Oh, to be Nintendo. What a joy that would be! Not caring at all about industry trends or standards; doing what we feel like regardless of the market, knowing that it’ll sell regardless…truly, Nintendo are above the rest of the industry, at least from their own perspective. So let’s say we’re Nintendo. We’ve just released a blockbuster hit console after a hilarious lame duck that had a fair chunk of usable content laying around.
What do we do? We re-release. And we do it with a smile and tons ‘o bananas! For those of you who may have missed the Big Ape’s debut in HD during the last console cycle, here’s Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Switch. Donkey Kong is here!
Donkey Kong and co. have spent some time beating up King K. Rool and now, presumably, he’s taken care of! Except he’s totally not. What’s more, there are new baddies around making things chilly: the Snowmads, a clan of viking penguins who are really, really fond of the cold. Now that the DK crew’s island is covered in frost, they’re going to have to go kick some penguin butt and fix things.
If you’ve played the original Donkey Kong Country or the remake Donkey Kong Country Returns, you know how this is going to go: hop, bop and remove all the penguins from the vicinity. Move from one side of the stage to the other, grabbing as many collectables and extra lives as possible along the way, avoiding enemies where possible because they’ll murder you. DK can team up with Diddy, Dixie and Cranky Kong, enabling new movement options like a jetpack and a pogo jump; proper use of teammates is vital to getting through each level.
The Switch version also includes the option to play as Funky Kong, which is another attempt at making easy modes a little less embarrassing a la Nintendo’s own Super Guide and recent indie platformer Celeste – he’s got a lot of health, is immune to a variety of environment hazards and basically destroys the game.
Naturally, this is a Nintendo platformer so it’s pretty well-made. There’s a lot to explore, collect and play around with in each stage. Finding every collectable is quite the adventure; you’ll need to mess around with various teammates and really perfect your jumping and bopping skills if you want to reach that coveted perfect save. It also looks and sounds great, even on the Switch’s handheld mode. You can even play with a friend if you’re into that kind of thing.
All in all, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a solid and faithful reproduction of its ill-fated Wii U counterpart. Who’d have thought: take the best games from a questionable console and put them on a great console and you just might have magic. If you skipped the Wii U and thus Tropical Freeze, you’d do well to check it out now. Me? I’ll be hoping to see Xenoblade Chronicles X make a return appearance sooner than later.