Title: Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
Release Date: March 24, 2013
Publisher (Developer): Nintendo (Monster Games Inc.)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone” for Mild Cartoon Violence
Ports can be a tricky thing. The game involved has to be good enough to actually merit one, for starters. Not to mention the system it’s moving to has to be capable of running it. Finally, there should be some kind of incentive to make the whole thing worth buying and playing again. Fortunately, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D passes each of those checkpoints and barrel rolls its way to success. It’s a port people won’t mind picking up and playing, as the base game and new features are good enough to make it worth getting invested again.
Tikis aren’t all friendly and loveable.
Whoops, “were” all asleep. A volcanic eruption woke Tiki Tong the rest of his tribe up. Even though they probably don’t have to eat, being enchanted, anthropomorphic items, they’ve decided to use their hypnotic music to place island animals under banana-stealing spells. The typically innocent creatures then go and steal all of the bananas on the island.
This does not sit well with the banana-loving Donkey Kong. So he sets out, aided by Diddy Kong and Cranky Kong, to defeat the Tikis and liberate the bananas.
Transforming a Wii classic into a 3DS classic.
I’d say one of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D‘s biggest accomplishments is how similar it is to its big brother on the Wii. Of course, all of the gameplay is the same. Players guide Donkey Kong through levels, jumping, ground pounding, rolling, throwing barrels and riding animals, rockets or mine carts. Of course this time, motion controls are omitted and ground pounding and rolling happens at the press of a button, rather than with a shake of a remote. Trust me when I say this is a very good thing.
The part that really threw me is how Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D also manages to both look and sound the same. I know there are some segments where it may not be as vibrant and detailed as Donkey Kong Country Returns, but the only way someone would actually notice this is if they had both versions of the game open at the same time, and even then they’d be pressed to point out every instance where one tops the other. I wasn’t a big fan of the 3D perspective, as it seemed a bit jarring and distracting during frantic moments, but a less-than-perfect 3D experience won’t tarnish people’s appreciation of the game.
Another plus is how Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D doesn’t force change on the player. As many know, the original game was known for being pretty tough and offered a Super Guide option where the game would play itself to get someone through a level after a certain number of failed attempts. That option still remains, and is joined by an additional gameplay mode called New Mode. (The original is called Original.) In this take, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong both have three hearts instead of two, Cranky Kong shops are everywhere and have new powerups to make it easier to survive and up to three of said powerups can be equipped before a level, compared to Original’s one.
However, don’t let New Mode fool you. All it does is give the player a little more leeway and a chance to bring in more powerups, like three Crash Guards to make minecart levels a little less menacing. None of the levels have been altered and are just as challenging as they were before. Though, if even the idea of an extra assist bothers you, Original Mode is waiting. Just know that once you pick a mode, you are locked into it and can’t swap to the other if it’s too easy/difficult.
Naturally, there’s new content as well. Regardless of which mode is chosen, there is a new area that can be unlocked with eight more levels to play. It’s a nice reward at the end of a long Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D run and the new levels fill in perfectly with the old. The extra unlockable character art and dioramas are a nice bonus as well, but I appreciated the additional levels more.
The only downside is the way in which Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D‘s multiplayer works. It’s only local, and both people have to have the game if they want to play together. I can understand the latter, as this is a huge game and I’d doubt it’s logistically possible to do a single cart, download-play multiplayer. However, online multiplayer would have been a fantastic addition and I’m disappointed that it couldn’t be worked into the game. Regardless, the game is fantastic played alone as well, so I wasn’t too broken up about the less than ideal circumstances.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is as good as this game is gonna get.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is the way this game was meant to be played. It just blows the original Donkey Kong Country Returns out of the water. The extra gameplay mode, which makes the adventure slightly easier, is a helpful improvement, and the new area and eight new levels are perfectly integrated into the existing game. It’s a perfect fit for the 3DS. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D renders the original Donkey Kong Country Returns obsolete.