RETRO STUDIOS is the developer this time, and many of You will know them from the popular METROID PRIME series of First Person Adventures on Gamecube and Wii.
For those of You who played the Donkey Kong games on Super Nintendo, this new entry in the series is not drastically different in gameplay.
|The original Donkey Kong Country|
|Donkey Kong Country Returns|
There are two control schemes, one with and one without nunchuk support, and they both work well after a short while of learning.
The game plays on an island and is divided into different levels, with each level subdivided into smaller stages.
To advance to the next level, You have to jump and run and climb Your way through the different stages and finally beat an end-of-level "boss" to unlock the next level.
Those levels are nicely shown on an animated map of the island, where You can progress from stage to stage, a bit like in Super Mario World's map.
|The Stage Map of the Beach level|
While running and jumping through the various beautifully done stages, You must avoid the enemies that walk along predetermined paths, or get rid of them by jumping on their head à la Super Mario.If an enemy touches You, You loose one heart, if You loose two hearts You loose one life and have to use a "continue" in the form of a balloon that slowly floats down from above.
Besides the enemies, You must overcome "natural" environmental obstacles such as spikey spears, lava and the like, and collect as many bananas, coins and puzzle pieces as possible. For 100 bananas You get one extra life (up to three max), the coins can be used in a shop to buy more balloons, hearts, keys (to unlock secret passages), and the puzzle pieces unlock bonus stuff like concept art and songs.
There is quite some variety in the gameplay, too, as Donkey Kong has often to use different "vehicles" to progress through the stages, each with its own way of handling.
|Donkey Kong about to ride on an rocket barrel|
The graphics in DKCR are really colourful,from the lush detailed tropical forests to the firey volcanic mountain tops, vibrant and vivid, each level has its own theme, and the environments and creatures You encounter are superbly animated and full of personality, the textures are sophisticated and the mood and look fit the Wii like only few other games.
|Donkey Kong in "Super Guide" mode|
The game also features Nintendo's "Super Guide" mode, which players can use to overcome difficult parts.The game automatically detects how many times You failed at a certain point and offers You kindly this mode.Of course, with "Suoper Guide", You can't collect any coins, bananas or puzzles.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a great platforming game with a great longevity, partly because of its higher difficulty, partly because its easy to learn, difficult to master and very rewarding through several playthroughs (bonus items, bonusstages, time trials for beaten levels etc...).
The cooperative two player mode is a blast and will keep You and friend busy for countless hours, I would say this is one of the best two player coop games out there.
Conclusion: If You like old school platforming games, don't mind a moderate difficulty, love finding bonus items and unlocking new content, have a friend to play with, enjoy great graphics and own a Wii, this is a must buy for You.Donkey Kong Country Returns is one of the best, most entertaining titles this year on ANY platform (no pun intended).