Published on May 19th, 2013 | by Mark Gibson, Editor/Community Manager
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Review
Early Monkey Gets the Banana
In true Nintendo fashion, one of the iconic classics makes its way to the 3DS handheld system. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a mirror of its Wii console counterpart and a decent reboot of the original SNES title.
Release Date: May 24, 2013
Editor’s Note: A code for the game was received for review purposes via the Nintendo 3DS e-Shop.
Nintendo’s most famous ape with a tie has barged onto the handheld world in Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. If you happened to play DK Country Returns on the Wii, you will be very familiar with the story and level maps. But the difference between the console version and its 3DS counterpart–beyond the obvious disparities in graphics–are the eight bonus levels and an extra world. The game divides itself into two modes: the original game mode, or the improved New Mode, which lessens the difficulty level by providing extra lives and special power ups.
The Donkey Kong franchise is notorious for having very challenging game level design, so New Mode is a big plus to players who are unfamiliar with the series. There is even an option to view an alternative looking Donkey Kong who will automatically run through a level to show you how it is played.
If you are new to DKCR, the storyline is simple and is filled with amusing cut scenes. DK and Diddy Kong’s banana stash has been stolen, while the jungle’s wildlife has been hypnotized by masked mystical creatures. Your goal is to collect as many bananas as you can in each level as you smash and barrel roll your way through each world.
The Wii controls were often nerve-racking with having to use the nunchuck in one hand and the Wii remote in the other. Thankfully, with the 3DS, these controls are simplified. You have the option of using the analog stick or the D-Pad, but it doesn’t always work well. The analog stick sometimes misdirects the command to have DK run forward, which can slow his forward momentum. For a side scrolling game, the D-Pad just makes more sense, and feels, for those of us that grew up on the GameBoy, definitely more natural.
For you co-op fans out there, DKCR offers a local co-op mode that allows you and a comrade to play as DK and Diddy separately. An inclusion of an online co-op would have been a nice feature, but it is obvious that the co-op mode is not the main focal point of the game, nor is it necessary to complete levels.
From an artistic standpoint, the game’s framerate loses some luster in the translation from the Wii to the 3DS. But this isn’t anything unexpected, and the 3D element can make up for the quality change. However, don’t make the 3D aspect your main focus for playing the game. Like some 3DS games that take precision hand eye coordination, headaches may ensue with prolonged 3D use. I found myself playing in 2D mode more often than 3D. In fact, when I was using 3D, it was only for a few moments for the “oh, that looks neat” factor.
Aside from this, the worlds are excellently designed and look great. The bright colors and iconic music are what makes this game feel nostalgic for the Super Nintendo era where the franchise originated. You will fight your way through dense jungle, inside an active volcano and past a beautiful sunset which casts a silhouette of DK and Diddy. Sometimes the level difficulty can overshadow the game’s beauty, but if you take the time to compose yourself before pressing forward you can really appreciate the quality of the game design.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D makes a good comeback attempt on the 3DS console, and delivers exactly what you would expect from a reboot. For returning fans of the DK franchise, the game’s sound design and level difficulty will bring back memories of the good ol’ days when you wanted to break your controller and scream at the television.
If you are not into self torture via video games, the improved New Mode will make the game much easier and enjoyable, especially for a casual player. Overall, Nintendo does a decent job of rebooting old titles, even if we may be getting tired of it. However, DKCR is not just the same game from the days of old. It’s just a well made portable version of its Wii console parent.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Review
Summary: Donkey Kong Country Returns makes a good comeback attempt on the 3DS console and delivers exactly what you would expect from a reboot. For returning fans of the DK franchise, the games sound design and level difficulty will bring back memories of the good ol’ days when you wanted to break your controller and scream at the television. If you aren’t into self torcher via video games, the improved “New Mode” will make the game much easier and enjoyable, especially for a casual player. Overall, Nintendo does a decent job of rebooting old titles, even if we may be getting tired of it. However, DK isn’t just the same game from the days of old. It’s just a well made portable version of it’s Wii console parent.