How times change. Minis On The Move isn’t the first time Nintendo’s puzzling offshoot has debuted on a download service – that honour goes to 2009’s Minis March Again – but two or three years ago a game this generous would almost certainly have got the full retail treatment. Instead, it’s been given a sensibly priced eShop launch, and has subtly reinvented itself in the process.
The gentle puzzle-platforming of previous games has been replaced by a combination of PipeMania and Lemmings, as clockwork toys toddle automatically down paths created by tiles you place, twist or slide, collecting tokens on their way to the exit. Mario’s Main Event adds pressure by placing falling tiles into a pipe that explodes if allowed to overflow, while the frantic Many Mini Mayhem tasks you with guiding multiple toys by sliding pieces and rotating pivots. Puzzle Palace is the pick of the bunch, prizing a slower, more considered approach by giving you a limited supply of tiles to create a route to the finish. Finally, Giant Jungle escapes the single-screen confines of the other three modes to offer a fearsome, expansive challenge.
A stage editor and a suite of minigames fill out a substantial package, a destructive riff on the late Kenji Eno’s You, Me, And The Cubes the highlight of the latter. Only a sense of familiarity dogs an otherwise engaging diversion: the Minis cover a lot of ground in these 180 levels, but at times it’s well-worn territory they’re walking.