Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze from the very start shines and has this reviewer excited from the get-go. The moment you launch the game you are greeted by charming music and a catchy “Dooooonnnnnkkkkeeeeeeeyyy Koooooonnng” which I will admit I attempt to imitate every time I launch the game and at times I purposely relaunch it just for this reason. I don’t know if you will find this nearly as enjoyable as I have, but this is probably the best launch I’ve ever had for a game. The game features more companions than its predecessor and co op is an available feature. Anyway lets continue on with the actual game.
The story is interesting from the start as well and aside from the major key levels you don’t see it much. Donkey Kong’s tropical island as you might imagine is going through a bit of a climate shift and this is not due to global warming, but penguins. Well, not solely penguins their faction is called the Snowmads which consists of viking-themed arctic creatures ( I know charming, right?) The story starts off with the Kongs enjoying Donkey’s birthday and then the Snowmads appear. Their leader blows a mysterious horn which summons an ice dragon that evidently hates tropical weather as it puts all the existing islands in a state of perpetual winter and conveniently blows the Kongs away from their main island base, forcing you to play as Donkey with assisting family members to ultimately retake your country going from island to island defeating various bosses and completely amazingly detailed levels.
The gameplay has some neat features as well. The companions you have each have their own special perks and each companion offers something new to your adventure and you have to use them wisely. For instance Dixie Kong offers more of a hover with a slight boost to her and your height changes while her hair spins, while Diddy Kong’s rockets boost you up, but are more stable and stay leveled. Cranky Kong on the other hand uses his cane as a pogo stick for Donkey Kong to plummet down on to spikes and other harmful things safely. Each companion has their uses and you can’t go through the entire game using only one specific character.
In some instances you can’t even collect every collectible on levels without switching them out. Another notable feature would be Kong POW which fills up as Donkey Kong and his companion go through levels collecting bananas and is a completely new feature to the series. What Kong POW does is when used turns all of the enemies on-screen in to items for Donkey Kong to quickly grab. The game also features rideable objects like mine carts, logs, and even animals that Donkey Kong can ride through specific levels that are not available like the companions. Along with climbing, swimming, and jumping obstacles. The gameplay is more traditional, but it does have neat features added in to it that really makes it shine.
The levels are great in just about every sense. They’re detailed, have a great variety, and features their share of puzzles, hidden treasures, and collectibles. The collectibles also actually have a meaning as well. Collecting 100% of certain items for certain levels unlocks quicker paths to the final destination on the islands. You can collect these and skip levels to make the game go by faster or you can just go and do every level. The game features 6 main islands each one different than the last. The game’s levels are well thought out with detail in the backgrounds, various challenges, and a plethora of collectibles and hidden stages which the player will actually have to look for. The variety of levels truly is astounding and at the end I came out feeling as if every level had something new and exciting for me to enjoy.
The challenge of the game is existing and unlike most platformers it actually has a Hard Mode after you beat every level in the game. Where your companion only has one heart, can use no items, the player receives no check points, and must go through it alone. While I have not yet tested this mode I have played the game and have dealt with the challenges of the run of the mill platform game.
The music in Donkey Kong Country: Tropic Freeze is… well amazing. From start to finish the levels all have well placed music that keep my feet tapping to the rhythm even as I’m stuck and getting frustrated. The music in this game is overall amazing and an absolute blast to listen to while playing through the game. The music in the game is by far one of the most enjoyable features as it is so well done and creates an ambient environment for the player. This is one of the few games where I enjoy blasting my surround sound and leaning back in my chair as I go through it.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a great game and with how few of these the Wii u currently has it is hard to not recommend this to Wii U owners and is considered a must buy on the console. With great music, great level design, and an overall amazing experience for the player that can be even more enjoyable through co op. It is hard to narrow down why the game is so enjoyable because everything fits together so well and even separated the areas would still be considered enjoyable, but added together in such a meticulous way improves upon the game so greatly that you can’t help but wish for a sequel. It is an enjoyable experience from start to finish that has me tap tap tappin’ along to the beautiful music and in awe at the overall level designs. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is something I find hard to not recommend.
Overall Score: 9.5 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Developer: Retro Studios
Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
Available On: Nintendo Wii U
Review Copy Info: A physical copy of the game was purchased by RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this review.