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Donkey Kong Country Returns Review

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Developer: Retro Studios Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 21, 2010 Available On: Wii

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a fun game. It is not a nostalgic redo of the Super Nintendo era Donkey Kong games, but an evolution of the series whilst maintaining the core gameplay elements that defined the original. The mine karts, the collectible KONG letters, the bananas, the balloons, and the helpful animal friends all return. It’s all here.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is not an easy game to play. It is by no means a walk in the park like some other platformers. The precision and timing often required of the barrel sections and kart levels will test many and are perhaps not kid-friendly but I praise Nintendo for not making a game that plays itself.

I do not have any complaints about the gameplay in Donkey Kong Country Returns, but sometimes the required user input is different from the expected user input. For example, in my first encounter with the rocket stage type, I expected to tilt the Wii remote to control the rocket’s direction as I am used to and was expecting motion controls in Wii games. The game was actually expecting a button press instead without explaining anything. It was pretty frustrating.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a more action-oriented game and the player rarely experiences a calm, uneventful section in a level. The levels themselves feel more alive and more a part of the game rather than merely a backdrop to the game. In many instances, the game moves you between the background and foreground planes. This is an interesting approach that we do not see very often. Retro Studios, the new developer replacing Rare, obviously had their creative juices flowing.

Much of what made Donkey Kong Country special and unique on the Super Nintendo was its artistic style and faux 3D presentation, which for the time was a real visual treat. Now that Donkey Kong Country Returns is in 3D, the visual presentation feels less special, less thematic, and in general has less character. This is more apparent when compared to side-scrolling games like New Super Mario Bros. Donkey Kong Country Returns’ visual style does not set itself aside like it should.

The sound design and sound track in Donkey Kong Country Returns is just superb. The remixed classics from the Super Nintendo games are like nostalgia candy. This is definitely a game that’s better enjoyed with the volume turned up.

I can certainly imagine someone playing this game constantly until it is beaten but Donkey Kong Country Returns is more of a play through once kind of game. However, if you were a fan of the Donkey Kong Country games on Super Nintendo, Donkey Kong Country Returns will not disappoint. It is loyal to the source material and one of the finest games on the Wii in recent memory.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.5 out of 10
Written by Angel Cortes Write a User Review