Review by evisceratorX

"An excellent continuation of a classic series."

At E3 2010, Nintendo revealed a new platformer game called Donkey Kong Country Returns. This revisit to the classic franchise was to be developed by Retro Studios, the company that successfully revived the Metroid series. Did the new Donkey Kong game compare to the high standards set by the original trilogy? Read ahead and find out!

Graphics 9/10

The graphics of the original Donkey Kong Country games were amazing considering the time and console on which they were made. This game's graphics do not wow quite as much as the old did. However, that doesn't mean that they aren't amazing. This game is packed with all sorts of vibrant colors and environments, from beaches to volcanoes. You'll never be bored by any of the levels and it is very clear that Retro put lots of thought into the background and foreground of the game. They even threw in a few small references to other Donkey Kong games into the backgrounds on some levels. The graphics don't necessarily push the Wii to its limits, but Retro certainly used what they could to deliver a beautiful game.

Music 9/10

The music in this game is amazing. There are plenty of remixed versions of classic music from the first Donkey Kong Country. There are also plenty of new songs and Retro made sure that each one was perfect for the environment that they are playing in. I especially liked the music that plays in most of World 8. If you listen closely you might detect a bit of the music from Magmoor Caverns in Metroid Prime. Though, the soundtrack as a whole isn't quite as good as the previous Donkey Kong games, it still has many catchy tunes.

Gameplay 9/10

This is where I had my highest expectations for the game and it did not disappoint. You can choose to either play the game with the Wii remote and nunchuk or just the Wii remote on its side. Either one of these options is just fine, but I found that using just the Wii remote is easier for more precise jumps and platforming. I would like to say that the controls of this game are flawless, but they are just short. This is because Retro decided to implement motion controls and it works relatively well, but they mapped the motion controls to rolling. This means that occasionally when just on a ledge, Donkey Kong will just roll off into a pit and die because you shifted your weight and that triggered the motion sensor. Motion controls aside, the controls are tight and are very responsive.

The level design in this game is excellent and very creative. Every time I'd lose a life in this game, I knew it was due to my own error and not some cheap obstacle or poorly placed enemy. Although, this game is a 2D platformer Retro wasn't afraid to explore 3D space and often times a barrel blaster will shoot you into the background or foreground just for s slight change of pace. The tag team gameplay from the original trilogy was scrapped so now you just play as Donkey Kong. However, if you break a DK barrel Diddy Kong will jump onto your back, giving you two extra hearts and allowing you to use his jetpack and hover after a jump for a short while. Personally, I think that the tag team concept should have been left in this game. Diddy Kong is used more as a crutch and the game is significantly harder without him.

Summary

Pros
• Excellent level design
• Great soundtrack
• Fast-paced gameplay
Cons
• Tag team was removed
• No underwater levels
• Controls can be a bit clunky in places

All-in-all this is an outstanding game and is a must-have for your game library if you own a Wii.
Final Score 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/03/11

Game Release: Donkey Kong Country Returns (US, 11/21/10)


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