Donkey Kong Country Returns

Date Completed: November 27th, 2011

17 years after the release of the original I have finally completed my very first Donkey Kong Country game.  I’d played the original at my next-door neighbors house but never enjoyed it enough to dedicate any time to.  The only reason I purchased this title was that it was released during a time when the Wii was beginning to suffer a drought of quality titles and I was buying up all halfway decent Wii titles I could afford to show support for the platform.

It took me awhile to beat this game.  I had to balance playing the game out with not letting the kids watch television but I finally got close enough to the end of the game that I did it all in a two day marathon session of gaming, with the kids cheering me on.  My two year old started to pick up my creative language whenever I died in the game so I had to switch to shouting something other than what naturally came to mind.  By the end of the game my son was shouting “OH COME ON” every time Donkey Kong fell into a pool of lava.  Awesome.

I can recognize the work of genius when I see it.  The level design of Donkey Kong Country Returns is the work of genius.  Even with low quality Wii graphics this game manages to look beautiful.  The platforming sections in the game are unique and innovative.  You never get the feeling in this game that you get with some game that sections are being reused.  Every level feels fresh and new.  I absolutely loved playing the game because I was excited to see what the next level would be like.  This level of quality in level design is something that I’ve only seen from Nintendo.

Several levels are played in silhouette

The level design is amazing, but the controls for this game are a bit frustrating.  I think there are other control schemes available but I used the Wiimote + Nun-chuck control scheme.  You can make Donkey Kong duck and blow (which is required to blow out some flaming enemies, or uncover secret items) by pressing down on the analog stick and shaking the Wiimote and nun-chuck alternately.  I found this control scheme to be too similar to the action that makes Donkey Kong roll forward and I often found myself rolling into a pit.  Some of the collision detection seemed a bit off and I would often find myself surviving when I thought I should be dead, or more frustratingly I found myself dead when I thought I should be alive!!  The controls are what they are and after getting used to them I found that I could enjoy the game without too much frustration.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is the most fun I’ve had playing a Wii game since playing through Super Mario Galaxy 2.  If you have the opportunity to play through this game I suggest you do so.

My Wife’s Take : “If you talk about how great the level design is one more time I’m going to kill you!”

Pros

  • Excellent level design.

Cons

  • Collision detection and play control seem a little ‘loose’.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  ~8 hours
System: Nintendo Wii
Genre: Platform
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