The 'Shroom:Issue LIV/Review Corner
Welcome back to another issue of Review Corner! This time around, I’m reviewing the reboot of the revolutionary Donkey Kong Country series, Donkey Kong Country Returns! DKCR was pioneered by Retro Studios, who is also working on Mario Kart 7. So let’s take a look!
This was my first DKCountry game. Donkey Kong moves a lot differently than Mario. He has more of a lumber than the Mario, moving like the monkey he is. By shaking the Wii Remote, DK can pound the ground, and if you move while shaking, he will break into a roll that can make longer jumps and kill enemies. With the addition of Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong can extend his roll and use Diddy’s jet pack to extend his jump.
The game plays really well, and one thing I was impressed with was the difficulty. This isn’t an easy game; you will die. Over, and over, and over again. But unlike other games that make you want to throw your controller at the wall (and break them), DKCR makes you want to try again. It’s something I’ve never seen before, and I always wanted to give the level just one more shot. And for those who aren't so good, Nintendo has a Super Guide in this game, too.
Last, there’s co-op. A buddy can join in and play as Diddy Kong, in a manner similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Donkey Kong can get his abilities if Diddy jumps on him. However, whereas NSMBW benefited from chaotic/cooperative action, DKCR doesn’t. It makes the game hard to complete for more skilled players and just gets in the way.
The plot, like most spin-offs of the Mario series (and the Mario series in general), isn't that elaborate. Some tikis are awakened, and the start stealing all of the bananas on the island (for a reason revealed later) - including Donkey Kong's stash. He goes on an adventure to retrieve them.
This is one amazing game in the graphics department. Jungles are lush and vivid. Stages blend background and foreground together for added space. And what's more, if you look closely enough, you'll see references to popular Nintendo series, including the arcade game that started it all. Then there are the beautiful sunset stages, which uses silhouettes to make fascinating levels.
There's a lot of replay in this. After finishing the game, you can replay the levels for K-O-N-G letters and Puzzle Pieces. After you getting every KONG letter in a world, a very difficult Monkey Temple opens up. Defeat all of these, and you can visit the super-hard Golden Temple, which, when beaten, unlocks Mirror Mode. Mirror Mode is even harder - not only is the world mirrored, but you can die with one hit, and Diddy Kong is nowhere to be found. Puzzle Pieces, when collected in each level, unlock extra concept art, which is very interesting to look at. You can also do Time Trials to compete for the perfect time.
This game is just short of perfection. Some stages are still really hard, and Mirror Mode is nearly impossible. A little more replay value could be appreciated, too.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is flat-out one of the best games I've ever played. Retro Studios did an amazing job on this, and I can't wait to see what they do with Mario Kart 7. I give this a 9.5. If you don't already have, then I command you - I mean, request that you buy it instantly. This game is a classic.