on May 25, 2013
I can almost hear the haters now, complaining about Nintendo re-releasing a two year old game onto the 3DS, but such gripes are unfounded in my opinion. While it is true that this is *mostly* a port of the fantastic platformer from a couple years back, there are definitely enough additions and differences to make this a game that may be the preferred version among fans. Seeing how this is a game that has, for the most part, been accessible since 2010, I'll focus mainly on discussing the differences between this version and the original and whether or not you'll want to even bother buying this.
In the rare case that you're not familiar with Donkey Kong Country Returns, I'll sum the game up thusly: It is easily one of the best Wii games, arguably the best Donkey Kong game that has ever been released, and it's a real contender for best 2-D platformer of the past two decades. It is that good. The whole experience is just saturated with nostalgia while still feeling extremely fresh. The visuals are colorful and stylistic, and the music is wonderful, whether the tune is classic or new. The level design and game mechanics are amazingly well-crafted, the difficulty and satisfaction in the game is huge, and most importantly, the control mechanics are so tight you can bounce a quarter off of the game and make change. Much like the original DKC trilogy, the gameplay has an awesome rhythmic quality to it. Yes, the game may be missing King K. Rool and the Kremlings as villains, and many of DK's relatives we've all come to know and love don't show up, but for the most part, Donkey Kong Country Returns really is the quintessential Donkey Kong game, and should not be missed. If you never got a change to play the original (god forbid), then this is a wonderful time to get into it, for certain.
So what are the main additions/differences between DKCR3D and the original? First off, the controls are obviously different. The Wii original used the motion-control capability of the Wiimote to good effect, in my opinion. I thought the waggle activated actions worked well for the most part, but it did have its issues that could really add frustration in intense platforming sections. I know of many people who hated that part of the original. For those who weren't so enthusiastic about the motion, you'll be happy to know that has all been replaced by traditional button presses, obviously. So basically, you will have a different experience when it comes to rolling, blowing, ground-pounding, etc. Otherwise, the super tight controls are the same.
There is a bit of extra content that has been added to the game this time around. After you beat the game, a whole new "world" of levels becomes accessible that are quite fun and unique to play through. Many of the settings of these new levels fit the themes found in the original world levels, but are brand new, such as one on a huge, low-leveled riverbed in a forest. They look and play great. The original had a ton of content, but these new additions are very nice indeed.
While DKCR is definitely a fun game, there's no doubt that it's also by far one of the most challenging platformers of the past decade or so. This definitely adds a huge level of satisfaction to the game, but it also stands as a huge barrier of entry to younger or less experienced gamers. For those people, Nintendo has added an "easy mode" of sorts to the game that greatly reduces the challenge. Some changes in this mode include DK and Diddy getting three hearts by default instead of two, power-ups that reduce damage, green balloons that save you if you were to fall into a bottomless pit, etc. To be honest, I'm torn on this. On one hand, I appreciate making a hard game more accessible so everyone can enjoy it. On the other hand, this "easy mode" makes the game almost insultingly easy by comparison. It's not too bad though, because "original mode" is still available, so if you crave the soul-crushing difficulty of the original, you can still play it that way, which is great.
Well, that's most of the major changes/additions you can expect from this game. I'm very impressed with the port-job the game received. Very little was sacrificed to get the game to play on Nintendo's handheld. You'll notice some details in the visuals are a bit toned down. After all, the 3DS isn't quite up to the Wii's specs, but it does still look great for the most part. DKCR is a splendidly detailed game, and it's worth noting that having all that shrunk to the 3DS(XL)'s screen size can get crowded at times. The cool 3-D effect, while nonessential for the gameplay itself, is really enjoyable to look at. Some portions of the game, such as the special silhouette levels, look really awesome in 3-D. The only problem I have with 3-D is that when action is heavy, sometimes the frame rate stutters ever-so-slightly, which can be a problem in a precision platformer like this. It's also worth noting that, while the original DKCR ran in 60 fps on the Wii, this version has been toned down to 30 fps, again, due to the difference in tech. While this is a shame, it really doesn't affect what a good time you'll be having. It still plays fantastic. Overall, Monster Games, the developer who did most of the work porting this game (they also made Pilotwings Resort), did a pretty fantastic job.
So, whether you played the original DKCR and salivate at the idea of it being portable, having extra content, and a new control scheme, or you're a newbie who has never even touched the game before, I'd say Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is definitely a game you'll want to buy. I understand veterans of the original may not want to dish out the cash to play the game again, even with the aforementioned additions, but I did, and I'm glad I did. DKCR was the game that proved Retros Studios was a top-tier developer whose genius in the Metroid Prime Trilogy was not luck or a one-off success (and it appears Retro isn't quite done making DK games. Can't wait for DK Tropical Freeze, it looks amazing already!). They really hit this one out of the park. Personally, I can only think of a few "flatformers" that I enjoyed as much or more than I did with DKCR, and now I can enjoy it again on the go with this 3DS version. It's a fantastic game that simply should not be missed if you consider yourself a fan of Nintendo, DK, platformers, or just plain awesome games in general. Buy it, enjoy the expertly crafted platforming, and go on a banana hoarding adventure through a lush jungle island with one of video gaming's biggest and oldest icons.
In 1994, Rare developed a little game called Donkey Kong Country that became a huge smash on the Super Nintendo. It went on to sell millions of copies and was even followed up by two sequels. After the Donkey Kong Country trilogy came we were subjected to Donkey Kong 64 and then numerous strange games that seemed to feature Donkey Kong, but not exactly play like Donkey Kong. Thus, when Donkey Kong Country Returns first came out, it was easy to be excited. Because it was the first time in a over a decade that we got the chance to play a traditional Donkey Kong Country game and the results are fantastic. When it was released on the Wii in 2010 it was hailed as an instant classic. Now the game is getting a 3DS port and it's still pretty good.
The original game followed the tale of Donkey Kong. His bananas were taken by King K. Rool and Donkey Kong had to go out, along with Diddy Kong, to get them back. Donkey Kong Country Returns goes back to that. But instead of King K. Rool and Kremlings it's a bunch of Tiki's that have done this. It's actually very hard NOT to miss the Kremlings. Especially in a Donkey Kong game that's supposed to be a return to things. But you won't mind too much because the level designs and the challenge this game evokes is absolutely fantastic.
You'll go by on a world map from one level to the next completing them in an effort to get back your bananas from those Tiki's. They all start off rather easy at first, teaching you basic things and hoping you can keep up with all you've been taught. The first two worlds in particular are cake walks but once you get to world 3 things really pick up and start to become challenging. The gameplay is extremely familiar to anyone who played the original Donkey Kong Country games from a long time ago. You'll run and jump on your enemies, and you'll find hidden barrels and passages that'll take you to bonus rooms where you can reap the rewards. Every level also has puzzle pieces that you'll want to collect.
There are a few things that have changed, however. The first is how your partner works. In the original games you could switch between Donkey and Diddy. And when one took a hit, he immediately ran away and the partner picked up the slack. After that one more hit meant the loss of a life. Here, both Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have hearts. And Diddy will always be on Donkey Kong's back. Always. You won't be able to switch to him at all. But he will allow you to hover for a short period of time. Once you lose your first two hearts you lose Diddy and your ability to hover briefly. Until you find a DK barrel and get him back. Donkey Kong also has two hearts, and once lost the level ends. The level design here has made Donkey Kong Country Returns quite difficult, but fun and manageable. You'll find some moments of trial and error. But they're some well crafted levels that never throw the same thing at you twice. Even familiar levels will always have new tweaks. The first mine car level is basic. But there's one down the line that has you having to stay inside a giant while until it crumbles away. It is AMAZING stuff. The boss battles are also amazing and require a lot of pattern recognition. There's a lot of variety to each level. Couple that with the fact that some levels have you going into the background and foreground and there's a lot to do and explore in just about every level (not to mention this aspect looks pretty good in 3D). The game provides a challenge, but like so many of Nintendo's games that do in this day and age, it makes sure that extra lives are scattered everywhere. Just in case. Even if you ARE having problems, you're still not likely to see a game over screen any time soon based on the abundance lives.
There are other moments that breathe of Donkey Kong Country. A lot of the music you here is simply remixed from the original Donkey Kong Country and it sounds brilliant and sometimes even sets the atmosphere. It's likely to fill long time fans with nostalgia.
That's not to say it's all nostalgic though. There are some things that were either left on the cutting room floor. For instance, there are no real animal buddies here and that's a shame. You won't find some of your favorites like Rambi the Rhino or anything like that. For the most part Donkey Kong Country Returns doesn't really feature them. The other thing is that a lot of the Kong family isn't really there either. Part of the fun and charm of some of the other games was running into some of the ohter Kong's such as Wrinkly or Funky or Cranky. And while Cranky Kong returns, it's not with some of his clever fourth wall breaking "we know we're in a video game," banter that he used to always have that made him such a comical character in the Super Nintendo classics.
The Wii version of Donkey Kong Country Returns didn't have the best control scheme. Thanks to making you waggle the Wii Remote to perform certain actions (like rolling) it was a little too sensitive and sometimes caused the player to perform actions they didn't want to. Here, everything is mapped to a button. And in a game this challenging you'll definitely appreciate it.
Donkey Kong Country Returns also has a multiplayer function similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii. One player controls Donkey Kong and the other controls Diddy Kong. It's the only time you really can control Diddy manually. You'll have to work together, but unlike New Super Mario Bros. Wii, there isn't much fun in messing around with your friends. The focus here is strictly teamwork and it holds to that. The game is a challenge and the last thing you'd want to do is mess up your partner who could potentially be carrying you through a level anyway.
Apparently many a gamer must've thought the Wii version was too much of a challenge. Indeed, there is an option here to make the game easier for players just jumping in. True enough, Donkey Kong Country Returns actually is quite the challenge. It takes a lot to really master a certain level. You can make the game easier, and it'll give you some additional hearts as well as some new items available to you. Make no mistake, Donkey Kong Country Returns lives up to its reputation of being a challenging game, but it's a good challenge. If you do mess up too many times, however, the game will play through the level for you (although it will not grab any bonuses throughout).
The other big question is always whether or not there's something new when a port comes around. Donkey Kong Country Returns has a whole new world you can through on the the 3D release. It's just barely enough of a curiosity to Wii Owners to make it worth trying, but it might not be enough to make it worth picking up just yet. Aside from that the game is primarily the same. The only real problem with 3DS port is that the game doesn't seem like it was made to be experienced on the small screen. Sometimes it's hard to see just what hit you in some instance. Eventually you'll get the gist, but you might suffer unnecessarily as a result.
Visually Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a very pretty game. Mostly the environments and the backgrounds. The ability to go into the background or (sometimes) foreground is certainly not bad either. The 3D is actually good for moments like these. On the other hand, there's nothing the 3D will add to the gameplay. You could just as easily do well with it off. Despite that the game looks good in 3D there's nothing about it that will wholly immerse you in the experience. Like many 3DS games you'll probably turn the 3D off after a while.
There's always a wonder about whether or not to get the older version or the new. The new world is certainly a curious thing and Wii Owners may like the idea of a more classic control scheme, but I'm finding it hard to say you'd need this version if you've already played the Wii version. There are new levels but there aren't exactly a lot of new levels. There isn't much you'll experience here that you didn't experience before. On the other hand, if you've never played Donkey Kong Country Returns and you're curious, it's probably better to go with the 3DS variant. The choice is yours.
If you were a fan of the original Donkey Kong Country games then by all means play Donkey Kong Country Returns. If you never played them before and you just want to jump in, there's nothing to stop you this time around. It's a fun game, just one that can be pretty difficult. But that's not such a bad thing.
on May 24, 2013
I'm one of the sad folks who never got a chance to play Donkey Kong Country Returns on its native Wii platform. I played it for a few minutes at my local Best Buy a few years back and was instantly enthralled, but somehow I just never got around to picking it up. Fast forward to E3 2012 when the news of the 3DS port broke, and suddenly my interest is piqued once more. Since then my anticipation of the game grew to completely unexpected levels, and it was a wonderful feeling to finally download it and give it a run. I've been playing it steadily since then, and I can confirm that it's everything I wanted it to be.
This game is a very rare treat, as it's likely the only modern platformer I've played that actually feels the way it should. So many developers add guns or other tricks to their games, and most often they opt to use a visual style that is either retro or rather minimalistic. But this game is completely different; since this generation began I've dreamed of the sorts of things that could be done with 2.5D gaming, and DKCR3D is the first game to nail it. This game is absolutely oozing with charm, and the visuals are top-notch. The animations are fluid, the environments are lush and dynamic, and the experience as a whole just has an enormous amount of polish. Even on the tiny 3DS screen the backgrounds can be breathtaking, and with crumbling statues and sailing ships and even enormous enemies coming forward to interact with the player every level is a thrill. One of my problems with the New Super Mario Bros. games is that the levels have a very copy-paste quality. It seems like a group of kids could come up with a whole Mario game in a matter of days, and as such I never find myself wanting to spend money on them. But this game seems to have been expertly crafted from start to finish. It's nearly impossible to put down, because each new level is a new spectacle, and you never know what you'll find among the game's vast set pieces. And might I add that playing the game in 3D adds a tremendous amount of depth to the world. If I had played this game without any knowledge of the original version I would have never guessed in a million years that it made its debut on the Wii. It works so perfectly on the 3DS that it's as though they made the game with the little system in mind.
But a visually beautiful game is still nothing without excellent gameplay, and DKCR3D doesn't disappoint in this department. To draw another comparison with the NSMB games, many people complain that Mario feels very "floaty," and I have to agree. There just doesn't seem to be much weight to the character, and it creates a bit of a disconnect with the player. Donkey Kong on the other hand is all about the weight, which makes him feel very real and also makes him very enjoyable to control. The controls are tight and responsive, and unlike many platformers deaths rarely feel unfair. The fine people at Retro Studios added the abilities to climb and roll, which has increased the fun of the game considerably over the original Donkey Kong Country titles without making it overly-complicated. It's the perfect balance of variety and simplicity, and coupled with the wonderful visuals you'll never experience a dull moment. And for completionists, each level contains the four "KONG" letters as well as several puzzle pieces, and you can return to each level in Time Attack mode to earn medals. Between those three different ways to earn a "star" (which is much more in-depth and challenging than simply collecting three star coins) you've got every reason to return to past levels again and again.
I can't say too much about the job they did of porting the game from the Wii, as like I said, I never really played the original game. I have heard from many sources that they did a phenomenal job however and I can't see anything wrong with it. You'll get a higher framerate and resolution on your television screen, but portability and the ability to play with 3D visuals wins hands-down in my opinion.
Overall I'm extremely pleased to finally be playing this game. It seemed to go a little under-the-radar when it was first released, so it's wonderful that it's getting a second chance on the 3DS. It's a beautiful game that offers an excellent challenge, and if you're like me and never played the original you owe it to yourself to give it a go. It's platforming at its finest--everything you could want from such a game.
I grew up on the Super Nintendo, so I have a soft spot for the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. So I was excited to play this for both the Wii and 3DS.
Overall, the general spirit of the series is here. Donkey and Diddy are here along with some familiar supporting characters. Sadly, no Dixie. Kiddie Kong however is an acceptable omission, heh.
The game is pretty fun, especially hunting down all the secret rooms. But I have to admit I was disappointed in this game. As a veteran of the originals, this was hard to play. The controls were not as tight and smooth as I was accustomed to in previous games, the characters weren't as interesting, and the level design was significantly better in the originals.
If you've never played the original DKC trilogy, however, I could probably recommend this game as you would be more likely to enjoy it. Without the perfect controls and great atmosphere, story, and environments of the originals to compare to, this could be a fun and enjoyable game. But for me, it was frustrating. I'm a pretty experienced gamer, but often found the simplest jumps very frustrating to make, leading to many lost lives and level do-overs. And the game is not very forgiving to mistakes. A little bit more forgiving than the Wii version (easy mode was added here), but still very difficult at times. I enjoy intelligently difficult games, but this one is difficult in a more frustrating way (controls). The original DKC games were very difficult as well in parts, especially as you get towards the end of the game, but it was a fun difficult, where when you messed up you would think "Ah man, I screwed up." In this game though, the difficulty is more due to terrible controls and poor responsiveness.
The 3D effect is more extreme on this game, by far, than any other 3DS game I've tried. Since the 3DS has an adjustable 3D function to adjust this, that's not a problem, but it's something to be aware of. I love the heavy 3D personally, but sometimes when the slider is at max 3D, it can be a little straining, so I can see certain people not liking that.
My bottom line on this, is if you have a Wii U, skip this and get DKC Tropical Freeze, which is significantly more fun. Otherwise, this can be a good game for most, especially if you've never played the original trilogy. With how good Tropical Freeze is though, I fully expect future DKC games to continue with a high level of quality.
on August 25, 2013
How many reviews do we need of parents or grandparents who bought this game for their kids... Of course they're going to love it, they're 6 years old. Anyway...
This is a great game, for people of all ages. If you grew up with donkey kong like I did, the game definitely invokes a lot of nostalgia. Although the game doesn't really do anything new for the series (hence the 4 star rating), it's a really great game to kick back and just have fun. The platforming is tight, the level design is exceptional (3D works well here too), and it is indeed challenging as far as jumping and avoiding obstacles can get. Overall, I really loved this game, and there's a whole lot of replay-ability with things you can collect and so on. I give it a 4 star rating because as mentioned it doesn't really add anything new to the series in terms of features or gameplay. But I hope they make more DK games in the future!
Donkey Kong Country Returns, made by Retro Studios (Metroid Prime) is one of the best games of the past five years. It might be the best game on Wii. The level design is top-notch, turning the game into one that plays how a platformer would play today were the genre to have kept evolving, instead of being dumped aside for 3D games. It looks great, has tons of content, and plays extraordinarily well. The feel of Donkey and Diddy Kong was perfect. The only noticeable flaw was the control - Retro put some moves on a shaking mechanic that, while not a deal-breaker, was just a bit too imprecise for what the game demanded.
Nintendo has seen fit to move the game over to 3DS, and it's a good move. This is easily one of the best games on the 3DS, and easily tops New Super Mario Bros. 2. The Wii version's best qualities shine through. The level design and character physics are as good as ever. The graphics still look great, albeit with some downgrades. The frame rate is mostly good, although there is noticeable stuttering on busy scenes. It's not enough to really affect the flow of the game, but it is noticeable. All the levels arrive, complete with time trials (sadly, there do not seem to be leaderboards, which is a noticeable omission).
The controls ditch the shaking and instead rely on a more typical button-based configuration. Unfortunately, it's still not perfect. You can use either the d-pad or the analog slider, but, for some reason, each is tied to a certain button configuration. For example, the analog slider mode uses the L/R button as grab, which doesn't feel entirely natural. The d-pad button configuration is superior, but the low placement of the 3DS d-pad makes it a bit awkward to play with. I would have greatly appreciated a free-form configuration that would let me set any actions to any buttons.
There's also an "new" mode, which gives the characters a bit more health and offers some items to make it through tricky spots. You pick the mode at the beginning of the game and can't switch after. I haven't tried it, instead opting for the Wii mode. I am pleased to say the game remains as challenging as it was on Wii - it's a great challenge.
I gave this game five stars on fun - I love this game to bits. Retro made a masterpiece of 2D gaming here. Overall, though, I'd give the 3DS port four stars. It's an amazing game but the lack of control configurations and slight framerate drops take it down a peg. Still, it's a game that MUST MUST MUST be played by anyone who enjoys 2D gaming. Even with those slight issues, the 3DS version is excellent and well worth playing.
on August 6, 2015
It is Donkey Kong as I remembered it! I grew up playing Donkey Kong on the SNES and when I got this game for my Nintendo 3DS, I was instantly transported back to a time where games were what they should be, fun.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a perfectly executed platforming game with nostalgic appeal and fascinating gameplay for any generation. The 3D part I don't really have a comment on, as I play in 2D, though I am sure that it is fantastic as well.
Own this game if you are an old school gamer or a new school gamer looking for a fun adventurous platformer!
on June 2, 2013
"Donkey Kong Country Returns" was, in many ways, a benchmark for what a modern platformer ought to be. Inventive, fun, and infuriating in equal doses, and packed with replay value to boot. That being said, there were some notable issues that held it back from being as great as its predecessors; namely, the shoehorned inclusion of motion controls, and an unforgiving difficulty that new players might not appreciate. But like usual, Nintendo has heard the complaints, and decided to give it a second shot. Enter "DKCR 3D", a large improvement over the first version, and one of the must-haves for the 3DS, as well as for 2013.
The story isn't really integral to the entire experience, but it's worth recapping. There are strange creatures disturbing the wildlife of DK and Diddy Kong's habitat, ones that are shaped like instruments that lull animals into a trance. This is bad enough, but the most egregious error they made was to start stealing all of the island's bananas for some nefarious reason. Cue the dynamic ape duo to barrel in (erm, no pun intended) and start jumping and rolling their way to the root of this madness.
As you know by now, this is a 2D platformer game, like a majority of the past DK entries. You'll platform your way through eight worlds (plus a hidden ninth one exclusive to this version), each with a varying amount of levels. There are jungles, mines, pirate ships, and other fun worlds to explore, each with alternate paths and an unfathomable amount of hidden content. One playthrough is simply not enough to get the most out of this game, and it's one of the rare experiences that is truly worth seeking out the secrets for. It's a difficult feat to make finding seemingly trivial tokens in odd places seem worthwhile, but Retro somehow managed to pull it off.
Now, if you've played a game in the Country series, then you already know about the difficulty. If you haven't, though, then it's important to note that this is a seriously unforgiving experience. Precision is of the utmost importance, and the challenge gets ratcheted up quite quickly. Once you hit the fourth world, the game will reward caution and punish confidence; after this point, there is positively no room for error, and you will die several times before getting even a tad bit farther along. That being said, there is a "New Mode" that lightens the load a bit, and gives you extra life. But masochists like myself can still enjoy the game with its original difficulty intact. Well... "enjoy" is a relative term in this case.
The difficulty is definitely eased in this version, in any case, because of the finely tuned controls. Waggling the Wii remote is a thing of the past; ground-pounding and grabbing have been remapped to the X/Y and R/L buttons, respectively. It's shocking how much of a difference this makes. Levels that made blind with anger in the original version are now significantly more easy to get through. Furthermore, this new layout allows players to focus on tight, accurate platforming as opposed to finagling with motion controls issues. As a longtime fan of the series, it makes me happy to see Nintendo understanding that the precision of the games is what made many people fall in love with it.
Another thing that defines the series is its soundtrack (originally done by David Wise, who is now held captive at Microsoft... god rest his soul), and DKCR definitely has one of the best. A large team of composers retooled classic melodies from the series, as well as adding some new tunes of their owns. This results in one of the most absolutely astonishing soundtracks in a game today, covering a variety of styles and soundscapes. From cheerful to eerie to exciting, the evocative score is positively delightful, and cannot be praised enough.
Nor can the fantastic environments, each with their own unique flavor and gameplay element. But while the aforementioned variety of these is impressive, what is truly astonishing is how good they look on the 3DS. Despite the barely noticeable drop in framerate and texture detail, everything here looks crisp and vibrant. Almost no significant graphical adjustments have been made, which makes for one of the most beautiful games on Nintendo's handheld. Extra points should be awarded for the impressive 3D effects, which really add a great deal of depth to the levels, moreso than in any other game.
This year, only a few games have captivated me, but only one ("Tomb Raider") has done so like this. "Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D" is not only the best version of the game, but one of Nintendo's finest achievements. Punishing and rewarding, fun and frustrating, this wonderful adventure is full of content that will last you for ages. This is not only one of the best 3DS or Nintendo games, but one of the best games of 2013... and perhaps of all time, just like the pedigree to which it belongs.
Full of heart, fun, and creativity, Nintendo and Retro's adventure is about as perfect as a game can get.
on December 2, 2015
The game is awesome. It definitely brought me back to the days of SNES, I love that feeling. It is a challenging yet fun experience that anyone can enjoy. The music is also great! The game itself arrived in excellent conditions.
on February 17, 2014
When DKCR first came out for the Wii, I was so excited that I bought it the day it came out. I played it for countless hours, and remember always popping it in every so often just to replay levels that I had already beat several times. When I heard that the 3DS version of it came with extra levels, I knew that I had to buy it. While I would not say that it is the best game in the DKC series (mostly because I have not had a chance to play Tropical Freeze yet), I can easily say that DKCR is the most innovative and challenging thus far. If you have a chance, I would play it on the Wii first before trying it on the 3DS, just so you can get a feel for how the game plays.