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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 5 December 2010
My youngest child is only 9 and is too young to remember the original Donkey Kong but we have spent hours and hours playing the new Donkey Kong on Wii tonight and had a great time.
I am sure you can use the Wii controller independently during the game as you would have done an old controller but we found the crazy shaking of the controlls to get a monkey on the screen to pound the floor to kill a crab or get some bananas incredibly funny!
I expect we will get absoloutly nothing done this weekend and will all end up having a few great laughs together playing this game before returning to work/school Monday to tell everyone about it! The graphics are great, just they way they always were! You still get to ride a rhino who can smash up everything in its path but there are a few new challenges some of which can be harder but are fun to work through with the kids!
Definately recommend it as a fun family game. It even has the same great music! It is great - honest!
As I said we have been playing for hours and are no-where near completing the game so I expect many more hours of fun with this game.
Well worth the money I have paid for it already!
Now how about we get a few more good old time games back on the TV screen Nintendo!
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on 3 December 2010
Donkey Kong Country, for the orignal Snes, was my first game ever. I recieved it in a bundle for christmas, back in the year 1990 something, and frankly, few games have recreated the joy, and fun i have had with not the first game, but the following two as well. Thankfully, this is one nostalgia trip that is very well worth taking. The classic, run, jump and timing gameplay is in tact, the search for bananas, coins, and various bits and bobs is very much evident, the graphics are splendid, involving, and charming, and the classic theme tunes are very much at the foreground of your experience.

This is just not a re-hash though, a certain level in the first world, shows the love and care that the developer has put into recreating that special donkey Kong feel. Theres enough new platform mechanics in the game that adds a lot of value to the original concepts and ideas, - grass ledges, wheels, and roofs you can grab to navigate around, balance ledges that rely on the characters sense of balance. This is all tied in with the series, perfectly weighted jump mechanics, which on the first few goes seem somewhat heavy. The level design in this game, is nothing short of exemplary, levels get into a nice rhythm, and theres always something that brings a smile to your face.

The controls, are for the most part good, although not as great as they should be, - learning the moves takes some getting used to, especially for seasoned players- the roll mechanics in particular, but after a few hour play, the momentum that this game relies on becomes apparent. I don't have a classic controller, so would like to know if the controls are mapped out more effeiciently. EDIT: I also had issues with the down button, mainly on the cart levels that requires a certain amount of ducking. Donkey kong would duck, then pop back up at the critical time, which meant losing several lives.

Also, with exception of 2 player, there seems to be no way to play as the light and nimble Diddy Kong, instead he is rather a tool for Donkey to get around to the higher and just out of reach areas. But as you get further into the game, his presence is invaluable. Not only does he give you a extra 2 hearts, but his ability to hang in the air and glide over too ledges makes a very tough game that bit easier. The game to some extent relies on you memorising certain parts of the level to get through, but there within lies the joy, where thought and application go into beating video game.

To be honest, these are minor gripes, i have rarely touched my wii, but this is well worth the purchase, with recently getting broadband at home i have reverted to playing the annual franchise's (fifa, cod online), but this has really reminded me , what gaming is all about. This is a great starting point, and re-introduction of a great gaming franchise, and very much looking forward to seeing what they have lined up for a sure second release. Great stuff.
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VINE VOICEon 7 December 2010
The title of this review is based on the Guns N' Roses song, obviously. And while I'm at it, Donkey Kong Country Returns has fun & games, it has everything you want, and at times it's gonna bring you to your knees and hear you scream. You're in the jungle, baby, and you're gonna die. Many, many times. But you'll love it.

I've seen claims such as 'difficult and frustrating' bandied about. I used to see the same for the SNES titles as well, but I've never concerned myself with the 'frustrating' part and it's become even less of a factor with Returns. It can and does throw devilish demands of your platforming skills at you, but it's never frustrating because, unlike other games, at least you always know what you're supposed to be doing. Success is always tantalisingly within reaching distance. Even if you do find yourself considering a Wiimote-flinging fit, this is the latest Wii game to feature the Super Guide mode, which means if you fail a level a certain amount of times, the game will offer to take over for you and put an end to your suffering. The penalty is losing all the goodies you could have hoarded from that level.

So while everyone can see the end credits, the game has enough about it to leave the Super Guide to the weak. Those K-O-N-G letters are just too irresistible. As are the puzzle pieces and all the secret areas, of which there are far more than any other DKC game. Then there are the forked paths on the map that you'll have to collect coins to open up to get to all the levels in the game. In the 16-bit era, Rare's DKC series was always accused of hiding its shallow gameplay behind the stunning graphics. Now Retro Studios of Metroid Prime fame has taken over and put the Kongs very much in direct competition with Mario. This is a 2D Nintendo platformer of the highest calibre through and through. Precision control and lightning reflexes are the order of the day.

The controls have turned out to be something of an acquired taste that's easy to acquire. Minor grumbles about shaking/waggling have been spotted, but, come on, this is a Donkey Kong game, he'd be shaking the controller all over the place while playing. The shaking for various moves provides a touch of the alpha male feel similar to the original bongos-mental Gamecube version of Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. At the same time, it's not the central mechanic of the game and quickly becomes second nature. The d-pad (or analogue stick) and face buttons will always be your primary methods of controlling the big fella.

Over the years, Diddy Kong has become a hate figure for many and it's always been unjustified. He was great in the original series, and as soon as you get him on Kong's back here, you'll never want to let go. His jetpack is a literal lifesaver, as is his boost to health, and he adds that bit more flow to proceedings. The enemies have been replaced by a new cast. Sometimes you'd think coming up with new characters is a crime in videogames. Those playing the game with their rose-tinted glasses on will miss some of the old brigade, sure, but their replacements are all as good. That being said, the Tiki Tak tribe members are more likely to enduce nostalgia from Crash Bandicoot fans than anyone else.

In a way, I wish I wasn't reviewing this in early December because it's a perfect Christmas game. If you're buying a Wii this Yuletide, Donkey Kong Country Returns should be wrapped up under the tree alongside it. The recipient will begin a lifelong bond with the magic of Nintendo.

Or you may just be a seasoned gamer looking for some of the best platforming around in 2010. You're all catered for as well. And for all you veterans out there, yes, Cranky Kong is back in the manual.
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2011
One of the best things about having a SNES was the fact that we got Donkey Kong Country exclusively for the 16-bit console. Nintendo and Rare produced such a winner with their radical reinvention of the ape who once nabbed Mario's ex-beloved Pauline. They gave us a new Donkey Kong, complete with loveable sidekick Diddy, and put them in a platform setting that spanned across several challenging continents with a mad variety of useful items and (at the time) groundbreaking visuals that made the original Donkey Kong Country an instant classic.

Not only that, it created yet another brand new franchise for Nintendo to market, and we've seen many more Donkey Kong sequels for a variety of formats since then. All with the mark of quality, yet not quite matching the magic of the original.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is an appropriate title for this Wii release. It truly feels like a return home to the gameplay of the first SNES classic, capturing the spirit and subtly reinventing it for this generation.

The premise is virtually identical to the original. Donkey Kong's prestigious banana horde has been swiped, and he and Diddy are once again ticked-off and chasing after the notorious baddies to get the overly massive collection of fruit back. Only this time, it's not those notorious Kremlings that are responsible. It's a brand new army of critters known as the Tiki Tak Tribe, whose hypnotic musical spells have enslaved the animal population of Donkey Kong Island to do their evil, fruit-snatching bidding.

Now, because the story is more-or-less the same, you can expect the gameplay to be the same also. Control-wise, the Wii game feels as nice and responsive as the original, with all manner of moves and jumping techniques at your disposal. You can do barrel rolls, you can do ground pound attacks, you can grab and throw barrels, climb vines, Diddy Kong has a handy Peanut Popgun at his disposal, along with his trusty Barrel Jet to see them safely to the other side of nasty crevices...long story short, the game plays like it should and feels just like the Donkey Kong we were all playing fifteen years ago.

As for the challenge factor, there's all manner of tricky obstacles and platform conundrums to overcome as you progress, becoming more difficult along the way. Expect to take rides in the dangerous mine cart levels once again, as well as riding the tough Barrel Rocket. But it's all totally enjoyable and utterly gripping to embark on the quest, again thanks to the beautiful simplicity of the controls. Like Punch Out, players have the option to chose which style works best for them. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk option was the one I preferred, but retro gamers may prefer the method of holding just the Remote horizontally, hearkening back to the days of the SNES joypad. Either way, it's great fun.

Plus, there's all manner of useful items and old friends to help you out along the way, such as Cranky Kong, Squawks the Parrot and the ultimate animal friend, Rambi the Rhinoceros, who you once again sit on and ride, charging through in a delightful stampede of destruction. And you WILL need your buddies (along with extra lives and banana coins) if you're going to fight off the Tiki Tak Tribe, uncover all the island's secrets and unlock all the delightful assortment of extras on offer.

Donkey Kong Country Returns also has replay factor for gamers looking for more of a challenge. There's a special Time Attack mode to complete levels as fast as possible, along with Kong Letters and Puzzle Pieces to acquire, which you'll NEED to get if you want to unlock bonus levels and special features. There's a Two-Player Cooperative Mode so you and a friend can play together, challenging boss battles and a huge secret right at the end that will really test you game prowess like never before.

In closing, Donkey Kong Country Returns is one of those games that I really, really enjoyed playing. The main reason was because I felt like I was a happy eleven-year-old again, so the fact that this Wii game manages to capture the essence of its SNES ancestor will be remarkable in the eyes of old fans. But in its own right, Donkey Kong Country Returns was highly addictive. Graphically, it's a treat to look at, and the sound is very much true to the original game also. Today's generation of gamers will surely warm to it as well. An absolutely excellent treat.
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on 7 December 2010
Utter Brilliance - Retro Nostalgia with a Modern Update

The original DKC is an all time classic game made by the developers of that era - Rareware. The music, the game play, the graphics - combining to form one of the fondest gaming memories of my childhood.

It was scary loading up Donkey Kong Country Returns for the first time. How can a new version live up to those childhood memories? Well, the fact is, this is first time I've ever bothered to write a review of a product on Amazon, so you can gather that it does... and more so!

It is simply brilliant - the perfect combination of the classic with enough new elements to bowl you over for a second time round. Fans of Donkey Kong Country on the SNES will find nods to the original around every corner. The most important thing is the new developers have added loads of fresh twists to the original idea, making it stack up well in todays modern gaming world, but at no point have they forgotten their roots.

Oh, if you were enchanted by the music scores in the original, those tunes are back in this version.

It does the SNES version proud - you need this game in your life (again)

Only negative thing is the Kremlings aren't in the game, which I think is a shame. Even though the new enemies work well, they're just not Kremlings!
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on 4 November 2013
We bought this last Christmas and I know people will be looking at games for presents this year, have to say this has been the most fun, I'm a mum who isn't a massive games fan but my son and I have spent hours playing this, it's easy to play, not complicated, looks brilliant, buy it.
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on 4 March 2011
I had Donkey Kong 64 which was a 3d platformer made by Rare and it wasn't as enjoyable as Mario 64 or Banjo-Kazooie. Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (Wii) and Donkey Kong: Jungle Climber (Nintendo DS) went back to 2d platforming but some of the old SNES magic was missing still. We now have Retro Studios who did a most excellent job with the Metroid Prime: Trilogy (Nintendo Wii) and they have shown their great powers again and given us the best Donkey Kong game since the SNES glory days. Diddy Kong is here to help DK find his missing banana hoard and I must say the varied environments look most impressive indeed. You can play through the game in a fun two player cooperative mode and the excellent barrel cannons are back which can now shoot you way back into the background. Having DK being able to explore the levels in the background gives the game a very rich and detailed look. I also use to love the Mine Cart levels in the old SNES games and they are now back better then ever. Rambi the rhinoceros is back to help our heros on their quest by smashing through walls and finding hidden areas. There is also the mad Rocket Barrel which is a real blast to ride. Each level has the four letters that spell KONG for you to find but if think you are a real pro then try finding all the puzzle pieces. Cranky Kong has his own shop where can buy extra lives or even hire Squawks who will help you locate puzzle pieces. The best item to buy off Cranky is the Map Key which opens the locked path on the map selection screen for a new level. The boss fights are varied and they look awesome too. As I'm a old gamer I find it easier playing Donkey Kong Country Returns by using the Wii Remote by it's self. All we need now is for Nintendo to give us updates of F-Zero and Star Fox on the Wii and maybe Retro Studios could be given the ropes for their great comebacks too.
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on 7 May 2013
Who's the greatest Nintendo hero? Mario perhaps? That tart out of Metroid? Elfin gimp Link? Kirby's a bit of a legend isn't he? YOU'RE ALL WRONG!!

Monsieur Kong would rip the moustache off that fat Italian's smug gob, pummel the Metroid bint into obscurity and tear the pointy ears off that green geek with his teeth (he'd leave Kirby alone because he's awesome). Ever since DK hit the SNES in the original platforming classic he has been simply the best - better than all the rest; better than anyone, anyone I've ever met. This game encapsulates the fantastic challenge and endless enjoyment of the original but adds in dual multiplayer with the second best Kong (Diddy), if you want to invite a friend into the action.

However you play, the graphics are an absolute delight to watch - playing in silhouette against a night sky; flitting in and out of the foreground from barrel to barrel; watching a huge wave getting closer and closer until it crashes over your stupid monkey face and you have to start again. It's all good. Funny thing is, the graphics aren't even the best thing about the game - the gameplay is twice as good!

A lot of reveiwers say about the extreme difficulty of the levels, but to honest I didn't find this a barrier. Maybe because no matter how hard it was I couldn't pull myself away from it, even the minecart levels and the ruthless boss battles were always begging me to come back for more. Lives seem to be plentiful, and I don't seem to remember running out of them throughout the whole quest; and believe me, I am not the best player in the world. By far the hardest challenges were the bonus levels which opened up when you found all the 'K', 'O', 'N' and 'G' letters in each stage. These levels really push you to hit a long run of perfection, often involving bouncing off people's heads. And if you've tried this in real life you'll know how hard it is. Don't be put off though, these levels aren't necessary and just help to unlock a crazy dream level of magic flying bananas, and subsequently, mirror mode (or impossible half-lives backwards mode).

Best described in five words? My favourite Wii game ever.
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on 29 December 2010
I love platformers. As a big fan of the Donkey Kong Country games on the SNES, I've longed for a modern incarnation of the series for years, but never thought it'd actually happen. So I was really pleased when they lifted the veil on this earlier this year, and that Retro Studios (the guys behind Metroid Prime) were the team to do it. Why? Because the Metroid games were very well designed, with beautiful visuals, great sound, complex levels that made you think, and a perfect difficulty.

Donkey Kong Country Returns, as I anticipated, has those same qualities. The levels are engaging, challenging, and there's often little platforming puzzles to solve situated in the odd spot in a level; in these parts the camera often stops in a fixed view, while you navigate platforms or fire yourself from cannons. In one instance I remember activating switches that rotated parts of the level in the background so I could progress. These are fun to do and help break up the quite often rip-roaring race to the end. I really would've enjoyed more of these actually!

Fans of Donkey Kong Country will recognise:

- Barrel Cannons. These are barrels that fire DK in varying directions. They operate in exactly the same way they did in the SNES trilogy, and, in fact, the variety of barrel types has been whittled down for this new entry (the old entries featured ghost barrels, and even timed barrels). However, the way they've been incorporated into the level puzzles makes great new uses of them - for example, one barrel bobs and tilts around in the sea, making the aiming process that little bit different, as the barrel moves around in a more erratic manner.

- Rambi the Rhino! Available in a select few levels, once you break him out of his crate, you can jump on and stampede your way through the level. Nearly everything he runs into smashes or collapses. Great fun!

- A lot of original tunes and melodies have been remixed, and make the whole thing feel really nostalgic. They really captured the natural-sounding, ambient feel of DKC's music for the most part. And you'll find that the music changes at different parts of the level, as intruments are added or taken away to add extra effect to the moment. It's just a shame that all of the great tracks are new versions of old tunes, though; none of the new tracks really stood out or were memorable to me.

- The return of life balloons, bananas, DK barrels, and DK's moves, such as his roll attack, and ground pound. Both of the latter two are activated by swishing the controller; takes some getting used to, but becomes easy once you've mastered it. The option to do this through a button press would have been preferable, but even so, it never made movement of DK feel any less accurate.

- Other very cool touches, such as DK's treehouse, and the cave where he keeps his bananas!

New to DKC is the ability to hover for a couple of seconds by holding the jump button immediately after jumping. This is fantastic, as Donkey Kong's bulky form makes jumping feel quite heavy; having access to Diddy's hover ability makes landing on the next platform easier. This is the only function Diddy performs, aside from allowing two extra hits. Diddy will always ride upon Donkey Kong's back after being smashed out of a DK barrel, and they function as one whole character.

As a general rule, most of the platforming levels in the game are fast-paced and action-packed. And as you get deeper into the game, platforms often collapse as you jump on them, and parts of the level crumble away. Sometimes whole parts of the background topple over. It's frantic stuff, and you'll definately need quick reflexes later in the game.

I really enjoyed the minecart and rocket rides myself (much like rollercoaster rides on a fixed path, for those new to DKC), but I can understand the complaints. There are instances where you will have to fall off the tracks or crash in order to learn just what you've done wrong, so you can dodge or jump accordingly on your second attempt. And it does require you to memorise the order of pitfalls and obstacles on the tracks. To the game's credit, it does put you back straight into the action should you die (provided you've got enough continues, but you can buy plenty of life balloons with the plentiful supply of coins that you can find in the levels), rather than take you back to a map screen.

Levels also contain four letters, which spell out the word 'KONG' when they're all acquired. These are always visible within the levels, and pose an excellent challenge to earn, as they are often placed in tricky areas. Finding these letters in each level will unlock up special 'K' levels (no, not the cereal!), which are extra tough platforming levels that require the utmost skill to finish. Finishing each of these 8 'K' levels will unlock one of 8 'character scenes' that you can rotate and admire. They're cute, static scenes that have Donkey Kong and Diddy posed in an amusing situation, either being chased down by enemies or scaling obstacles. These are a nice treat for those that wish to delve deeper into the game, and only help show the attention to detail and care that's gone into creating the game.

I do have a couple of small nitpicks, though. Bonus rooms repeat very, very often, with a different level background swapped in depending on the level theme (jungle, cave, etc.). Fine in the original game where they were used to earn extra life balloons and bananas, but not here, where they're used to win puzzle pieces - the item that allows you to access concept art drawn up by the game's developers, such as enemy designs, and character drawings, etc. Because you'll repeat these bonus rooms over so many times, they become easy to complete to earn you a puzzle piece because they fell like routine. Much of the challenge instead comes from finding the hidden entrances to these bonus rooms within the levels themselves - and trust me, a lot of them are really well hidden.

Another feature I'd rather them have left on the cutting room floor is DK's new ability to blow on things to unearth goodies, such as bananas, hearts, coins, and puzzle pieces. Unfortunately, it never really serves an interesting purpose; levels start with reeds to blow on, with later levels eventually swapping those for objects such as candles, and spinning flowers. Each one requires and performs the same action; if you're trying to find every secret the game has to offer, it becomes neccessary to blow on every reed or candle you come across. Fortunately, they never blemish the fantastic level design, and can be ignored if the player so choses (the end of the level can still be reached without blowing on these items).

It's worth noting that you can completely ignore the 'KONG' letters and puzzles pieces and simply aim to reach the end of each level. You can finish the game and see the ending cinematic without picking up any of these.

I cannot comment on the two-player mode as I haven't tried it, but as a hardened platform game fan, I completely enjoyed this. Highly challenging, packed full of content, often surprising and a visual treat (the animation of the characters is especially gorgeous); highly recommended to those that enjoyed the tougher levels in Mario Galaxy 2 and New Super Mario Bros. Wii, or is simply a fan of the original trilogy on the SNES.
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on 17 January 2011
We brought this for our 9 year old son for Christmas. He already enjoys Mariokart and Galaxy 2, so is familiar with the characters. The graphics are excellent and there are so many levels and areas to play in. A definite hit.
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