-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!