Sloppy Sands takes place at the ocean shore, where Donkey and Diddy Kong encounter many Squidlys and Electrasquids shot from Squid Shots; both enemies debut in the level. The Kongs Squidlys can be bounced on to reach collectibles, although Electrasquids are electrified variants and can hurt the Kongs upon contact. The Kongs also encounter Snaggles and Snaps along the way. It is the first level with cannons that the Kongs can pound on to shoot out collectibles and help them find a single Puzzle Piece. The level also has wooden crates that, when Ground Pounded, activate another set of crates that appear from the sands.
Near the end of the level, the Kongs must Ground Pound a switch with the DK emblem, which uproots a sunken castle. The Kongs must jump into a Barrel Cannon to launch to the bottom of the castle. The remainder of the level takes place in the castle, where the Kongs must use sand-filled wooden buckets as platforms and climb Climbing Grass while avoiding Squidlys throughout.
In the Time Attack mode, a time of 1:11:00 is needed to get a gold medal, a time of 1:26:00 for silver, and a time of 1:57:00 for bronze.
The level begins with a straight pathway along the sand leading to two wooden pillars sticking out of the ground. When the Kongs pound on the pillars, they fall under the surface and another pair of pillars shoots out of the ground near a Snaps. The new pillars can help the Kongs reach a higher platform with the first DK Barrel and a small hill with Snap enemies infesting it. A trio of pillars are after a Squid Shot that the primates can pound into the ground to make another three pillars appear nearby, shooting out items, including a Puzzle Piece, as they emerge. They can help the Kongs reach a wooden platform with these collectibles on it. There is a cannon ahead of the Kongs that can be pounded on to blast a cannonball at a mast in the background. A treasure chest is on the mast that lands in the foreground, spilling out four Banana Coins when it breaks.
The Kongs are able to find a small plant growing between two Squid Shots ahead, and it gives an item when blown on. There are also many bananas between the Squid Shots, as well as after them right before another two of these foes. A second treasure chest is after the two Squid Shots that contains an Extra Life Balloon. As the primates try to grab it, squids shoot from a nearby Squid Shot and try to hit them. A raised, wooden platform is after this, with special items placed above and below it. A trio of pillars also stands ahead of the previous Squid Shot, with two more Squid Shots piled up on each other next to it. More pillars appear closer to the squid-shooting enemies when the heroes pound these pillars into the ground. The new pillars can help them jump over the Squid Shots and travel to a bridge area that is above the water. The Tutorial Pig is on it, along with the first checkpoint.
Another DK Barrel and a treasure chest are ahead of the checkpoint, along with a rectangular crate. Near the crate, a Snaggle jumps out of the water below and breaks through the boards, creating a gap that must be jumped over. There is also another crate near here that hides a treasure chest with a Barrel Cannon in it. It can shoot the Kongs into an island in the background with the letter K of the K-O-N-G Letters on a tall, stone pillar and another treasure chest with a Barrel Cannon in it. This cannon can blast the heroes back into the foreground. After the Kongs cross another gap after this treasure chest, they reach a flat bridge area with a Squid Shot at the beginning of it. A Pinchly and a barrel are on the bridge, and a cannon is also under it. A hill is in the area after the cannon that leads towards the letter O that is surrounded by bananas. Squid Shots also wait to shoot at the Kongs next to it. The Kongs can reach a platform above the letter O by bouncing off of a Squidly to find a pathway leading over a Squid Shot on a crashed vessel part. Bananas sit under a platform at the end of the large ship piece, and the letter N floats in the air near some crates being suspended in the air by a platform. The Tutorial Pig and the second checkpoint are under the crates.
The third DK Barrel and a giant button are ahead of the Tutorial Pig. If the primates pound the button into the ground, a tower emerges from the water in the background and a Barrel Cannon appears to shoot them there. A treasure chest is inside of the cavernous-like tower, and two platforms are above it that can help the Kongs climb closer to some buckets being conveyed by ropes. Squid Shots shoot at them as they head up the area. Once the heroes manage to get on the buckets, they are transported to the other side of the thin room, where there is a wall of grassy turf. It is climbable, so they can travel along the walls with it. The wall on the opposite side of this turf is covered in the same kind of turf, so it can be climbed on as well. The second wall of turf has the letter G at the bottom end of it, and the primates can climb up the same turf, passing three squid enemies on the way, to access a higher area with another platform that leads to some buckets. This platform also holds a treasure chest with a Banana Coin in it.
The buckets, again being pulled by a group of convey belt-like ropes, are able to aid the Kongs in reaching another high platform after pulling them past many bananas and Banana Coins. More platforms are above this, and a Squid Shot shoots from the side of the area nearby here. When the primates climb the platform, they can find grassy turf on both walls. The turf on the right leads to the next area, but it is too high to reach. So, the Kongs must first grab onto the turf on the left to reach it. While on the left turf, they must jump on a spinning wheel between the walls to be pulled next to the wall on the right. When they reach this wall, they can climb past some squid enemies being shot by nearby Squid Shots in order to reach a moving platform. This platform has the ability to carry them to another wall of turf that leads to a treasure chest and a group of platforms above it. Buckets moving across the area on ropes are above the last platform that can be used to reach a Barrel Cannon. The cannon shoots the Kongs outside of the tower on its roof, where the Slot Machine Barrel is present.
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