Sunday, December 30, 2012

Game Review: Donkey Kong Country Returns

2D Action/Platformer; Wii; Nintendo/Retro Studios; 2010
This will be my final post for the year. At the time of writing this review "Crescent Reviews" have garnered 196 views since I started in mid-July, but for some reason not a single comment. Okay, I know that 196 views isn't a whole lot for a website but come on, at least let me know that some of you are actually paying attention to my random ramblings and semi-coherent reviews. I like to know if I'm doing well and I much prefer to know what I need to work on in my writing style. Anyway, enough of my complaining, and on to a review of retro revival game, this time we are back to the Jungle and going bonkers for Bananas because we are seeing the Return of everyone's favorite Primate infested nation: Donkey Kong Country!

DK is back and so is... DK... I don't know which is which.
Everything is fine and peaceful on Donkey Kong Country, that is until the Volcano erupts and the entire island is swamped with strange wooden Tikis. These Tikis have the power to hypnotize any animal they come across and soon every critter on the island begins gathering bananas. What's worse, is that this includes Donkey Kong's ENTIRE Banana Horde. With Donkey Kong being immune to the Tikis' hypnosis (probably because he is too dumb to realize he is being hypnotized), it's up to him and his good old friend Diddy Kong, to free Donkey Kong Country from the Tikis and more importantly, get back his entire Banana Horde.

What do you want from the story? You are playing an ape who wears a tie who punches wooden idols to retrieve his butt-load of banana accompanied by a chimpanzee who have a baseball cap, T-shirt, and an arsenal made wood and peanuts. Much like a lot of Nintendo's retro revivals, the story doesn't really matter to the game.

K-O-N-G letters, Banana Koins, and Bananas, yep this is definitely DKC.
If you have ever played any of the Donkey Kong Country games for the Super Nintendo, then you will feel right at home in the first few minutes of gameplay. All of the classic elements are back, and if you haven't played the original games by Rare here is a low down of all things DK. Like any Action/Platformer, you spend most of your time running, jumping, and jumping on many different things. What Donkey Kong has to offer that Mario does not, is not only his ground pound and barrel roll (which serves as other methods of attack other than jumping on foes) but also other ACTUAL barrels, which can be used as weapons or tools for some puzzles in the game. Some of these barrels have the letters DK on them which has poor old Diddy Kong trapped in them. In Single Player mode, once you've freed Diddy your life is doubled, but also he rides on Donkey's back and uses' his Jetpack (yes, Diddy has a Jetpack) to be used to have Donkey Kong hover for a few seconds. In Two Player mode, the second player plays Diddy to help with his own abilities to master. In addition of old classic elements, like the barrel blasting sections, the oh so infamous mine cart stages (each with their own 3D twists), and Rambi the Rhino, Retro has added new elements like grass covered walls that DK can climb, the ability to blow air to find secrets, and puzzle pieces that are hidden in each stage in nooks and crannies, hard to reach places, and of course the good old bonus stages. Nearly every thing you could want in a Donkey Kong game is in here.... well nearly.

Seriously Retro Studios, you need to make more games.
There are a lot of things that are missing from what is suppose to be a return to Donkey Kong Country. The entire Kong family (which probably does have a few too many Kongs in it) has been reduced to only 3, Donkey, Diddy, and Cranky. No Funky, Dixie, nor Candy Kongs (although Candy Kong has always been kind of... weird if you put too much thought into it). And it's not just the Kongs who are absent. While you do get to play around with riding Rambi and Squawks makes an appearance in the form of an item, but all of the other animal friends don't even get a mention. Hell, Retro doesn't even introduce any new ones. Besides the missing elements, there are only two major flaws with the game, one being the motion controls. Really, the only motion control the game uses is to shake the controller, this (depending on which direction you are pressing on the D-pad at the moment) will either trigger the ground pound, roll, or blow moves. It's annoying because this can fail in one of two ways, either the motion control didn't recognize the action at the moment you want it to (or did recognize it at a moment you didn't want it to), or it recognized it when the D-pad was receiving input that changes your action. This is really annoying when you want to ground pound, but instead roll, like off of a platform. And finally, and this is a big one, Donkey Kong Island, doesn't look a THING like Donkey Kong. Seriously, where is the mountain range that has DK's face? The game is incredibly faithful to the original, and we all know Retro Studios loves to put so much attention to details, but they completely missed that rather LARGE detail about DK's home? How?

Okay, my negatives for this game are largely just nit picking. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a true return to basics for the DK franchise. Retro Studios lives up to it's name with this new school reboot in an old school fashion. If you loved the original Donkey Kong Country games way back when, you will feel right at home with this one. If you never had the pleasure of playing some of the old classics of the SNES era, then DKCR will show you want they where all about. All and all, it is a Must Play.

Until next year.

-Crescent, DONKEY PUNCH!!

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