Preview – Donkey Kong Country Returns

The MCM Expo has been and gone. But fortunately, I got a chance to try my hand on a number of new titles not yet out here in Europe! First on the list is of course, Donkey Kong Country Returns. I won’t lie, as soon as I heard it was playable I jumped for joy like the 6-year-old I am. Hit the jump for the full preview on DK and Diddy’s latest adventure!

I’ll get the most important thing out of the way. If you’re expecting this game to play like the originals then I suggest you lower your expectations. While it wears the Donkey Kong Country name, it’s a whole new game. No pre-rendered models, no Kremlings and certainly no King.K.Rool. Despite the lack of these things, the game was very, very enjoyable.

In the demo I played (several times), I was given the choice of 4 different levels. I only played two of the four levels but I got a good grasp of how the game plays. The first time I played I blasted off to the retro haven known simply as Jungle Hijinx. The level starts off with DK going banana slamma on his house, when suddenly he bursts out, taking the door with him. At that exact moment, one of the most well-known songs in the series begins to play. Yep … this is Donkey Kong alright.

As you progress through the level, you’ll begin to realise that this isn’t the Jungle Hijinx you played as a kid. Bridges, totem poles and rotating platforms litter the stage, along with some new features. As you’ve seen in the trailers, you can jump into the background via a barrel and continue your adventure there. It works really well and it’s fun watching DK and Diddy blast off in the opposite direction. KONG letters can still be found in levels but there are now Jigsaw pieces too. Banjo Kazooie reference?

The co-op play is actually very fun, much more so than in the originals. I got a chance to co-op with a friend who isn’t an ABG staff member and we tackled the third stage in the demo, Rickety Rails. The level throws you into a water slide and tosses you into an underground mine where, after some careful platforming, you’re greeted to a mine cart section. Fear not readers, as these sections are as stupidly difficult as they were back then. Although, when we were in co-op, we never figured out how to make Diddy jump on DK’s back. Something to try next time I suppose.

If you were to ask me what I enjoyed most about Donkey Kong County Returns, I would answer music. Retro Studios have kept and remixed all the iconic music of the originals, giving them new life. When I heard the original map music on the level select screen, I think I made a facial expression I didn’t know I could do. Couldn’t hear a lot of it over the noise of the hall but I can recognise that song anywhere. I’ll say it now, best game at MCM, possible Game of the Year.

It’s not quite on the level of the originals but it’s Donkey Kong and Diddy at their finest. Don’t let the lack of Kremlings put you off, it’s shaping up to be the best platformer on Wii.

Donkey Kong Country Returns will hit Europe on December 3rd for Nintendo Wii.

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2 Responses to “Preview – Donkey Kong Country Returns”

  1. […] Be sure to check out Cazza’s preview of the game here. […]

  2. Thanks!…

    I hope you can continue to build a sounds community here, I’ve quite loved the experience of visiting your blog so far….

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