First Appeared on The Legend of Lorie
If you’re looking for a challenge on your Nintendo Wii U system, look no further as Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze will most likely make you go bananas… in a good way, of course. Retro Studios brings a direct sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns giving players a new adventure, additional playable characters, and unique ways to take on brand new, gorgeous levels.
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze takes place after the Nintendo Wii title, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Starting the game, you see Donkey Kong and his friends watch as their home is overrun by animal vikings known as the “Snomads” who freeze Donkey Kong’s island. Donkey Kong and his gang set off in an attempt to take back their home traversing through water levels, icy terrains, and many other challenges.
- The evil snowmads that are the new enemies in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.
If you’ve played the previous Donkey Kong Country games, you’ll be very familiar with the frustrating yet addicting platforming mechanics. Donkey Kong can roll, jump, and ground smash his way through enemies and obstacles. Besides your basic maneuvering on the ground, Donkey Kong and the gang will need to swing on vines, travel on various vehicles and animals, and now swim through treacherous deterrents. Controlling DK and the gang while swimming will take some time getting used to at first as the controls were a bit shaky, however, I was surprised at the attention to detail that was given to the newly added swimming gameplay. If you were to jump in the water, DK gracefully dives right in instead of his normal clunky, gorilla jump. In addition to the new underwater levels and swimming mechanics; the vehicles in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze have been revamped a bit. When riding in a mine cart, the screen will sometimes switch to 3D where controls will be shifted to navigate the cart by jumping from side to side. This happens interchangeably from side scrolling, to 3D, and then viewing the game from above. This adds a slightly new challenge to the already difficult mine cart levels. Speaking of difficulty, the Donkey Kong Country series has been known to give even the best of platformer gamers nightmares but in Tropical Freeze, the difficulty has been toned down a notch. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is still incredibly difficult. If you press the jump button too hard while on a mine cart level, you’ll hit an enemy flying only inches above the track or an incorrectly timed barrel shot will equal your inevitable demise. Nintendo, however, added a few things to make DK’s adventure a little bit easier for players like a shield power up you can buy from Funky Kong’s shop to help you pass that frustrating mine cart level. Regardless, if you’re a patient person then you’ll be looked at as a saint in the gaming community for beating a pretty difficult game.
- Underwater levels are a new and fun addition to the Donkey Kong Country series.
Retro Studios has done an amazing job at rebooting an already beloved video game that originally released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System about 20 years ago. One of the most notable things has been the revamped soundtrack and the stunning graphics. A new soundtrack has been added to Tropical Freeze but veterans of the Donkey Kong Country series will notice a couple of tracks that sound a bit familiar. Why does it sound so familiar? Because David Wise, the original composer of the Donkey Kong Country series, was brought back on board for Tropical Freeze. You’ll find yourself humming or bobbing your head to the catchy, island-y type tunes that are in this game. On the subject of island-y type… “things”, the graphics in Tropical Freeze are beautiful. DK’s home has been transformed into an tropical mix of arctic and fire-y madness. Many levels take place in chaotic situations that DK and his gang have to escape from. One specific example that was actually one of my favorites in the game was a level that took place inside of a tornado. I found myself several times putting the controller down and just gawking at some of the brilliantly thought out levels and scenery. If you’re like me and notice the little things, you’ll see that the updated graphics have improved on the Wii U system. Donkey Kong looks “fuzzy” and you’ll notice Cranky Kong’s wrinkles in his muzzle. Basically, the game is gorgeous and it looks absolutely flawless playing on the television and off-screen on the Wii U Game pad. Tropical Freeze does not utilize the Wii U game pad in anyway except for having the ability to play off screen while leaving the main television screen available for another activity. I was slightly disappointed that there was not as much integration with the Wii U game pad but was still satisfied with the ability to play the game on the game pad when someone else in my household demanded the main television.
I’ve mentioned a few times in this review already but obviously Donkey Kong can’t save his island alone and in Tropical Freeze he has more than just Diddy Kong to help him on his quest. Besides Diddy Kong, additional playable characters have been added to the game with nifty abilities that will help with certain challenges players will come across. Diddy and Donkey Kong’s blonde haired friend, Dixie Kong, joins the gang and has some pretty useful tricks up her sleeve… or should we say ponytail? Look for the barrel with the cute, pink text to release Dixie and utilize her helicopter-like pony tail ability. This ability will help Donkey Kong hover in the air after a jump and will also lift him higher for a bit. If you’re playing as Dixie in co-operative mode, Dixie uses a bubble gun and a projectile and can also double jump. Cranky Kong also joins the team this time and even though he’s old, he is definitely still useful to Donkey Kong. Cranky can use his cane to bounce DK off of the ground and traverse through terrains that contain spikes or thorns. If you’re playing as Cranky Kong in co-operative mode, he throws dentures at enemies as his projectile weapon. With all of these playable characters; when you collect 100 bananas, you can utilize a new ability called “Kong Pow”. When you use Diddy Kong’s kong pow, all enemies on the screen will be turned into red balloons which are extra lives. If you use Dixie Kong’s kong pow, all of the enemies on the screen will turn into golden hearts which allow Donkey Kong to withstand one more hit before depleting red hearts. Last but not least, if you use Cranky Kong’s kong pow ability, all enemies into banana coins which allows players to purchase items from Funky Kong’s shop. With the addition of these characters, tackling the challenges in Tropical Freeze makes things a bit more interesting.
- After collecting 100 bananas, players can activate the “kong pow” ability which does different things depending on which character DK is partied with.
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is a fantastic addition to the Donkey Kong Country series. Fans of the Donkey Kong Country series will instantly recognize the upbeat music, the difficult yet addicting platforming mechanics, and the memorable characters that really make the Donkey Kong Country series special. Don’t be fooled, however, this game is different from it’s predecessor. With a new story, new ways to take on the environment, additional playable characters, and a brand new soundtrack; you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not have this game in your Wii U library.