Community Review: Donkey Kong Country Returns

I spent my entire saturday afternoon playing this game. My experience went like this...

-World 1: Hmm this is a bit boring - whatever, it's Donkey Kong, I'll keep going. -World 2: Yawn. I thought this game was supposed to be awesome. -World 3: WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING THIS GAME IS THE BEST THING EVER!

So yes, Donkey Kong Country Returns is a genuine slow burn. It breaks you in almost too gently, then instantly ramps it up with the kind of Yoshi's Island-esque level of creativity that'll have your synapses doing somersaults. In a similar manner to Mario Galaxy 2, every level throws a new mechanic, or concept, your way. It's dripping in a wealth of inventiveness, chucking you genius ideas almost on a whim.

But it gets tough. Very tough. Not Super Meat Boy tough - not the kind of rewarding 'tough' that makes it difficult to walk away from the game - we're irritatingly tough. Lodge your Wii Remote in your plasma tough - tough in a sometimes unfair way. That would be my major criticism - the random difficulty spikes that occur throughout the game.

That said, it's still probably my favourite 2D platformer since New SUPER MARIO BROS. Wii. The co-op play isn't quite as satisfying in this title. It doesn't have that charm, and the ability to ensnare a more casual audience, but as a single player experience it's easily on an equal footing.

It sports some of the most incredible level design I've ever seen in any game, in any genre. Donkey Kong Country Returns cements Retro Studios' reputation, and has me salivating for whatever they approach next. Metroid Prime is one of my favourite games of all time, and while Donkey Kong Country Returns doesn't quite attain that level of genius, it is one of the best games released on the Nintendo Wii this year.

But what do you guys think? I've chucked in Junglist's review below as a second opinion - but I'm keen to hear what you guys think. Let us know in the comments below!


    I played it at a mates house briefly...

    ... I cannot believe it.

    They combined nostalgia, great gameplay, a brilliant sound-track, lovable characters, spectacular level design, innovative controls and pure brilliance into one product... and I love it!

    My only qualm is that sometimes the controls aren't *QUITE* as responsive as I'd like them to be, but it isn't anything significant that ruins the game.

    Overall, I give it a 4.5/5. Almost perfect! :D

      i'm enjoying the game, but 'innovative controls'???

      please explain

    Excellent game.

    My one gripe is the insistence of using "waggle" controls, particularly with rolling. I can't count the times when I have tried to roll jump, but the roll didn't kick in and I simply walked into death.

    Other then that I agree with everything Serrels said.

    Still waiting for OzGameShop to ship mine.
    Status says it's "awaiting release date" but we know that's come and gone. The product page says they're out of stock so I'm guessing they got more pre-orders than they had stock.
    Probably won't end up getting it until January, now.

      I got an email from them yesterday saying that mine has just shipped. I wonder just how many pre-orders they received.

    I've been obsessively playing it over the weekend, even when I died 1000 times in the rocket levels I STILL KEPT GOING until I made it through. On seeing those checkpoint pigs at times I would breathe a sigh of relief because it meant I wouldn't need to redo the impossible section I just barely passed (at least until I ran out of lives).

    I beat the final boss last night, completed the game 100% with all KONG letters and orb things. Now I need to get all the puzzle pieces and more...

    Fantastic game.

    I love this game. Haven't played it as much as I would like to, though (still finishing Assassin's Creed Brotherhood).

    Donkey Kong Country Returns has really hit me right in the nostalgia spot, both me and my fiance are huge retro Nintendo fans and we are loving this game.

    The first moment I knew I loved this game was the moment I first crash landed in Sunset Shores, this is truly taking a reboot both far beyond the original material while still maintain every little detail that made it a timeless classic. Although I do wish the Kremlings were back, but the little Tikis are almost as amusing. the visuals are indeed as breath taking as stated above and i feel this is really where the Wii could of carved itself out a chunk of the "hardcore" gamer market, and I hope we can see more brilliant work from Retro in the near future.

    The only really negative point is the same as most people have already been stated: Wii Waggle, seems completely obligatory and forced, I was hoping beyond hope to be able to use my classic controller, but alas i was denied.

    Thank you for your perspective on the game, Mark. And what I want to know is why they got rid of JUNGLIST on GOOD GAME? It's really beyond me why they made a decision like that - he's such a comprehensive and entertaining reviewer.

    This game doesn't look half bad, but that waggle business is just...well, it's stupid really. If there was one major complaint about this generation of NINTENDO, aside from the fact that it has a pretty lackluster library, is the fact that they introduced this control scheme. Not only did they have games 'utilise' these controls, but they made them mandatory in so many places as well.

      There was a huge shitstorm about this (junglist getting fired from Good Game) months ago when it happened.

      Reasons range from him not seeing eye-to-eye with the producers on how long they should be able to play games for before reviewing them, to the producers deciding they wanted a girl on the show, to p-nutz coming back to life and possessing bajo in order to make Jung ragequit.

      Everyone has their own side of the story that none of them will agree on, so no-one knows for sure. All we know is that they let a great guy go, and it turned an awesome games review show to a merely OK one!

    Love the game, but I'm kind of disappointed by all the difficulty complaints. I've never stopped gaining lives, save for laziness once I got over 90. Are you guys really having this tough a time?

    Brilliant, very fun game. Level design is awesome, soundtrack is great and lots of little jokes hidden throughout had me constantly amused.

    No issues with the difficulty but that being said, there are a few things I didn't like:

    -Pacing is a little bit off. Instead of the (unintentionally, I'm sure) slow/boring levels I would've preferred deliberate underwater levels, what with there serenity'n'stuff. They were good fun, disappointed they were missing.

    -Controls are irritating and uncomfortable. Okay, okay - include motion controls to justify it being on Wii, but please give me the option to play with a GC or classic controller. Holding the Wiimote on it's 3cm-thick side and trying to coordinate button presses and less-than-ideal 'waggling' isn't comfortable nor as precise as you'd expect for a platformer.

    -Co-op doesn't really work for me. It can be fun, but more often someone's unintentionally griefing. Should've stuck with the system from the original series, 'tighter' and better.

    -No Kremlings? >:(

    The new features and mechanics work well enough, but the game overall works so well because there haven't been any drastic changes to the original formula. As a result, it's easy to recommend to any Wii owner, whether they grew up with Donkey Kong or not, as a must have game.

    I really need to catch up on Wii games, SMG 2, Goldeneye and now this.

    Personally, I think this game has a few problems with the remote shaking features, but this may be because I played the original Donkey Kong Country games for so long. Although it would have been nice to be able to choose between different controller configurations, it's not impossible to get used to the rolling feature. I haven't tried very many of the "time trial" level challenges, but I had to guess, the rolling could get frustrating during them. It's too bad that the multiplayer mode doesn't "zoom out" at times instead of letting one of the players get lost off screen (New Super Mario Brothers Wii is a good example of this feature), and I think maybe giving Donkey Kong a half flutter-jump (kind of like what Yoshi does) would help even out the jumping abilities he and Diddy Kong have. I can imagine it would be a half-hilarious, half-believable (in a video game way) to have Donkey Kong swat at the air below him to stay up a little longer, maybe not as long as Diddy Kong, but just enough to make landing a jump a little easier.

    But aside from that, the game is really, really great. It's still one of my favorites of all time. The graphics look great, and the levels are really fun, but can get challenging. The challenge keeps you coming back, and even after you finish the game the first time you'll probably find yourself going through the game several more times to unlock everything. What can you unlock? A little bit of everything. There's a picture gallery with concept art for the game, the game's music tracks, dioramas that you can pan around and zoom in and out on, and even... More levels. The extra levels are a tough challenge in themselves, and if you can complete all of them you have the option to play through all the levels - with the layout reversed! Plus, you can only have one heart, so if you get hit by anything, you're done for. Completing all the levels in this "extreme hard mode" is no small feat. I'm working on a descriptive walkthrough for this game for anyone who wants a preview of what the levels are like, it'll also tell you where to find the puzzle pieces and KONG letters for the levels, and hopefully prepare you for some of the challenges you'll face. Here it is:

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now