Donkey Kong Country Returns Review

Gee, what a long title! Anyway, Donkey Kong is back in beautiful 3D side scrolling glory. Now developed by Nintendo’s Retro Studios (So long Rare) developers of the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime series. A reboot to Donkey Kong in many ways, brings him back to the root of his best video game, and one of the best games off all time in my opinion, Donkey Kong Country. Donkey Kong is easily one of my favorite Nintendo characters, and it’s glad to have him back!

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This game instantly slapped me with nostalgia the second I started the game. I was not expecting all of these remixes from the original game. The original game has some of my favorite video game music ever. The first stage kind of starts off like a homage to the original game and it’s freaking sweet. But as you get deeper you find out this is it’s own game and gets it’s own identity from the original.

The story in this game is quite simple. Apparently some evil floating Tiki’s are taking over control of the island and their inhabitants. Did I mention they’re also stealing all of the islands bananas for some devious plot? Well, Donkey Kong and his bad ass self doesn’t appreciate it one bit! Impervious to the the Tiki’s mind control he rages and pounds his chest and sets out on an adventure to get his precious bananas back with his best friend, and sidekick Diddy Kong.

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Now Diddy Kong is back with his usual moves from the original but now packing a jet pack from Donkey Kong 64 and it’s really useful in this game. Donkey Kong has two hearts for life, and breaking Diddy out of a barrel to join you gains you two extra hearts. Once Diddy is hurt from his two hearts it’s back to just Donkey Kong, and by himself the game is a bit more challenging. Good thing barrels of Diddy Kong are placed strategically where he is needed most. But you’ll be losing Diddy a lot if you’re playing single player. What do I mean? Well, this game is quite challenging and is made for the old school, hard core gamer. I have to admit, it gave me a challenge.

It takes a while to get use the weight, physics and control of Donkey Kong. It’s kind of hard to explain and you have to play it to know what I mean. But once you get the hang of it the game becomes a lot easier.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t die I hell lot of times. The mine cart levels, and these flying engine barrel levels are exceedingly difficult. These stages absolutely punished me for being human and I would die sometimes 20 times in a row.

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The mine cart stages are pretty much what you expect from a side scroller. Except they’re very fast and you need to be INCREDIBLY fast with reflexes and memory if you want to make it out alive. It’s quite a rush. The flying engine barrel levels are even more challenging. They consist of Donkey Kong jumping into a barrel that has a flying engine in it and you fly through the stage. Sounds cool right? Well you cant control it directly in the side scrolling stages. You can only use the A button and pressing A makes Donkey Kong accelerate higher and not pressing it makes Donkey Kong fall to his death. You have to keep a proper tapping on the A button to dodge the many obstacle you’ll pass. I cursed at my tv, many, many times.

To those of you who think the difficulty will put you off, don’t be alarmed. The game gave me such a good feeling of accomplishment after beating each stage. I felt great after busting my ass through a stage 20 times to finally master it. Also if you fail enough times you have the option for Super Kong who beats the stage for you but you don’t get any of the items in the stage.

Besides those unique levels the standard platforming levels are genius. They’re crafted sublimely and each stage. The level design is some of the best I’ve played. I never felt like I was doing the same thing too often because there is so much variety in all of the levels. I just wish there was more stages where you can ride the Rhino in the main story. I can only hope they put more in the sequel because it was incredibly fun.

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The game is a pretty long adventure. It took me over 10-12 hours. That’s without 100 percent. There are still hidden stages and collectibles like collecting all of the KONG letters within a stage. Not to mention there is a Co-op option which I have yet to try.

It’s an amazing game and any serious gamer with a Nintendo Wii should pick this game up. It’s fantastic. It has gorgeous graphics. It’s one of the most perfect looking games on the wii. It’s colorful, bright, vibrant, and has almost no jaggies. There are a lot of cool graphical things done through out the stages that made me go wow. For a Donkey Kong game the stages are quite cinematic at many points. Also the music mixes a lot of old school with a lot of new tunes melding a great sound. A lot of the nostalgic sound, gameplay and good ol’ fun will put a big smile on your face.

Overall 9/10

PS. I really hope in the sequel Donkey Kong is still the main character. Lets not repeat the SNES era.

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