For Nintendo's next "retro rebirth" we see the the classic SNES hit Donkey Kong Country return for the first time on the Wii. Ready to hit the barrel with the biggest most charming monkey in the country? Who's got the bananas?
Donkey Kong and Diddy (not to be confused with the international musical mogul, P-Diddy) make a valiant return to recover some stolen bananas. Yes, it seems a group of evil banana thieves known as the Tikis have taken control of the animals in the world and are using them to fill their own split. Donkey Kong Country Returns is nothing revolutionary, actually it was intently designed to pull on your nostalgia heart strings. Retro studios plays this one by the book and you know what? It works. In a gaming world were we expect innovation mashed into our traditional senses, sometimes it's nice to keep things simple.
Even though "simple" works, DKCR might be too simple in some respects. Sure, the gameplay is addictive and fun, however, the puzzling decision to not be able to switch between Diddy and Kong is oddly missing. It's not something that ruins the game, although I couldn't help wonder how much more interesting it would have been if Retro tried to go a little more bananas. Digressing, Donkey Kong has enough going for it to invest your time.
The controls, which are probably your biggest concerns, also work. Yet, you will still have to contend with some shaking of Wii-mote (uh!.) Aside from a few shakes, you will acting like an ape, traditional style.... well, as traditional as the Wii can be. Shaking isn't always your friend especially when you have to shake it to get over wide gaps. This can be frustrating when the controller isn't always responding quick enough. As you probably know, platforming games are all about timing and precision and one of those are missing, so as you might have guessed, things get frustrating really quick. Thankfully, DKCR doesn't have too many negative points, and if you had to pick one, that would be it.
Heading into the game you will visit several different spots that "borrow" from the classic game. The game isn't overly imaginative, but like I already mentioned, it's all about nostalgia. From dark caves to volcano, to the expected green overgrowth of the forest, DKCR has you leaping all over the landscape. Keeping thing interesting are many obstacles that try to stop your progress. However, nothing really can stop the big ape as he is persistent in his efforts of collecting. DKCR also has a few "vehicle" levels, although we really can't call a mine cart a vehicle, can we? These sections are super fun and my personal favourites in the adventure. The speed here and sense of excitement is like no other and one reason why DKCR still is relevant today.
With that in mind, this game can be very trying. Like the frustration that comes from the "waggle" the levels can get you going if you're not keeping your cool. Frustration is a part of the deal with platformers, so if you're new to the genre, expect to be annoyed from time to time. Keeping your cool is important, unlike something a little more soothing like 'Kirby's Epic Yarn,' DKCR is a little more rushed, even more so in those darn vehicle sections. Oh yea, and the rocket blasting barrels. Soar like an eagle, Donkey.
Collectibles is also a part of Kong's adventure, which extends the replay value of the game. The ellusive K-O-N-G returns along with several other elements to keep your addictive tendencies in check. Collecting everything will truly test your gaming skills and can be like little puzzles at times. Time trails are also an option, which are damn tricky as well. Speaking of tricky, there is Kong's optional co-op mode. Playing this game in co-op is fun... for the first few minutes, but it will test any friendship that tries this frustrating number in pairs. Kong is just too hard to be enjoyed like other games in co-op, although if you can prove me wrong, that's awesome. In end, it only adds value, and if that's something you're interested in, Kong is rich.
Retro's re-design of Donkey Kong Country is a major accomplishment to reignite your love for the big ape. Although before you run out a purchase Donkey Kong Country Returns keep in mind this game has an above-average difficulty level that could frustrate the little ones who might be lured in by its colourful cover art. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a gamers game, for those who don't mind replaying a section to find the collectibles, or put in some time to beat a boss or repeat a jump and few dozen times. All-in-all, this is one more triumph for Nintendo, and we are glad to have the 800 pound gorilla stomping around the Wii.
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