Published on November 29th, 2010 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Donkey Kong Country Returns Review
Donkey Kong Country Returns is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys. Well, monkeys that are armed with bats. Also, the bats have bundles of money dangling at the end and when you try and get near to grab them, they pull them away and slam on down on your fingertips. All of this while feeding you candy, but every piece tastes like black licorice! Ah, but I digress. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a challenging, yet, fun experience that brings true nostalgia back to shine on the Nintendo Wii.
Donkey Kong’s hoard has once again become the victim of thievery. Now, with the help of Diddy Kong, it is time to see what all of these evil-tribal-lookin’ creatures are up to. Retro Studios is the company responsible for Donkey Kong Country Returns. They are also who you can address your letters of commendation or condemnation for this challenging title. They truly made this Donkey Kong experience not only memorable, even with its previous releases, one of a kind.
Players can once again go in search of “K–O–N–G” and collect the letters throughout the level. The letters are sometimes in very challenging spots and along with the varying quantity of puzzle pieces up for grabs, there is plenty of time that can be spent in one level in any given world. Items that are hidden in the levels are a great way to tie in more replay value, but the creative level design gives these challenges tremendous substance. Collecting these will bring you back to some levels and keep you on the hunt for new areas. In the standard game there eight worlds to conquer. On the strenuous journey to collect every item, your sweaty palms will be eased by the various controller setups.
Although the classic controller is not supported for this title, there are plenty of controller combinations that should provide for a generous Kong experience. The nunchuck and remote combo provide players with some easy action and mobility. Feel like getting back to your old-school controller roots? Flip the controller sideways, remove the nunchuck, and get ready to take on those mine cart levels. On the plus side, its easier to throw one controller across the room. They are one son of a banana split to endure.
With this much positivity about a game, can there be any negatives? Depending how you look at it, yes. For example, in the single player story mode you cannot select Diddy Kong. Diddy is simply there to ride along, but does provide some easier tactics to hidden areas and mobility. The second player can play as Diddy during 2P mode.
One of the other things that players might run into is the lack of 2P screen space. Although games like The New Super Mario Bros. provide us with plenty of zooming in and out for screen sharing, DKCR is not so forgiving. This does make sense with the amount of items hidden, but having the fixed screen does prove challenging. If both players are not on screen the other will be pulled back to where all the action is taking place.
One other issue that might only really lie in the design of the Wii remote itself, was playing with the controller on its side. Ducking with the remote played sideways does have some mobility issues when pressing the “down” on the directional pad. This caused DK to pop up in a crucial crossfire action and sometimes, lose his life.
Action is best served while on the back of a giant beast, right? Well, in this case I am referring to the cast of mountable characters that have been seen in the other Donkey Kong titles. It may not be news to everyone, but in this title Rambi the rhino is the only wild animal ready to be tamed.
CLOSING COMMENT: Donkey Kong Country Returns provides players with enough replay value and nostalgia to last a life time. If you think that you might want to practice the great art of patience, then sync of that 2nd Player remote and get ready to work as a team. Although, singles players cannot partake in Diddy’s agility, the 2P mode allows for his selection. It should be a definite purchase for fans of the series and a must buy for Nintendo Wii owners. Although there is no playable Diddy Kong in single player, it did not stop this Kong from kicking these bad guys right in the cocoanuts.
+Creative level design
+High replay value
–Lack of selectable characters