Donkey Kong and his pal Diddy Kong are back for a startling adventure on the Nintendo 3DS, and it is high-time we got involved in their shenanigans to give way for one of the best entries in the series to date.
The game begins with a comical Angry Birds-esque cutscene, where creatures known as Tikis hypnotise animals into bringing them bananas from both the island and DK’s secret stash. When Diddy Kong awakens to find all his breakfast, lunch-time and dinner treats vanished, he wakes up DK in the hope that the big ape will devise a plan of action. But lurking in the corner of Donkey Kong’s beach hut is a hypnotising Tiki. Blending cutscene with gameplay, DK boots the Tiki out of his hut and starts his mission to hunt down those bananas one by one.
Taking the player straight back to its roots, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is both a melodic joy and bedazzling platformer, with each new world bringing startling depth through the consoles 3D. From the beginning, players can choose a preferred difficulty setting between original mode and new mode. The latter easy mode presents one extra heart as Donkey Kong and up to six with Diddy Kong, giving newcomers a little more scope when battling world bosses, as well as distancing the title from its Wii counterpart. New mode also offers up some interesting items, including a green balloon to save you from a deathly fall and a Crash Guard potion to prevent you starting a level from scratch after smashing into traps or enemies.
Players will encounter eight worlds – from jungle to volcano – with each new area ramping up the difficulty engine. Buying map keys from Grandpa’s shop will open up new routes and, with a steady income of coins, you’ll want to purchase them. One such route found in the first world is utterly breathtaking in 3D, and features Donkey and Diddy Kong coloured entirely in black – bar from their striking red tie and cap – with the gorgeous yellows and oranges of the setting sun as the backdrop. Although the game is visually stunning, the 3D can blur the edges somewhat, leaving you in a desperate situation when hanging precariously from the edge of a platform – if you’d rather live than suffer starting the level again, it’s better to turn the 3D down or off entirely.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is, quite simply, a delight to play. The vast amounts of levels offer enough diversity to challenge your platformer skills, while the hum-drum of DK’s music roots you in the realm of nostalgia. It’s time to go bananas over Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D when it hits North America and Europe this Friday, May 24.