Review by Boo_Guy
"He's back again, and it's about time too!"
Welcome to the world of Donkey Kong. Enjoy the plush jungles, the finest beaches, and even the ancient ruins of Donkey Kong Island. All this plus more is in one of the greatest platformers in videogame history.
So let's start off with the most basic part of any videogame; the gameplay. This game carves itself after the DKC series, and mainly the first DKC game. The style of the first platformer in the series is designated to a fast-past adventure. Donkey Kong Country Returns returns this style. Enemy placement is provided in areas so that a rolling attack can be done to gain momentum, and to be jumped on to reach higher places and continue to go fast. Retro did a superb job of keeping the game fast-paced and keeping you on the edge of your seat. Retro also threw in puzzle pieces in hidden areas for you to collect. The puzzle pieces unlocks extra content: images, music, concept art, and dioramas. The puzzle pieces aren't needed for 100%, so you can skip them if you choose. Keep one thing in mind while playing this game: It's hard. Harder than the originals, and one of the hardest platformer since the early Nintendo days. Retro provides plenty of checkpoints and gives lives out like they were going out of style, so you don't have to worry about the game being frustrating. Just keep in mind that it starts off pretty easy, but close to midway the difficulty ramps up a notch or two.
Each level is unique and follows the archetype of the world it's in, such as "Jungle" and "Beach". Every level throws something new at you, so it never once feels dull or repetitive. If you've played either of the Super Mario Galaxys, think of it at those games in 2D platformer form, but with Donkey Kong Country elements such as barrel blasting. Familiar items also make a return, such as K-O-N-G letters, bananas, and barrels. Diddy Kong also tags along, but he's mostly a power-up in 1-player mode. He can be used to hover for a little bit in mid-air with his jetpack and can be used to create an infinite-roll attack. In 2-player co-op, Diddy Kong is a full blown character like in the original, and he brings along his peanut popgun from Donkey Kong 64. As for the story in this game, it's simple just like the originals; The Tiki-Tak Tribe bursts out of the core of Donkey Kong Island (apparently they've been holed up there for quite some time) and kidnaps Donkey Kong's banana hoard and hypnotizes the creatures around Donkey Kong Island to work for them. DK is immune to the hypnosis, so he beats up a Tiki and continues his journey along the way. Cranky also returns, in his normal snarky self, to sell you items (bought with the many banana coins you find in the levels) to help you on your journey.
The music about 90% remixes of the original DKC game. All but three songs make a return, while a few new ones also show up. If you've ever played the original DKC game, you'll instantly recognize the tunes. Because the original had such awesome music (David Wise is the man), reusing it was a smart decision by Retro. An easy 10/10. The new tunes aren't bad either, but the remixes are what really catches my ear. Familiar sounds also return, such as the original K-O-N-G letter sound and bananas.
You might think I hand out 10/10's like this game hands out lives. Well, no, this game really is amazing. The graphics are the best of any Wii game to date. You don't need realistic graphics to be charmed by the beauty of Donkey Kong Island. The backgrounds are really what makes this game special; everything is so alive and active. Not one square-inch of scenery in this game is rehashed. Retro is pretty good at that, looking at their Prime series. Anyways, just like its SNES predecessors, the visuals are stunning. A new type of level is introduced in this game; silhouette levels. If you haven't seen one yet, try and find a picture. The silhouette levels are unique and are pretty much eye candy.
The only minor setback in this game is the forced waggle controls. It doesn't matter if you use nunchuck or sideways Wiimote; you have to waggle. You'll get used to it in due time, but it's inconvenient when we should just have the option to press a button to roll. Rolling aside, ground pounding and blowing (ducking down and waggling) are other actions Donkey or Diddy can make. I was originally going to give this a lower score, but I think it's actually pretty clever to instill motion controls for ground pounding and blowing, because it gives you a little sense of feeling that you're in the Donkey Kong world.
This is a worthy successor to DKC, and in my opinion, it's the best in the series, and the best platformer released in 10 years. It's full of content and it's one huge thrill ride. The game doesn't fall back on the use of nostalgia, but it has plenty of nostalgia in it. The difficulty is something that should be praised. If any "professional" reviewer docks points because of its difficulty, they should be fired. I'm sorry, but if you suck at a game that gives you fair difficulty (and even a superguide, if you really need help), then you don't deserve to review games. That little rant aside, admittedly, this game isn't perfect. A run-button feature would have been nice, along with more familiar DKC faces. Overall I'd give it a 9.7. Small criticisms aside, you will enjoy this game without a doubt, unless you just don't like platformers whatsoever.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/10
Game Release: Donkey Kong Country Returns (US, 11/21/10)
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