A Banana Grand Slamma'
Donkey Kong Country fans waited over a decade for a return to Rare's beloved formula. While they didn't receive a game from the original creators themselves, Retro Studios more than proved themselves worthy of taking over the Donkey Kong Country name with 2010's Donkey Kong Country Returns. It's now 2014, and on a console already spoiled with platforming riches, Retro Studios is at it again with a followup to 2010's Wii entry, this time on the Wii U. While many can argue it's not the game the Wii U needs to move console units, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is as close to platforming nirvana as one can get.
Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, and Cranky Kong are all at a birthday celebration for Donkey Kong. As DK is about to blow out his cake candle, a strong burst of arctic air comes in. A new enemy has arrived at DK Island, the Snowmads, and with a blow of an ancient horn, the entire island freezes over, and in the process, blows DK and pals far, far away. Now, DK and the gang must move from island to island, hoping to return their iced over homeland and kick out the Snowmad forces occupying it. It won't be easy, but seldom anything worthwhile ever is.
Donkey Kong doesn't just have his best bud Diddy along for the adventure this time. No, Dixie Kong who debuted in Donkey Kong Country 2, and Cranky Kong, playable for the first time in the DKC series, join the two characters. Each Kong has its own special ability. Diddy Kong can use his rocket pack to hover across gaps for a limited amount of time. Dixie Kong can twirl her hair like a helicopter, giving her the ability to slowly float downward as well as get some extra air. Finally, Cranky Kong goes all Scrooge McDuck, making the surprisingly competent old Kong curmudgeon be able to use his cane as a pogo stick, reaching new heights and bouncing off spikes effortlessly. Some areas in the game are only accessible if the player has a particular Kong with them.
|Without a doubt my favorite island|
is Autumn Heights.
|Use Dixie Kong's extra air time to|
reach that letter K!
|On the fifth island DK and friends will easily |
reach the daily recommended servings of fruit.
|Maybe it's not a good idea to|
hang around here, DK.
|Rocket barrel and mine cart levels are|
more forgiving but still pose a challenge.
|Asking the age old question:|
"What would you do for a Klondike bar?"
|I came, I saw a saw, I conquered.|
|Rambi returns, but is sadly still the|
only playable animal buddy available.
|Swimming returns to the Donkey Kong Country |
franchise, albeit with an alteration or two.
Sound-"wise", David Wise makes his long desired return to Nintendo, and he seriously makes up lost time. While the soundtrack is varied and features an immense amount of themes, a fair amount of them are more atmospheric than memorable. However, other themes, such as the fantastic Grassland Grove and Windmill Hills, make it so it looks like David Wise never missed a step. There's even numerous callbacks to past franchise themes, such as Lockjaw's Saga, Stickerbrush Symphony, and Life in the Mines. Overall, the package is both graphically and aurally amazing.
|The visuals do nothing but impress|
every step of the way.
[SPC Says: 9.5/10]