Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country is Back!

What It Is

It’s been almost 15 years since the last Donkey Kong Country console game was released. That game, was 1996’s Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (Super NES). A lot has changed since that 1996 game, but one other thing that hasn’t changed is that Donkey Kong Country is still a lot of fun.

The game is a side-scrolling adventure starring Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, who stomp, swing and roll through the obstacles on Donkey Kong Island in search of Donkey Kong’s stolen bananas. The island is made up of six different worlds, each with its own distinctive look, multiple levels and boss battle at the end. The group that stole DK’s bananas have also hypnotized the island’s creatures and set them all on a singular task of stopping DK from finding those bananas. You will have to figure out what combination of moves-stomps, jump or roll-will take those creatures down and allow DK to continue on his journey.

Why It’s Fun

One of the biggest improvements over the previous century’s version is the graphics. The look of DKCR is lush and colorful, full of depth and dimension. While this is still a side-scrolling game and the player is mainly limited to moving left and right, the game turns the beautiful backgrounds into added playing fields by launching Donkey and Diddy into the background for a section of the level. The game uses perspective to create the feel of 3D with Donkey Kong subtly shrinking as he moves farther into the background. Most of the game is played with Donkey Kong in the foreground of the level, but the backgrounds are still an integral part of the game. In one world, DK has to travel through a level as a giant wave that players can see in the background gets closer until it finally crashes over DK and wipes him off track.

This is a game where the challenge keeps you engaged and entertained as you try to reach a checkpoint and ultimately the end of each level. Rushing through a level is one way to tackle the game, however, there are hidden bonus objects that add a second element of fun to the game. Bonus objects, such as letters (to spell out the word “KONG”), puzzle pieces, bananas and balloons are found in hard to reach places that cause you to delineate from the main course. Finding and reaching these objects can sometimes be more fun than getting through the level as they are often hidden in plants or behind trees that lead to bonus levels.

Who’s Going To Love It

This is one of the most difficult games I have played in a while. Little kids might be drawn to it because of the popular Nintendo characters, but they are likely to be frustrated by how difficult it is. Advanced and expert level gamers, on the other hand, are going to love this one.

What To Be Aware Of

The game’s difficulty would become frustrating if it wasn’t for the “Super Guide” feature. If you get stuck on a particular spot and lose a life repeatedly, a pig wearing glasses will appear and give you the option of having Super Kong show you how to get through. You can watch Super Kong and jump back in at any time or you can let Super Kong finish the level for you. If Super Kong does the work, you won’t collect any of the items in that level.

The two-player option is nice but doesn’t have much of an impact on the overall game-play. The second player takes control of Diddy but spends a lot of time just watching because Diddy has to ride on DK’s back for most of the game.


You can return to any finished level whenever you want to try to find all those hidden objects or make it through the level in the timed mode. Finding the hidden objects will unlock bonus content so there is a medium replayability factor to this game.

Fun Scale

4 out of 5

It has to be fun or it wouldn’t be on Time to Play. But some games are more fun than others so here’s our scale: 1 is fun, 2 is a lot of fun, 3 is great, 4 is awesome and 5 is out-of-this-world!

Video Game Information

Donkey Kong Country Returns
Publisher: Nintendo
Rated: Everyone

System: Nintendo Wii
Genre: Action/Platformer
Players: 1 - 2

SRP: $49.99
Launch Date: November 21, 2010
Date of Review: February 9, 2011

*Rating determined by the ESRB


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