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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review

Reviewed by on Feb 17, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Donkey Kong is back, looking better than ever and bringing a challenge. Read Kidzworlds Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze game review, right here.

Donkey and Cranky pounding fistsDonkey and Cranky pounding fistsCourtesy of Nintendo

Kong Is Back

Wii U may be struggling in sales but its limited yet quality selection of titles continues to grow for Nintendo fans. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is another great entry from Retro Studios and worthy of your time.

Right from the start, no time is wasted and we're introduced to Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and the rest of the gang at a party. But something stirs in the distance. Animal Vikings are sailing towards the island and before you can say "banana", Donkey Kong and his friends are blown off his island and on to another far off one. His home island in the mean time, being frozen over by the cold and hostile Vikings.

Watch out for the shark!Watch out for the shark!Courtesy of Nintendo

Choosing between your side-kicks, Diddy, Cranky and Dixie rewards you with a unique attribute, which you're going to need. Diddy has a jet-pack for extended jumps, Cranky can jump on his cane to safely traverse spikes, like Scrooge McDuck in the DuckTales video game. And Dixie has the ability to spin her pony-tail like helicopter blades. Dixie Kong quickly became my favorite as the added boost in height she brings allows you to correct some missed time jumps, which I had many of.

Pretty And Challenging

Donkey Kong must make his way through a variety of creative, colorful and challenging island locations until finally making it back to his icy home. There are six islands in total, each with their own style and controller crushing moments.

Take a rocket barel and fire into the background.Take a rocket barel and fire into the background.Courtesy of Nintendo

This is no easy platformer. There is genuine challenge to be found in this latest jungle romp with carefully timed but quickly thought out jumps and rolls becoming the norm. You also have to hold R1 to hang on to ropes and vines, which can be easy to forget in the heat of the moment. Despite wanting to throw the controller from time to time, the feeling of accomplishment when you finally conquered a section that has been giving you grief is great.

The bosses for each island are all a lot of fun and are a highlight, with each boss being a 3-part battle. The intensity ramping up with each moment. One of my favorites to fight was the ever-rising fight with a Giant Viking Owl at the end of island two.

The first boss you'll face. The Viking Walrus.The first boss you'll face. The Viking Walrus.Courtesy of Nintendo

There were times when I thought the controls might not be responding as quickly as I would like, but in reality it was probably just me being distracted by the lush visuals. Retro has crafted a Donkey Kong world with fantastic depth. Each level feeling like a a piece of a connected bigger whole.

While gameplay is 2D, never are you only running left to right. Often times you are shooting to and from the background in cinematic barrel launches that bring some new flare to the series. Mine cart, on-rails sections return, love them or hate them. Thankfully on each island you can buy Red Balloons (for extra lives) or any number of other items including shields to help when in need.

The Banana Slip

The Wii U Gamepad is wasted here. Pretty much completely. You have the choice of playing on your TV or on the Gamepad but that's it. If you choose to play on the TV then the moment you start to play the Gamepad just goes black. No item list, progress meter, no island overview...nothing. On top of that, you can't swap from TV to Gamepad on the fly like you can with other Nintendo games like Super Mario 3D World. Nor can you have the analog stick and the D-Pad activated at the same time.

Those are minor annoyances on an otherwise pretty solid package.

Final Thoughts

Retro Studios and Nintendo have done it again. Another great platformer built on a classic and long running franchise. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze deserves to be in your collection. But be prepared for a challenge.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical FreezeDonkey Kong Country: Tropical FreezeCourtesy of Nintendo

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is available for the Wii U on February 21st

Donkey Kong Country Rating:4

Have Your Say!

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