphics as pleasant. In a separate review of the Nintendo 3DS version, he presented the game's SpotPass and StreetPass advantages, and noted the portability of this version over the Wii U version as well.
Damien McFerran of TrustedReviews stated that Nintendo was "surprisingly forward-thinking" with the utilisation of online features and appreciated how the Miiverse integration creates a "community feel." He considered the single-player mode to be only part of the complete experience, built to keep average players busy for a while before attempting to create and share their own levels. He admonished the graphical aspect of the game, stating that it is rather reminiscent of customary mobile phone games, but noted the soundtrack as "uniformly superb."
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- This is the first Nintendo-published title to support a cross-purchase concept.
- This is the first Nintendo 3DS title to support Miiverse stamps.
- Cross-buy means that a single purchase on either the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS eShop allows the user to download the game on both devices.
- Cross-play means that the user's saved progress and user-created levels will appear on both devices.
- European box art
- Karmali, Luke (March 21, 2014). GDC: Mario vs. Donkey Kong for Wii U Surfaces. IGN. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
- GameXplain (March 19, 2014). Mario vs. Donkey Kong Wii U - GDC Web Framework Demo (video feed). YouTube. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
- Nintendo (June 10, 2014). Wii U - Mario vs. Donkey Kong E3 2014 Announcement Trailer. YouTube. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- Campbell, Evan (June 10, 2014). Mario vs. Donkey Kong Coming to Wii U. IGN. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
- Calvert, Darren (January 14, 2015). Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars Due in March and Will be Cross-Buy on Wii U and 3DS. Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- Graeber, Brendan (March 12, 2015). Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars Review. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Olney, Alex (March 5, 2015). Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U eShop). Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Olney, Alex (March 5, 2015). Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS eShop). Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- McFerran, Damien (October 5, 2016). Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars Review. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Official North American website
- Official European website
- Official Japanese website
- Nintendo Direct 1.14.2015