Red and Yellow MnM’s debuted in 1954. I felt like throwing that out there to start the review as it’s a fun fact in the game. The characters have been around longer than I would have guessed and that’s definitely pretty neat. It shows that the game will always have a history behind it. Unfortunately, this was not a very good game at all. I started to get a feel for the gameplay at the end, but it really could and should have been much better than the final product that we were given.
There is a loose plot so that’s neat. The MnM’s seem to be starship captains or something and they’re ordered to stop this mean peanut looking villain from destroying or conquering the world. To do this, they will have to travel across many different lands and defeat all kinds of strange and powerful creatures. They definitely aren’t scared of a mission like this and head off into the bold unknown to conquer it all. While there is a story, we only get an opening cutscene at the start of the game and one at the very end. It’s the bare minimum, but I’ll take what I can get here.
The gameplay is similar to Tetris except that you are the block. To eliminate other blocks, you just bump into them. Most of the blocks are color coordinated so you need to find a pipe to turn you into that color and then destroy them. Bumping all of the colored blocks will open the gate that leads to the end of the level. If you take too long, a gray skull will chase you and a single hit will mean your death. It’s like an old Mario game, but without the mushrooms. You should be prepared for complete obliteration from any contact with an enemy.
There is no way to stop as you will bounce forever. Your only good options for escaping are simply bouncing away or altering your speed. L is to slow down and R is to speed up. These techniques are crucial to completing the game so I would advise you to practice using them as soon as possible. There are also a lot of treasure chests so you can gain extra points. Every 8000 or so points will award you a new life. That’s a good thing because you don’t get any new lives otherwise. This can make some levels very hard if you happened to waste a life during the early parts of the game.
Some of the bosses are very tough to beat with a single life as you have to completely anticipate where they will move. All of the bosses have the same gameplay, their movements just differ from each other. Unlike you, they aren’t bouncing, but just fly across the screen. You have to hit their glowing weak point around 5 times and you can let them touch you while in motion. It’s fairly simple, but I still had to play one boss battle about 50 times before I finally nailed him.
One trick that I would recommend is just turning the game off if you lose a life to a boss and don’t win the fight. That way you’ll keep the life. It’s worth keeping the game on if you lose a life, but beat the boss though as you can just keep on losing levels until you earn another life through the points. I’m glad about the point system as the game could have been verrrry tedious otherwise. In a way, the no life system was just an artificial way of making the game seem longer than it is.
The length isn’t bad though as there are around 7-8 worlds and each one has 3-4 levels, which have 3-5 levels within them. This will certainly last you for a few hours, which will justify the low cost of the game. That being said, there is absolutely no replay value to be found here. Once you beat the game, your progress in the story is deleted and you get to start from scratch. I suppose that you can just play the levels again, but I don’t even count that as story mode as it is just old content with no real multiplayer features.
As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty forgettable. I wouldn’t call it a bad soundtrack, but having one or two good pieces would have gone a long way for the game. I remember the boss themes being fairly decent, but you could tell that no real thought went into it and you could easily find better music themes in every Nintendo game. Pick a random Nintendo theme from any of their games and it will probably be more memorable than this whole soundtrack. That is Nintendo though so it’s to be expected.
The graphics are decent I suppose. The Nintendo DS has never been great in that department as the sprites and character designs usually look a little stretched. That is naturally the case here as well, but it would be hard to avoid. As long as you can easily identify everything, then I’d say that the graphics are a success so I’ll give it props there. It won’t be earning the game any points, but it won’t hurt the title either.
Overall, I got this game for around 2-4 dollars so I would say that it was completely worth the purchase. I’d probably be upset if I had gotten it for something like 20 though so I’m glad that didn’t happen. I was thinking of giving the game a 4 when I first started it, but then I played the game more and as I mentioned earlier, it grew on me. I had to play some levels dozens of times and yet I kept on going. It’s the kind of game where you don’t mind losing a whole lot. Like Flappy Bird in a sense. The losses don’t really frustrate you after a while and you just want to keep on challenging the level until you win. It’s one of the reasons why the Mario games do so well. It helps that the levels are decently short, I believe that the timer is set to a minute or two, so that’s how long each level would likely be. I may be lowballing that though as it’s just an estimate. 3-4 minutes could be a tad more accurate. If you see this game in stores, I’d recommend checking it out. At the current low price, it’s worth the purchase. This isn’t a great game and it’s not even as good as the standard title (7) but if you want to use up some hours on a decently short game, this one is as good as any. At the very least, you will actually find it to be decently challenging even if some of the bosses are a little fake. (Not showing any color so it’s literally impossible to injure them) Some nice irony is that the final boss is weaker than the rest of the villains in this game. I only have a few more MnM games to go and then I’ll be completely caught up!