Review by Galactus21

Reviewed: 02/08/16

Cause I'm going bananas!

While being one of the more iconic characters in video games, I must admit I have never really played a Donkey Kong game in depth. With Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze on the Wii U, I thought I would give it a shot. Tropical Freeze follows Donkey Kong and some of his buddies like Dixie Kong and Diddy Kong. With a quick intro in the beginning, where Donkey Kong's home is being invaded by baddies, Kong starts his trek across six worlds filled with platforming goodness.

Tropical Freeze is made by talented Retro Studios and is filled with some fairly brutal difficulty throughout. Sometimes the difficulties feels a tad bit cheap, but overall the experience I had with the game was a positive one. The new Donkey Kong game is a 2d platformer, where users will control Kong to roll, pound, jump, and stomp through numerous levels.

During each level, Kong can utilize barrels that hold one of your buddies like Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky Kong. Each partner can provide extra hearts and boosts for Donkey Kong during the levels. For instance, Diddy's jet pack makes it easier to traverse large gaps due to his jet packs. The extra boosts also enhances the experience, but when Kong doesn't have one of his partners the game at times feels inherently cheap. Rough sequences without partner barrels make things a bit frustrating at times due to Kong's inability to jump as far.

With that said, each level feels like plenty of love went into it. Through each level, there are a plethora of goodies like bananas and coins. Sometimes trying to collect these are quite challenging and rewarding that requires quick and timely reflexes from players. With each levels there are also secrets to unlock extra items throughout.

In addition to these collectibles, there will be enemies spread out each level. Usually the enemies can be disposed of by jumping on them, doing a Donkey Kong pound, rolling into them, or tossing an object towards them. Enemies on top of various platforms make quick reflexes and timing essential. A sample level will also consist of various platforms, shooting barrel, climbing sequences and so forth. These help keep things varied, but also makes for focused gaming with quick reflexes throughout.

There are also variations to the level design, with water base levels making an appearance or levels consisting of Kong riding a shooting barrel. Another highlight to Tropical Freeze are the intense and well designed boss battles. At the end of each world, there will be boss battles. Each boss battle feels like its own unique experience. Playing against a boss felt intense and satisfying.

Like some old school platformers, Donkey Kong features plenty of precise maneuvers, such as jumping from one platform to another moving platform, as well as other various obstacles. For the most part, this is tons of fun, but there are instances where it does feel a bit cheap. This mostly has to do with limitations of Donkey Kong and his ability to jump without some of his partners like Diddy Kong. This ultimately isn’t a major detriment to the game, but is definitely something that could have been better designed.

Throughout these levels, users can accumulate banana or bunches of bananas, coins, puzzle pieces, and other goodies. At the end of each stage is a barrel where Kong jumps into to get an additional prize. Getting to that point can sometimes be a bit frustrating, but also quite rewarding. There’s also secret passages that allows you to accumulate more. Unearthing these can sometimes yield a present surprise. Within each level, is also the ability for players to purchase additional items, such as extra partner barrels that can be used during a level.

Donkey Kong spanned six worlds, with plenty of levels in each world. As such, the game lasted fairly long for me, especially when you take into account all the times I died during a level. With that said, the game’s replay factor does feel a bit limited after you beat the game. The game also sports some beautiful and colorful graphics for the Wii U. All the vibrant colors help enhance the overall feel of the game. The movement of characters on a classical two dimensional plane look great. The musical soundtrack is also stellar and fits the overall mood of the game.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is a fun games that shows moments of greatness. At times, it is dragged down by feelings of cheap and unnecessary difficulties. This coupled with limited replay factor drags the game down a tiny bit. However, the overall package from platform game play elements, cohesively designed levels, wide array of collectibles, and colorful graphics makes this a more than worthy title to play on the Wii U. If you have a Wii U, I highly suggest Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (US, 02/21/14)

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