The Monkey Comes Back: A Preview of Donkey Kong Country Returns

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Yes sir, times are good for gamers.

This year’s E3 was full of a lot of win, assuming you were a Nintendo fanboy such as myself. While some announcements were completely out of left field, others were pretty expected. Donkey Kong Country Returns was somewhere in the middle, having been leaked as a thing currently in development by Retro Studios not long before E3. Leakage aside, what really matters is, we get a new Donkey Kong Country game! What an exciting time we live in! So then, let’s take a look at what we know from the preview and what we suspect will be in the final product in a little segment we like to call, “Game Previews.” What? You expected something fancy?

Nothing Like That Retro Feel

What the previous DKC games had going for them was their ability to make memorable sidescrolling platform levels with their own signature charm and difficulty. I did a whole article on the three games, essentially declaring my love for them. Thankfully, when Retro Studios was asked to reinvent what Rare did with the originals, they got down to business making sure they made the game the fans wanted. This, blissfully, looks like that game.

Ooh, doesn't this just look sweet?

Thus far it appears that the main “gimmick” of the game, if it can be called that, is the use of very simplistic depth during gameplay, meaning most of the time you’ll be in the foreground but sometimes you’ll be forced to hop around in the background as well. This isn’t too complicated to deal with and has worked fairly well in games previous, such as, uh, okay, I can’t think of games where that happened off the top of my head, but they exist.

Also, we get to play as Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong again, and it really is about time. Interesting that a series called “Donkey Kong Country” only had one game where you could actually play as Donkey Kong. Strange. Anyway, instead of a one-hit-KO thing, you’ll get two hearts when you play and four if you find Diddy. Sadly, you won’t really be playing as Diddy as much as you’ll be teaming up with him to perform special moves and such. I can live with that though, because they made sure to bring back minecarts, and when minecarts are brought back, all is forgiven.

Shown: Forvigeness for any and everything.

There are some other things missing, though. Mainly, the Kremlings. Those are entirely gone. King K. Rool isn’t the Big Bad here, and that makes me a little sad. I’m not sure exactly why that decision came down the pipe, but no matter, I suppose it had to be done. Also gone are underwater levels since, according to the main developers at Retro, they would have made the game too slow. Good then, because underwater levels suck in every video game.

Right now we don’t know a whole lot more about the game. Animal buddies such as Rambi haven’t been shown, though developers at Retro have mentioned they know fans want the animals back, so there’s an extremely good chance we’ll see some of the more recognizable ones such as Squawks and Expresso come back. I wouldn’t mind seeing Winky return as well, but that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

And that’s pretty much all we know about Donkey Kong Country Returns. I know that it can be preordered from Amazon, and that it’s expected to come out before the end of this year. I’ll be asking for it for Christmas, but how about you? Any other DKC fans out there excited for this one?

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Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

1 Comment

  1. You know it Chris.
    Yeah, I have to agree with you that the absence of the Kremlings is a little gripe I had too, but if Retro comes up with a new enemy that’s compelling enough, I’m all for it.
    As for the water levels, I actually liked the ones in the Donkey Kong games. In all honesty Swimming levels in 3D games will always suck, but 20 games can be fine. I guess I though the water levels in Diddy Kong’s Quest had one of the best songs on the soundtrack.
    Plus I always liked Enguarde the Swordfish.
    Another animal I would like to see again would be the Spider (I can’t remember his name right now, but he was in 2 and 3, and was awesome.)
    Definately top of the Christmas list this holiday.
    Are we getting kinda old for Christmas lists?
    I feel so juvenile. And it’s Awesome!

    P.S. On the topic of Dept perception and jumping into the background on a 2D plain. The closest game I can think of is Little Big Planet. That game had tree separate plains that you could jump back and fourth in.

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