Few Nintendo DS franchises have gotten the love of Mario Minis. Mini-Land Mayhem is the third in the series that has you directing wind up mini Marios around 2D puzzle levels.
This time the action is all about moving girders to create ramps and direct the minis to where you want them to go: at least, that was the focus of the first of the eight levels in the version of the game on show at E3.
As before, you tap the mini Marios to start them running. They head off in the direction they're facing, and keep going until they hit an obstacle, typically reversing their direction at a wall or another mini.
Such a collision will get that other mini moving, too, creating plenty of opportunities for complex interactions between minis and obstacles.
Your mission is to get them into the end of level door, or in some cases the correct coloured door, or in others get a mini with a key to open the locked door so the others can parade through behind.
Additional points can be gained depending on how many times you move girders around the level, with positive and negative points being awarded for removing and replacing girders respectively.
Tapping on any rivet point will remove girders attached to it, while drawing a line between any two rivets will fix a girder between them, as long as you have enough distance in your girder inventory.
In many cases, the levels in Mini-Land Mayhem are a case of thinking laterally and experimenting. There's no time limit so you can make mistakes as long as you don't drop any of your minis on spikes or they collide with an enemy. Then it's Game Over, although, in the latter case, you can pick hammer power-ups to make your way through such travails.
Obviously things do get more difficult, especially in the Donkey Kong boss levels.
In the first one you have to direct three minis to certain locations on the level to give Donkey Kong an electric shock via a button each presses. He, however, has his own button to press, which randomly shakes up the rivets you can use to build the ramps required to get your minis into place. He also drops barrels on the little fellas, while a time limit keeps you moving.
Each set of levels also contains a bonus mini-game, such as directing falling barrels into boxes with girders. Each box rewards you with a different number of points.
And there's a fully featured Construction mode, whereby you can create you own levels to play, as well as upload and share (at least, that's what we'd imagine would be the case).
So it seems like Mini-Land Mayhem is an evolution not a revolution in terms of what we've seen before from the series - lots more solid action puzzling, then.