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Donkey Kong Country Returns Wii Review

21/01/2011 Family Eclectic Gamer Review
Guest author: Natalie Sabin
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Donkey Kong Country Returns Nintendo Wii

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Format:
Nintendo Wii

Genre:
Platforming

Style:
Singleplayer
Cooperative

Further reading:
Debbie Timmins

Buy/Support:
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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Family Gamer (Wii)
Tech Gamer (Wii)
Reporting Gamer (Wii)
Microcosm Gamer (Wii)


Donkey Kong Country Returns reunites old friends to stage one final rescue. Charming graphics and dreamy gameplay got me reminiscing about playing the original as an eclectic little girl.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a memory igniting game for me. It took me back to a simpler time, where I was not at university, but sitting on the end of my bed in my box room, playing with an ape that had lost his bananas.

I played Donkey Kong Country endlessly as a child and it was one of the few games that I managed to complete. I have been waiting for it to come back since my SNES days and now I have it, I've been playing it endlessly.

Prepare to be thrown back 15 years to when the SNES was the best thing going and dungarees were about as fashionable as you could get. Now you are in the right frame of mind to embrace Donkey Kong Country Returns.

It's side scrolling, just like I remember, but with modern graphics. You control Donkey Kong (or Diddie) with the Wii-mote and Nun-chuck and it is pretty easy to get used to. Shaking the Wii control makes Donkey Kong roll at his enemies and slam the ground in true ape style.

It doesn't quite match the simplicity of the SNES pad - mine had the wires exposed from playing it so much - but as I said you do get used to it after a while.

But I do think that Kong needs a girlfriend for us to play with.

The music alone would have been enough to take me back to my bedroom, and instantly slapped an immense smile on my face. The clever reworking of the original ignited a childlike excitement inside me and put me on the edge of my chair. It's a good job that I have a secluded Games Area upstairs in my flat; otherwise the extreme volume might have got on my flatmate's nerves.

But I do think that Kong needs a girlfriend for us to play with. In my mind she's Olivia Kong and knows her own mind. Although I feel like I should prefer a female lead, if I'm honest I know I will always go back to Kong. He's one of the most iconic game characters there is, although an ape would sure look fetching with a pink bow and skirt - just to make it clear that she is a girl of course.

As a woman, Nintendo games strike a tone I like - intriguing and accessible rather than going up and down passageways with the possibility of my head being blown off. They allow you to escape from reality for a while.

Cute characters, bright colours and cartoon worlds let me leave my day to day hassle behind for an hour or two. Then all the game needs to do is avoid breaking the spell. Accessibility and feeling compelled to play are key.

I know it's a game of course, but in the game I want to feel involved in helping Donkey Kong get his bananas back. In Donkey Kong Returns it felt like we we're old mates re-embarking on a new mission.

The old memories it evoked and new ones it created were enough to rekindle my girly bedroom love of the game.

This is all helped by there being seemingly endless goodies to discover. I rarely find them first time through, as I am too busy powering to the finish - jumping on anything that gets in my way including the strangely cute, bald chickens on stilts.

The end level bosses carry on the feeling of a joyous mystical world to explore. My favourite is the overgrown mint-green pig with spikes that mentally charges at you before gobbling you up and spitting you out. I assume it's male as it was so brutish and ugly. Being eaten and spat back out prompted me to think that I am not going to let an overgrown toad-pig beat me. So I killed it, in true Donkey Kong style, by jumping on it repeatedly.

Although Donkey Kong Country Returns won't be for everyone, and will be pretty challenging for newcomers, for me, the old memories it evoked and new ones it created were enough to rekindle my girly bedroom love of the game.

Guest review by Natalie Sabin


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Natalie Sabin wrote this Eclectic Gamer article under the watchful eye of Clare Sharpe.

"I think it's probably true that most of us have grown up with computer games - I have a dark and distant memory of some sort of black box with two controllers that allowed us to play an extremely primitive and pixelated game of tennis."


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