by Maja, reviewed on
Go Bananas Once Again: The Return Of Donkey Kong
There is definitely something about Nintendo that infuses us with nostalgia when we remember all the hours spent playing their games. Frantically pressing buttons, developing cramps, barely eating or paying any attention to our family members or partners and oscillating between euphoria and anger – it’s all part of our gaming past. Mario, Metroid and Zelda are just a couple of names that are the offspring of this legendary company that is about to go 3D, once again revolutionizing the industry. But forget about that for now because Nintendo is bringing 2D platforming back by creating a sequel to the popular nineties franchise Donkey Kong Country called Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Fans will remember the beginnings of Donkey Kong Country which achieved great commercial success and fed gaming obsessions across the world. Developed by Rare, Donkey Kong Country was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1994, featuring the character Donkey Kong the monkey and his side-kicks. 40 brightly colored levels needed to be beaten, facing numerous obstacles and enemies while jumping, swinging, launching, shooting and riding in mine carts. Who cannot remember yelling at the screen in disgust after accidentally killing Donkey Kong by not jumping to the right platform?
Donkey Kong’s nephew, Diddy Kong, was present as well, allowing players to switch between the two if they both happened to be on the screen. If you thought Donkey and Diddy are hilarious names, you must have loved your animal helpers’ names like Rambi the Rhino, Espresso the Ostrich, Enguarde the Swordfish and Winky the Frog. Another trait of this game was the music and the brightly colored graphics, which added to the general atmosphere and fun factor of the engaging Donkey Kong experience.
Simple Meets Engaging: Two Wise Monkeys In Action
The new and improved Donkey Kong Country Returns is nostalgically based on the previous series and promises to capture the essence that made the game so popular and enjoyable in the past. Of course, Nintendo wouldn’t be Nintendo if they didn’t have a few innovations in store for us as well.
Simplicity is definitely a trait of the Donkey Kong franchise; this goes for the plot as well. Donkey Kong Country Returns revolves once again around stolen bananas and evil enemies called the Tikis that have hypnotized animals on the island and made them steal Donkey Kong’s food. Donkey Kong must return the supplies alongside Diddy Kong who appears once again at his uncle’s side, helping him by firing his peanut gun or flying with his cute jet pack.
While the SNES style gameplay remains more or less intact, one of the most positive aspects of this game will surely be the possibility of controlling both Donkey and Diddy Kong and playing the game with a friend, child or partner, ensuring hours and hours of entertainment. Forget about fighting with your loved ones if their gaming skills are not good as yours and breaking your console to bits when you lose a life. Nintendo offers a solution to your potential marital problems by having Diddy climb Donkey Kong’s shoulders, allowing you to get through those tough spots yourself without ending up sleeping on the couch that night.
Donkey and Diddy can also blow air which is a useful innovation helping you find hidden enemies and treasures. Another cool move is definitely the entertaining ‘ground pound’ which causes a mini earthquake and turns everything to bits and pieces as a method of killing your enemies and eliminating obstacles. The animal helpers are once again here to get you out of sticky situations, like Rambi the Rhino who breaks anything on his way quite efficiently.
One Level At A Time
Level design is among the most creative ever, sporting a wide variety of challenges, difficulty and graphics. Fans will be happy to learn of a mine cart level where you can ride a mine cart through an atmospheric cave filled with exploding barrels and giant mushrooms. The cave has a tribal atmosphere with matching music to add to the intensity of the level.
One of my personal favorites is definitely the Stormy Shore level, where you need to lead your characters through a storm, jumping on wooden platforms and trying not to get killed by a giant octopus and its tentacles which reach out to get you. The octopus is ominously positioned in the background, literally staring at you with those evil squinty eyes. Button Bash is another interesting level where you need to go through an underground temple and use barrels which shoot you to platforms; however, you need to time your moves carefully if you want your character to complete the level alive. In Sunset Shore, everything is in silhouette, including the bad guys, making survival a true challenge for our two monkeys.
Donkey Kong Will Not Make A Monkey Out Of You
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a very exciting game, anticipated by Nintendo fans with great impatience. It captures the very essence of 2D platforming, remains faithful to certain aspects of the original series through music, bright colors and plot, and has useful innovations like new moves, enemies and gameplay options as well as action packed new levels.
What I personally liked the most is the overall visual style, the interaction between various elements on the screen and subtle touch-ups like waves, the shimmering of the sea and realistic crowd animations, which create a living, breathing world of colors, sounds and action. Looks like this game might give you hours of good, simple ‘old-school’ entertainment with new perks that can be enjoyed with your friends, family or partner.