Much like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Donkey Kong Country Returns is an old shool game with a modern skin. To create this game Nintendo called upon Retro Studios, the team behind the excellent Metroid Prime series. For DKCR you can see that Retro didn’t need to make as many changes to the tried and true formula as they did to with Metroid Prime. If you’ve played the original Donkey Kong Country then you’ll know what to expect from this title. Some people may be turned off by the fact that this game sticks so close to the formula originally laid out by Rare in 1994, but that is part of what makes this a great time!
The platforming is excellent. Sure, I died quite a few times, but I never found myself frustrated. The game is challenging without feeling cheap like many so-called “hard” games. There’s a great variety of levels, obstacles, and enemies. There are even a couple of new gameplay mechanics. The first is climbing. This is awesome and I found myself surprised that DK hadn’t done this in previous Country titles. The blowing mechanic is fun but not as cool as climbing.
The graphics are what you would expect from the Wii with excellent animations and effects. The 3D engine is a great way to update Rare’s pre-rendered original. Sounds are spot on and the original music has made its way back. It’s true that the graphics and sound are not as good in general as what Retro did with Metroid Prime, but this game’s style does not require them to be so.
When I first started playing I was disappointed with the overall game. Then, about an hour in, I realized I was having so much fun playing that I didn’t care what my previous expectations might have been. This game lives up to what it should be: pretty, fun, and challenging!