Tuesday, November 23, 2010

0 Donkey Kong Country Returns: Mid-way Review

Image from GameInformer
A few months ago after E3, I posted links and previews to Donkey Kong Country Returns (DKCR), a new Nintendo Wii game, developed by Retro Studios, that brings Donkey and Diddy Kong back to their roots. I personally have many fond memories growing up playing the originals on the Super NES, so I had high hopes and expectations for it. Needless to say, DKCR far surpassed my expectations.

The gameplay in this game is similar to the original Donkey Kong Country, but has enough elements to change it up. The most obvious change is the inclusion of shaking controls. Using various directional inputs and a shake of the remote, you can roll, ground pound, and blow air onto elements in the map to make secrets appear. I was initially worried about this, fearing it would be too gimmicky. However Retro Studios does a wonderful job of making the motion controls fun and inventive. In addition to this, DKCR is perhaps one of the most difficult 2-d platformers I have ever played, rivaling and even perhaps surpassing some of the red plumber's best games. DKCR balances the difficulty making it not infuriating, but enjoyable.

Perhaps even more than the actual gameplay, the atmosphere and presentation of the game blew me away. The visuals look like they could be on the Xbox or PS3, and the bright colors really pop out of the screen. The style of this game is some the most beautiful out there, including some silhouette-drawn levels that left me playing the level over and over just to see the beautiful art style again. 
Image courtesy of IGN.com
Meanwhile, some of the music will cause many older players to reminisce of the older SNES, while the rest of the soundtrack is an amazing addition to the Donkey Kong music library. 

Thus far I'm only half way through the game, but with lots of hidden collectibles and secrets, I foresee myself and others playing this for days to come. If you own a Wii and haven't turned in on in weeks because you aren't sure what to play in it, go buy this game. You'll be very happy you did.

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