Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Platform: 3DS Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Monster Games
Reviewer: JayWood2010 Genre: 2D Platformer Rating: E

In 1994 Rare released one of the greatest platformers not only of the current time, but all time, Donkey Kong Country.  16 years later Retro Studios has taken over the Donkey Kong Country license and has released the much anticipated Donkey Kong Country Returns.  It was both appraised and flawed for its motion controls and now in 2013 Monster Games rereleased this game on the 3DS without the motion controls.  Does it truly help this game or does the original hold its head high?

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D starts off with a volcano eruption which awakens the Tiki Tak Tribe.  These are new enemies unlike the Kremlins that Rare had made popular back in 1994.  The new enemies hypnotize animals to fight for them and steal all of DK and Diddy Kong’s bananas in the process.  Somehow DK is immune to being hypnotized and decides to go for revenge on the Tiki Tak Tribe.

Donkey Kong revolves around four mechanics.  Rolls, jump, blow, and ground & pound.  Ground & pound can be used to shatter the ground below you, blow is used to blow flowers, fans, etc, and roll & jump can be combined for a lengthy jump that the more core gamers will become accustomed to.  The controls are tight, fluid, and asks for some great precision throughout the game.  Especially on some of the harder maps.  And there is a lot of these. I will say that before the game starts it asks for you two chose between two different modes.  Original or New.  Original offers two hearts while new offers three.  I played on original as I wanted the more challenging mode.  The superb map design is really what makes this game what it is.  You may be riding on whale while pirates are shooting at you, running through an open sunset while a volcanic eruption is behind you, or swinging through vines in a jungle landing on platforms that shatter below your feet.  Diddy Kong also aids you in your journey and has a few custom abilities his self which I will mostly explain in the multiplayer section.  In the single player he rides on DK’s back and uses his jetpack to help you time your jumps a little more precisely, or making it that extra inch for a long jump.

There is also a wide array of enemies.  Tiki Taks, chickens, jumping balls of fire, and much more.  It seems they introduce you to a few new types of enemies in each world.  Bosses at the end of each world also will have you in for a treat as each one needs to be defeated differently.  And with eight worlds ranging from a beach, jungle, volcano, factory, and more you will never feel as if the game is being repetitive.  You can also collect the KONG letters for an added dimension of the game but you never feel like you have to go out of your way for them for the game to be difficult either.  They do unlock a secret world at the end of the game making for a 9th world to continue this great game.

There is also maps that include a rail cart which gave me more difficulty than any other type of map due to the trial and error type of gameplay that these add.  They are still a joy but they tend to be a lot of things that pop out of nowhere leading to your death for you to have to restart.  Just note that you need to jump there next time.  Also the levels with a barrel rocket probably was my least favorite levels.  They also add enjoyment but they didn’t seem to hold up compared to the rest of the game.  A fan favorite Rambi the rhino also makes a return in this game in a few levels.  This definitely will take the old-school fans on a nostalgic ride.  It would have been nice if they also would have added a few other of the old group back such as Winky the Frog or Sqauwks the parrot (who was in the game as a non-playable character).

In general the game is an overall great game thanks to the brilliant level design, great character design, and tight controls.  It could fix a few things here and there but nothing that hinders the game from being great either.

The multiplayer adds to the game by letting you and one other friend play together.  One player can be Donkey Kong and the other can be Diddy Kong.  Diddy offers different abilities than DK so it does offer a different side of the game for player 2 than it does for player 1.  Diddy can shoot his pop gun (Peanut Shooter), glid through the air, and does cartwheels instead of rolls.  This is actually really cool but the multiplayer does really do anything else to actually want you to play it.  It is great if you have one other friend who wants to play but it also appears to be a better single player game as you don’t have to wait for your partner and vice versa.  Nintendo did add online multiplayer for this game though so this can only be a plus and very happy to see this.  It may not be the best ever but fun can be had in this mode as well.

The first thing you will notice about this game is the beautiful art style that it boasts.  The worlds range and variety gives your eyes a treat over and over again.  The 3D also was used in a phenomenal way with the background having a lot of great animations like cannonballs shooting at you or a tidal wave clashing against the rocks.  The only game that beats this game is possibly Kid Icarus: Uprising.  This game is beautiful in every way from the lush colors to the great character designs. The audio is also superb and offers that nostalgic feel to the old school fans.  It also is recognized as some of the best all time game music so it can still be considered just that even 19 years from the original release.


Overall the game is challenging, fun, and beautiful.  The only flaws that I can truly point out is that the game sometimes offers cheap deaths through trial and error, the barrel rocket wasn’t particularly the best it could have been, and it could have used more of the old characters for even more variety.  Considering that the game was already vastly ranged this is only a minor hope for the future instalment and I can truly say that this was a fantastic reboot to the franchise.  The multiplayer is not something I would buy this game for but the single player is a joy through and through.

Single-Player 9
Multi-Player 7.5
2D platformer 9
Artstyle/Audio 9.5
Overall 8.8
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