Wow it really has been a long time since the last proper Donkey Konga game hasn’t it? The last one was on the N64 and back then it seemed as if the old Ape was going down the road of Mario and taking his furry ass to the 3D-realm (not 3D gaming, boy will this get confusing shortly) but another game never appeared. Well finally Donkey Kong is back with Donkey Kong Country Returns; and not a Bongo controller in sight.
You play the game by holding the Wiimote on the side, D-pad for movement and A to jump. You can then shake the controller to smash down and preform a smash attack that will damage enemies, break rocks and open up flowers in the background. Shaking is contextual based though so shake while running and you’ll preform a roll instead and this will also damage enemies but leave you vunneralble at the end of your roll. Beneath this simple controls lies slightly more complex motions, like rolling off a ledge and then jumping to gain additional distance and reach hidden items or the fact you can crouch and blow away flower heads. So it’s really easy to pick up but you’ll still be learning as your progress.
Diddy Kong makes an appearance, smash a special barrel and he’ll hop on your back. He gives you two more hearts but also gives you the ability to hover after you jump. Later levels will see different abilities appear so it’ll help keep things freash.
The game looks very bold and striking, very much the classic style of ther previous games but brought up to the modern age. The background isn’t the background anymore and becomes and interactive part of the game. As mentioned you’ve got flowers in the background which you can open or blow (they hide items) and then dangers can come from behind. The section I played had pillars fall down and attempt to squash me. Then later in the level I hit a switch and using a barrel was thrown into the background so I could work my way past a pit in the forground. Of course hidden throughout the levels are the letters of Konga and several jig-saw pieces, oh and loads of bananas. So plently of replayability.
All in all you’re just playing Donkey Kong Country on the Wii, and 2D retro games like this are really making a come back. With games this good though, I really don’t mind.