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Donkey Kong Country Returns

by Aaron Kaluszka - November 12, 2010, 4:35 pm PST
Total comments: 8

WARNING: In this post, we spoil the entire game.

After my last impressions, I don't have a lot more to say about Donkey Kong Country Returns.  However, I know there are a lot of crazy Donkey Kong Country fanatics out there, and this post is dedicated to you.  Let this be your final warning - I will be discussing later levels and end-game content.

First, the music.  Donkey Kong Country was well known for its exceptional score by David Wise, which led to Nintendo's first CD and cassette game soundtrack in the US.  This game's music is made up mostly of rearrangements of Wise's work, often with several very nice and unconventional variations and good use of dynamic music.  Most of the new tracks aren't as catchy, though there aren't too many of them.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is by no means an easy game, but the difficulty really starts to ramp in the World 6: Cliff.  World 7 is the Factory and World 8 is the Volcano, home of DK's new nemesis, the Tiki Tak Tribe.

While the factories in previous games were dark and dingy, this game's lighter side shows through.  The levels themselves are quite inventive, including a level full of switches that toggle platforms.  The silhouette style makes another appearance, and punctuating the designers' attention to detail, in the background you can see a couple neat Easter eggs: the ruins of the original Donkey Kong stage, and Mr. Game & Watch.  Capping off the absurdity, it turns out that the factory is being run by a possessed chicken!

The fiery volcanic stages can be pretty brutal, testing your platforming limits.  Extra lives can be bought from Cranky for cheap, though. I don't want to spoil the ending completely, so suffice it to say, like much of the game, it's hilariously over-the-top.

Even after the end, the game isn't over yet; there's still a ton of even crazier challenges to complete.  The game has unlockable art galleries, music, and dioramas.  After beating the game for the first time, the Golden Temple appears.  However, to play the stages contained within, you'll have to find all of the collectables in the earlier stages.  Other secret stages appear in the other worlds as well.  And Cranky keeps talking about a mystical Golden Banana...

And again, if you don't mind spoilers, check out our exclusive footage of the later stages below.

Partial (alliterative) stage list:


1-1 Jungle Hijinxs
1-2 King of Cling
1-3 Tree Top Bop
1-4 Sunset Shore
1-5 Canopy Cannons
1-6 Crazy Cart
1-B Mugly's Mound
1-K Platform Panic


2-1 Poppin' Planks
2-2 Sloppy Sands
2-3 Peaceful Pier
2-4 Cannon Cluster
2-5 Stormy Shore
2-6 Blowhole Bound
2-7 Tidal Terror
2-B Pinchin' Pirates


3-1 Wonky Waterway
3-2 Button Bash
3-3 Mast Blast
3-4 Damp Dungeon
3-5 Itty Bitty Biters
3-6 Temple Topple
3-B Ruined Roost


4-1 Rickety Rails
4-2 Grip & Trip
4-3 Bombs Away
4-4 Mole Patrol
4-5 Crowded Cavern
4-B The Mole Train


5-1 Vine Valley
5-2 Clingy Swingy
5-3 Flutter Flyaway
5-4 Tippin' Totems
5-5 Longshot Launch
5-6 Springy Spores
5-7 Wigglevine Wonders
5-8 Muncher Marathon
5-B Mangoruby Run


6-1 Sticky Situation
6-2 Prehistoric Path
6-3 Weighty Way
6-4 Boulder Roller
6-5 Precarious Plateau
6-6 Crumble Canyon
6-7 Tippy Shippy
6-8 Clifftop Climb
6-B Thugly's Highrise


7-1 Foggy Fumes
7-2 Slammin' Steel
7-3 Handy Hazards
7-4 Gear Getaway
7-5 Cog Jog
7-6 Switcheroo
7-7 Music Madness
7-R Lift-off Launch
7-B Feather Fiend


8-1 Furious Fire
8-2 Hot Rocket
8-3 Roasting Rails
8-4 Smokey Peak
8-5 Bobbing Basalt
8-6 Moving Melters
8-7 Red Red Rising
8-B Tiki Tong Terror

Golden Temple

And more trailers!

Special thanks to JC of NOA Treehouse for plowing through those difficult last levels for our video and Nintendo in general for the invitation.


NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 12, 2010


That's a lot of levels! Holy crap!!


GoldenPhoenixNovember 12, 2010

Quote from: NWR_pap64


That's a lot of levels! Holy crap!!


I too am very impressed by the amount of levels! I really need to buy this game down the line. My only question is

does King K. Rool make an appearance?

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

does King K. Rool make an appearance?

I asked the Nintendo rep about those rumors, and he gave me a WTF look.

Mop it upNovember 12, 2010

The amount of stages is on par with New Super Mario Brothers Wii, so that's a good sign.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)November 13, 2010

Good old rhymes and alliteration. Wouldn't be a Nintendo platformer without such level names. I daren't look at the footage of those late game levels, but the news of a healthy dose of post-game content is always welcome.

I must ask, Aaron: do you have a copy of DKCR now or are you being repeatedly invited to sample bits of the game? You've pretty much played an entire 70 stage game and it's a week shy of being released.

Nintendo let media play the game all day a few weeks back, and had multiple embargo dates.  We started with World 5 almost complete, so by the end of the day, two people had managed to beat the game.  I wish I had the game!

ShyGuyNovember 13, 2010


ShyGuy, that is stupidly awesome.

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Donkey Kong Country Returns Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Retro Studios
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Donkey Kong Country Returns
Release Nov 21, 2010
jpn: Donkey Kong Returns
Release Dec 09, 2010
RatingAll Ages
eu: Donkey Kong Country Returns
Release Dec 03, 2010
aus: Donkey Kong Country Returns
Release Dec 02, 2010
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