The puzzles are anything but challenging so far. The story isn't anything to care about. What I've seen so far is competent, and fine for passing time, but it isn't knocking my socks off.
One curious feature in the menus: a GameBoy Player (for GameCube) graphics mode. I'll try to check this out on my GBP tomorrow, but the only difference I can see is that the graphics, in particular the backgrounds, are more muted when in GameBoy Player mode. Anyone have more ideas on what this is doing? I'm hoping for a custom border around the GBP screen or something, like the original Donkey Kong for GameBoy when played on the Super GameBoy on SNES.
I had read somewhere that Mario vs. Donkey Kong was actually handled by Nintend0 Software Technologies, Nintendo's put-upon U.S. development branch. Kind of a tough place to be, I'd think.
A lot of people seemed to like Mario vs. Donkey Kong, but it never really appealed to me, pretty much for the same reasons you describe.
The power-up screen says "Nintendo Software Technologies". I don't know why they're put-upon, however. Is there some story there?
If you didn't play the GameBoy version from '94, then this game probably seems really great. That's what I figure happened to most reviewers.
I did notice, reading the manual today, that there are six worlds after the first six which are supposed to be tougher. And if you beat those, there are expert worlds beyond that. Perhaps the really interesting twists are late in the game.