Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010) Review

Platform(s): Nintendo WII
Developer(s): Retro Studios
Genre(s): Action-Adventure/Platformer
Rating: E for Everyone on the Wii


“Something shifty is going down on Donkey Kong Island… A tribe of mysterious marauders are putting some kind of musical voodoo spell on the island wildlife, and using them to make off with every banana in sight! Naturally, this doesn’t sit too well with Donkey Kong, whose personal banana horde has been ransacked. With pint-sized pad Diddy Kong on his shoulders, Donkey Kong sets out to get to the bottom of this banana burglary brouhaha.” (This is straight from Nintendo’s site)


Everything J I fully admit to loving this game from childhood but it is a great game and continues to impress on the Wii. The games consists of eight worlds and 40 levels. There are multiple features that are bound to amuse, entrance and enjoy. I’ll list a few of my favorites: What was quite amazing and lots o’ fun was barrel shooting. This feature existed back when the original came out (on SNES in 1994) yet there it is even more thorough as you can do so from a foreground to a background. (Although this is true, this is a 3D rendered game yet with 2D playing) You can then proceed forward in the background (with Donkey’s size still small - reflecting the adjustment for depth) - so absolutely neat! Amidst this barrel shooting, you can also break through walls. This has no functional purpose but is another detail-oriented visual that makes you appreciate all the work put into this game.

What makes having it on the Wii an advantage (besides the vibrant and sharp coloring, of course) is what you can do as a result of the motion sensitive controller. For Donkey Kong to pound the ground you shake the Wii-mote up and down. In addition, he can blow by holding the down arrow and shaking the Wii mote up and down. (This is needed for those Tiki monsters that are ablaze or to blow on flowers that reveal hidden treasures)

Another new and fabulous feature is Kong’s ability to hold onto any grass that covers ceilings, boulders etc. This allows for many new ways to travel (and avoid enemies) along with a newly learned, bit-of-skill-requiring boss battle.

What we all look for in games besides the fun factor, is replay value. After hours of working on a game run, what makes you want to pick it back up and play again? Donkey Kong Country features the collection of letters to spell out KONG (as was true of the first one) and puzzle pieces throughout each level you have to collect (New). Once you’ve collected each piece and reached the end of the level, all the pieces fit together to create one puzzle piece. Not certain yet what picture this puzzle is creating but I can’t wait to go back and find out! This video seems to imply that if you finish the whole level without dying, you’ll obtain both the KONG pieces and the puzzle piece yet maybe this is an interpretation issue:

I’m pretty certain that attempting to obtain all these items is enough to keep you busy for quite some time.

To add to the replay appeal, is the option to have two players. As was the case in the New Super Mario Brothers game, also on the Wii, this was a struggle as you had to pick a leader and a follower from the outset. Yet it provided many laughs and I know as a gamer, a healthy challenge is always what our pride desires. A quite helpful addition is Diddy’s stuttering jetpack. Although he cannot last long, the few seconds longer of flight time has saved my keister more than a few times

The game is not easy or hard but certainly challenging especially new the end. A helpful feature for those who may get stuck is an “auto play” feature that appears if you’ve died enough times in a level. It gives you the option to have the system play through the level for you. It will complete it and you’ll be able to move on but the world view will still show that level as if it were incomplete (hinting at you to finish it yourself!).


I have none! The only complaint I’ve heard was the inability to play with Diddy unless you are in co-op mode. If this is all there is to whine about, I’d say you have a winner!


BEST INVESTMENT OF THE YEAR (even over Christmas gift ;)) Seriously though, there seem to be no downsides with the exception of the number of hours of sleep you will not get as a result of playing.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5

sources: http://donkeykong.nintendo.com; www.youtube.com

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