Donkey Kong Country Returns Is $US60, And The Yanks Are Spitting The Dummy About It

Donkey Kong Country Returns Is $US60, And The Yanks Are Spitting The Dummy About It

Donkey Kong Country Returns HD is an enhanced version of the 2010 Wii game coming to Switch in 2025, and fans can’t believe Nintendo is charging $US60 for it. The price was revealed in the new eShop listing and makes last year’s Metroid Prime Remaster look like an incredible deal by comparison.

Editor’s note: A quick check around the traps suggests that, at least in Australia, Donkey Kong Country Returns is priced between $69-$79.95 AUD, which is well within normal and expected local pricing. However, Nintendo AUNZ does not yet appear to have a store page for physical or digital versions of the game. It’s possible that retailers like EB Games and JB Hi-Fi are simply running with placeholder pricing for preorders until Nintendo confirms its official local pricing. For now, everything seems normal locally, but I’ve reached out to Nintendo AUNZ for clarification and will update this piece if we hear back. — David.

Revealed in the big June Nintendo Direct, Donkey Kong Country Returns HD ports the platforming franchise’s 2010 revival to a modern platform with higher resolution graphics and, based on the trailer footage, some notable visual improvements to level backgrounds that give them more detail and depth. It also comes with the additional levels added to the previous 3DS port of the game and a mode that scales down the difficulty. It’s a great game in a beloved franchise that deserved a comeback. But $US60?

Some Switch owners on social media immediately scoffed at the price. Many shared screenshots of an old Hard Drive parody titled “Nintendo Holds 12 Hour Meeting to Decide if Company Can Survive Selling ‘Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze’ for Less Than $US60.” Fans on Reddit were also flummoxed. “I don’t understand why Nintendo gets away with this,” wrote one user. “If Ubisoft or EA pulled this type of stuff, you’d see dozens of boycott posts a day.”

You can see the logic in the company’s thinking. Since the sequel, Tropical Freeze, was priced at $US60, doing the same for Donkey Kong Country Returns HD helps signal that it’s a similar value proposition, and deserves the same premium. On the other hand, Tropical Freeze was a Wii U port that added more to the previous version. It was also arguably a better game.

You can see a lot of examples of Nintendo experimenting with variable pricing for its back catalog. Mario vs. Donkey Kong was a remake of a Game Boy Advance Game and it was only $US50. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp was $US60 but it included visual overhauls of two games. And then there was Metroid Prime Remastered, an immaculate re-rendering of the GameCube classic that was only $US40.

That’s the one that has people scratching their heads the most in comparison to Returns HD. Does Nintendo have less faith in the Metroid brand or did it want to see what would happen if it sold Metroid Prime 4: Beyond’s predecessor at a much more aggressive price? Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, another remaster of a GameCube game, was also $US60 after all. Such is the power of the moustachioed plumber, even when he’s a 2D cutout. Then again, the Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a collection containing Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy, was $US60 for three games. Who can know the mind of Nintendo? Not me.

It’s hard to get too mad at the company for trying to preserve the value of its back catalogue, even if I’ll stick to my 3DS copy of the game at that price. But what it does do is make the anomaly of Metroid Prime feel like even more of a steal. The game’s even on sale right now for just $US34 on the eShop. Hopefully, some potential Metroid Prime 2 and 3 remasters keep the trend going. Maybe they’ll even get bundled for $US60 for both. A Nintendo fan can dream.

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