Review by tcs76548

Reviewed: 11/01/11

A much needed installment in the DK franchise

All true Nintendo fans should be familiar with Donkey Kong. He's been a Nintendo icon since the early 1980s and has been the star of some of the most memorable video games I've ever played. When I first heard about Donkey Kong Country Returns, I was beyond excited, mainly because the Donkey Kong Country games were easily my favorite 2D platformers when I was younger. Getting a chance to see another installment in that series made me extremely enthusiastic. Overall, the game was handled very well, and the game play was everything I expected it to be. However, although the game does have its flaws, they have nothing to do with mechanics and are not game-breaking by any means. If anything, the flaws that I point out may have absolutely no impact on a player's opinion, depending on the mindset they have upon beginning this game.

If you're a longtime fan of the series and expecting a wave of nostalgia to knock you to your feet, then you will be satisfied with this title. The game play follows the same structure of previous installments. You play through several levels that comprise larger stages, and fight boss battles in order to advance to the next stage. However, ol' DK and his buddy Diddy have come a long way since heir SNES days. The levels certainly have more depth than their SNES predecessors. In addition to jumping on baddies, you need to use of Wii controls to grab vines, slam down on the ground, and make use of Diddy's (totally awesome) barrel jet pack. The Wii remote serves the game very well, and the controls really aren't awkward at all. If anything, the controls are very easy to get accustomed to, which makes enjoying the game so much better. The multi-player option also gives players more choices when deciding how to approach the game. The game's difficulty is not overwhelming, but it does contain a degree of challenge. There are a mix of easy and hard stages, but I will admit that the game's overall difficulty is not very extreme.This makes the game accessible to both new and old DK fans alike.

Graphically, the game looks great. The scenery is extremely colorful and detailed, and there is no shortage of variety among the game numerous landscapes. That being said, the game's graphics aren't necessarily groundbreaking, but if you really shouldn't be playing a DK game for the graphics anyway. The game's length is also something I should mention. If you're looking for a game to invest hundreds upon hundreds of hours into in order to get optimal completion, you may want to look elsewhere. The game has a good deal of content, but leans more toward to shorter side, but can still keep you entertained for quite some time.

Like I said earlier, the game is great for players looking to feel nostalgic, but there are a few other things to keep in mind for those nostalgic folks out there. First of all, the Kremlings are not in this game. Yes, I know it's difficult to accept, but it's the truth. Although the iconic DK villains are absent from this title, their replacements pose just as much of a challenge for players. I promise. The relatively weak presence of the Animal Pals (who played large roles in previous installments) is also worth mentioning. If you're expecting to beat down baddies with a wide range of your favorite animal buddies from the past, you better not get your hopes up. Rambi and Squawks are the only two that are present in this title, and only Rambi can actually be used as a combat pal. In addition, the only three members of the Kong family in this game are Donkey, Diddy, and Cranky. Again, this may impact you only if you're expecting to get the full nostalgic experience from this game.

Overall, Donkey Kong Country Returns offers players an extremely fun-filled and action-packed 2D platformer with an experience similar to that of previous installments. The game is very casual-friendly and can easily be enjoyed by both fast and slow paced gamers. The only drawbacks are those related to nostalgia, most notably the lack of many previous characters, which can make the in-game world seem somewhat empty. That being said, if you're a fan of DK and platformers in general, this is certainly a title worth checking out, and it's definitely one of the Wii's best releases.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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

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