It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.
Donkey Kong returns in a brand new game, but it's not what you think it is. DK King of Swing throws the Country formula and gameplay out of the window bringing with it a new control scheme with it. The Kongs are having a competition to see who can grab the most DK medals and be designated as "The King of the Jungle" when suddenly King K. Rool flies in, pilfers all of the medals, and rockets away. Now DK must get them back!
After a brief tutorial with Cranky, you'll launch into the game itself. There are five worlds consisting of DK's jungle, a western themed area, a coral reef, an ice domain, and finally King K. Rool's vessel. There are about four levels in each world. Each level is comprised of vertical rooms which DK will have to climb multiple series of pegs while avoiding enemies, grabbing bananas, and finding hidden bonus barrels. You use the L and R buttons not only to move on solid ground left and right, but you also use them in mid air to control DK's hands. L being his left hand, and R being his right. You use these buttons the most when playing. You'll latch onto pegs and alternate between L and R to climb on the various surfaces the game has to offer. Holding L and R while on the ground performs a jump while holding L and R together while holding onto a peg to execute an attack on an enemy. The A button is used to make DK invincible for a short period of time. This move consumes twenty bananas while healing a heart of DK (in this game DK has three hearts as his health bar) costs ten. When you lose all three hearts, it's game over until you restart on the world map. Now being able to use bananas to heal is a nice touch, but it's easy to abuse by going back to previous levels and stocking up on DK's yellow fix.
Familiar foes abound in King of Swing.
You'd think alternating between L and R would be shallow, but there's a lot of variety to this game. You can grab onto rocks in certain levels to chuck at climbing Kremlings. Speaking of baddies, numerous Donkey Kong Country foes make a return to DK King of Swing including Kritters, Flitters, Zingers, Neckies, and Lockjaws to name a few. Obstacles such as walls can only be pressed by cranking a switch to allow DK enough time to pass through. DK can ride in barrels to shoot himself past danger. Worlds of ice make grabbing onto and sticking to pegs all the more difficult. The final world will have you dodging spikes, mortar fire, while clinging to conveyor belts that'll push you off if you stay on them too long. Not only are there the levels to complete, but each level has a medal and crystal coconut hidden in them. One is in a bonus barrel which will lead you to a stage where you'll have to collect all of the bananas within the time limit, and the other is hiding somewhere within the level.
Each world concludes with its own boss battle. Some you can simply hold L and R and bash into the boss, but others require a different approach. The Davy Bones boss will desire you to grab onto its tail and ram it into the surrounding spikes around the battlefield. Simply ramming into it won't do you any good.
This boss requires you to grab its tail
and pull it into the surrounding spikes.
To round out the package, DK King of Swing comes with an alternate party type mode called Jungle Jam. There's a race mode to see who of the four can climb to the top of the area the fastest, an obstacle course, and a battle mode to see who can hit the competition the most within the time limit. These are a necessity for perfectionists to complete. Even after beating the fairly short adventure mode 100%, you'll deal with another mode called Diddy Mode. This is a harder version of the adventure mode. You will only find bananas when you fell an enemy. No more strewn about the levels. Those patient enough to complete this will unlock a very cool character which you'll have to see for yourself to unlock (or check a FAQ).
Silly monkey, Trix are for kids!
DK King of Swing is a very innovative game that retains the fun of the franchise. Though sometimes frustrating climbing your way to the top of a room only to get knocked down back where you started can be quite annoying, overall the game experience is positive. The story mode may be short, but unlocking everything King of Swing has to offer lengthens the play time. If you're in the mood for an underrated gem, then DK King of Swing should be the top banana for you.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]