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Pufftups are underwater enemies which appear in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and its Nintendo Switch port. They resemble real life pufferfish, due to their primary method of defense and their appearance. They appear in three levels of Sea Breeze Cove, including Amiss Abyss, Irate Eight, and Shoal Atoll.
Pufftups have small and smooth round bodies, narrowing abruptly towards their tail fins. They are able to inflate themselves to a much larger size; in their normal state, Pufftups are approximately the size of the Kongs. They feature golden skin coloration and display stressed looks. They also feature an underbite, and their mouths are framed by two thick lips.
Their name is a compound of the phrasal verb, "puffed up", which refers to something inflated with air. They are very similar to Puftups, another pufferfish enemy from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, both in behavior and name.
Pufftups can inflate themselves, growing in size and revealing numerous spikes on the surface of their bodies as a result. The Kongs cannot perform a Corkscrew attack on a swollen Pufftup, as they risk getting damaged by the enemy's spikes. Upon getting stung by the spikes, the Kongs lose a single heart from their health meter, bringing them closer to losing a life. During this inflated state, Pufftups are only vulnerable to Cranky's cane swipe, which defeats them.
Pufftups frequently inflate themselves as means of defense. When deflated, their spikes are retracted, enabling the Kongs to attack the fish enemies, including from a Corkscrew. However, simply coming into contact with a shrunken Pufftup is harmful for the primate heroes. Pufftups swell and shrink at irregular times, as they swim from side to side and traverse a certain small distance underwater.
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