Since he first hurled a barrel at Mario in the 1981 game that Nintendo named after him, Donkey Kong has been at one with platforms. Now comes his latest – which may be familiar if you had a Wii U. Is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a platformer that suits the Switch platform, or does it belong in the past?
Horned animals of an Antarctic bent called ‘Snomads’ have invaded Donkey Kong and his friends’ delightful tropical island – and on the big guy’s birthday, too!
Suffice to say that he’s unimpressed. So, with help variously from Kongs Diddy, Dixie, Cranky and Funky, DK does what he does best (when not chucking barrels at plucky plumbers or shopping for monogrammed neckties) and gets seriously platformy.
Ignoring the added ‘ly’ there, ‘serious’ is an apt word. Ever since the first Donkey Kong Country, back on the Super Nintendo, the series has been challenging. Tropical Freeze is no exception. It may throw lives at you like confetti but, unless you’re a DKC savant, you’ll need them. From finicky jumps to pernickety assaults both to and from Snomadic enemies to elongated boss battles requiring the pixel-perfect painstaking patience of a particularly persistent pontiff, Donkey Kong: Country Tropical Freeze is unforgiving and often incredibly hard.
…and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The thing with many Nintendo games is that they may look like kids’ games, but that’s not necessarily the case. Give this one to a youngish child and there’ll be tears and tanties. Actually, we did, and there were. Oh OK, the kid was actually us…
Arriving on the Switch mostly unchanged from its original Wii U outing – after all, that was a stunning-looking affair even four years ago – a concession to DKC:TF‘s renowned difficulty has been made with the addition of Funky Kong’s “Funky Mode”. No longer just keeping shop, he of the shades and board has two more big baboony hearts than the other characters, can double jump, swim underwater without needing to breathe, roll continuously and also avoid many pointy-pointy obstacles thanks to his board. So, he’s pretty darned handy if you want to keep the old blood pressure down.
Sure it’s another Wii U retread, but Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze remains a gorgeous, clever, charming and (again) challenging platformer that deserves its own Switch release.
But BYO bananas, or DK might crack it with you.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is available now on Nintendo Switch.