in Review

DK Checks In

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Yeah, this has been out for awhile but seeing that it was a Christmas gift, I wanted to wait till I’d played through it a bit. Unfortunately I went back to school (minus my Wii) before finishing it, but I think I’ve played it enough to come to a reasonably fair conclusion, that it’s awesome.

First of all for those who don’t know, the original Donkey Kong Country is one of my all-time favorite games, were talking like top three. The two sequels, although disappointing due to the absence of DK, were quite enjoyable as well, but then there was nothing… Until now, yes a true return to form for the classic side-scroller series that’s been worth the wait.

Before I dive into this jungle of fun, let me give you a brief overview of the plot, not that it’s important in a game like this. So DK and Diddy are just chillin’ when these evil Tikis known as the “Tiki Tak Tribe”, come along and start hypnotizing animals and steal DK’s coveted Banana hoard. That’s some deep shit right? So there’s no more Kremlins (the original antagonists of the series), but when a game is this exciting, I don’t mind a few changes to the formula. I mean you want to differentiate this from the original to some extent, that was like 16 years ago and In my eyes, almost every change/addition that’s been made was for the best.

Despite owning a Wii, I’ve never been much of a fan of shaking my wrist all around like Michael J. Fox, (I’m so sorry for that remark) but in Donkey Kong Country Returns, it just flows so smoothly like an extension of your body. New features made possible by the Wii-mote include; ground pounding, blowing out flowers/flames, and if your Diddy Kong, a jet pack and peanut gun. Which reminds me, if you’re going to play this game “Play it with a friend.” The multiplayer now resembles a style that’s very much akin to the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, with both characters moving completely independently across treacherous stages and boss battles, hilarity ensues.

Really, my only complaint is that it doesn’t have the same kind of atmosphere that the original achieved. Sure the new one is light hearted, bright, and colorful, but I was always impressed by the serene, sometimes even moody tone of the original. The music and photo realistic backgrounds somehow made a game about an ape with a tie, well real. The new one is your typical Wii tone, bright and cheery and though it uses most of the original games music, it never achieves the same feel. Nonetheless that complaint doesn’t really effect the gameplay and in many ways this game might even be superior to it’s predecessor. I’m just glad the series is back, the long wait was making me go bananas, eh?