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Donkey Kong Country Returns Swings Onto 3DS

20 May Posted by + in Handhelds, Reviews | 3 comments

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New ideas pop up fast and often with some truly outstanding moments that include; huge waves moving toward the screen forcing you to constantly take shelter under nearby rocks (a level that truly looks even better with the 3D slider turned up), a stage that sees you trying to outrun a large swarm of spiders and a stage where everything in the environment moves in time with the music. Much like any Mario game the creativity here is fantastic meaning no two stages will feel the same.

As well as the usual platforming focused stages, the infamous mine cart races also make a welcome return. Here it’s all about quick reactions and timing as Donkey and Diddy Kong jump from moving cart to moving cart avoiding enemies and other obstacles. Perhaps not so welcome is the addition of new rocket barrel stages. Here you simply tap and hold the jump button in order to raise and lower your descent in a flying rocket barrel. You’re constantly moving forward so it’s all about timing your movements to avoid bats, lava and falling debris. These are an okay idea, only made frustrating by the fact its one hit and you’re finished. The fact that a single slip can send you way back to a past checkpoint is infuriating at times. Thankfully the games new easier mode allows two hits on such stages.

Speaking of the game’s “new mode” anyone intimidated by the original’s evil difficulty can opt to receive extra help. By default the two Kongs will now have three hearts instead of two. Cranky’s House will also feature a number of new power-ups to aid you in your quest. As well as the usual extra lives and health boosts you’ll also be able to purchase a green balloon that saves you from a single pitfall as well as a potion that allows two hits during the games more frustrating mine cart and rocket levels.

Finishing a stage in one piece in Donkey Kong Country Returns is only half the battle with hidden collectables adding to both the game’s difficulty and lifespan. Jigsaw pieces reward you with bonus art, music and dioramas while the familiar K-O-N-G letters unlock even tougher stages. Whatsmore every single stage can be played as a time trial and even backward with just one heart and no Diddy Kong at your disposal. With over eighty stages and plenty reason to play through multiple times, you’re looking at a fairly lengthy 3DS adventure ahead of you.

Multiplayer sadly requires two copies of the game to play, however should you have the chance to try it out; you’re definitely in for a treat.

So is the 3DS version better than the Wii one? Yes and no really. The frame rate here is halved to just 30fps even with 3D switched off meaning you won’t get the same silky smooth experience you did on the Wii. The 3D effect however is excellent lending itself perfectly to the game’s constant switching between foreground and background. Just take a look at likely the game’s most stylish looking stage where the foreground and Kongs appear as silhouettes set against a stunning sunset backdrop and you’ll see what I mean.

The controls are an area where the 3DS definitely has the Wii beat. While still not perfect (two control schemes with no customisation whatsoever) the fact you don’t need to shake the control/console to perform a rolling attack feels much better and natural with a simple button press.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is another great addition to the 3DS’ already strong library and a fantastic port overall. While the frame rate isn’t a smooth as its Wii original, the removal of waggle controls seem like a good trade off. If you’ve yet to try DK’s Wii adventure then definitely give this platformer a look. For those returning however, the addition of eight new stages may not be enough to warrant a second purchase right away.

Final Summary
A fantastic looking port, with great 3D use that’s only let down by its lower frame rate.
A mixture of remixed tunes and new ones create a great sense of nostalgia.
Brilliant, fine-tuned platforming at its best. Extra difficulty also makes for a refreshing change.
A great platformer and an excellent addition to the 3DS library.

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  1. Beyoncé05-20-13


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    • tgiadmin05-20-13

      Hey Beyoncé,

      thanks for that,
      Ryan has altered the article.

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