E3: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze First Impressions
June 12, 2013
Donkey Kong successfully returned to consoles in 2010 with a brand new side scrolling platformer, and now Nintendo will be delivering a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns in the form of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The plot of the game will see Donkey Kong's home island invaded by vikings, which will consist of entirely different animals from the pirate Kremlings of the original series. As the game begins, Donkey Kong is transported to an island far away from his home and must fight his way back against viking penguins, walruses, polar bears, seals, owls, and rabbits.
Very little has changed in terms of the play style and controls between “Returns” and the upcoming “Tropical Freeze,” but it still maintains a fluid and easy to master combination of buttons that fans should find comfort in. The only major improvement we noticed in our demo of the game was its retooled movement underwater, allowing for faster and more dynamic movements instead of regular paddling. Fans that know and love the gameplay of previous Donkey Kong games won't be disappointed.
Where the big changes from previous games come is in the visuals. For instance, the camera is no longer tied solely to the front of the screen. The traditional side scrolling view point is the primary focus that you see the characters through, but in special situations the camera will rotate to different angles giving the player a unique view from whatever platform or barrel they happen to be jumping from.
As the story for “Tropical Freeze” takes Donkey Kong to new locations, it allows the game designers to incorporate new and exciting ideas into their levels. The first level we played was littered with crashed and abandoned planes that would move and fall based on the players jumping and running on them. Other environmental enemies open up new opportunities for players to reach parts of the level they otherwise would have missed.
The next mission we played was one of the “mine cart” levels that this series has made part of its wheelhouse. On the whole, it's nearly identical to levels of a similar nature from past games, but what makes it more exciting is the incorporation of the rotating camera. As the tracks for the mine cart continue through the jungle, and are often ripped apart by falling wreckage from old planes, the camera will begin to turn in accordance with the movements of the track. This might not seem like a big deal, but it certainly makes the game feel different at times.
Our only complaint in the demo we played is that fan favorite Dixie Kong was nowhere to be seen. The character will be available in the final game with her glorious spinning her and all, but at the time was absent from playable levels.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze looks to continue the fantastic play style and wholesome storylines the series is most well known for. While it doesn't offer much new in the way of the control scheme it does present entirely new levels, worlds, enemies, and mini-games for players to conquer. But what should be the primary selling point for “Tropical Freeze” is its jaw-dropping graphics. You've never lived until you've seen Donkey Kong fully rendered in HD, you might even consider petting you television because he looks so fluffy.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will launch in November of 2013 for the Wii U. Check out the E3 trailer below!