North America

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

by Aaron Kaluszka - December 18, 2013, 10:00 am PST
Total comments: 3

Donkey Kong x DuckTales?

Officially revealed at the VGX awards, Cranky Kong has decided to get in on the Tropical Freeze action, leaving his shop in the hands of Funky Kong. With his cane, the elderly Kong is reminiscent of Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales, though he doesn't play exactly the same. Like Scrooge, Cranky can pogo with his cane, but you can't jut hold down the button to keep hopping; you have to time each pogo jump carefully. And rather than a golf swing, Cranky opts for a downward thwak. Otherwise, bouncing on enemies and spikes to reach otherwise unreachable areas definitely brings back memories of DuckTales. Like the other sidekicks, Cranky has projectiles, but instead of peanuts, Cranky throws dentures! It's a bit weird seeing chattering teeth meandering across the screen.

Different stages feature Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky trapped in barrels when one is best suited to help you. Other stages will let you choose by presenting a barrel that switches character indicators every few seconds. Diddy and Dixie control fairly similarly, but Cranky's play style is a bit different, so care must be taken to remember which moves are currently available, though it's not much different from playing Donkey Kong with and without Diddy. Once full, a new meter fills, allowing DK and partner to turn all enemies into items when triggered. If Diddy is the partner, enemies turn to 1-up balloons. Dixie's bonus is yellow hearts, each of which adds an extra hit point. Perhaps in another nod to Scrooge, being paired up with Cranky when unleashing the meter results in enemies turning into coins.

Jelly Jamboree, the fifth level of the fifth world, Juicy Jungle, introduced blocks of bouncy jelly that makes travelling interesting -- especially when jumping on certain colors of jelly made platforms flip back and forth, making timing and attention crucial to success. I played through several other newly revealed levels, though none stood out like the ones I saw last time. The dynamism has been kicked up a notch, which makes for a very visually engaging experience. However, a general theme I noticed was the propensity for areas in levels to reveal themselves just before you reach them, making it hard to plow through areas without memorizing them ahead of time. This was especially true in a few of the levels I played such as Bramble Scramble and Homecoming Highway. On the plus side, the game keeps things interesting, and you can expect to swing and climb onto all sorts of surfaces (and not just stroll along the ground). Once you get into the groove, it feels great to quickly chain rolls and jumps, though there are also a lot of secrets to uncover, which requires taking things at a slower pace.

We're now able to confirm that Tropical Freeze will feature GamePad and Pro Controller support, in addition to the original's Wii Remote + Nunchuk and sideways Remote schemes (but not Classic Controller), so there are multiple ways to avoid the oft-derided shake controls. The game also features Off-TV play, but while you're playing on-TV, the GamePad will go dark to "save battery."

There's a ton of other stuff going on in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and while Nintendo and Retro Studios are remaining tight-lipped about those details now, they promise more details early next year.


Leo13December 18, 2013

I loved Donkey Kong Country Returns. My wife and I spent many many evening playing it together. However, I got a lot more excited about Wonderful 101 than DK:TF. It's weird because DK:TF looks like a significantly better game than DKCR, but I tend to like to get a wide variety of different video game experiences. Too bad it's not a 3D Donkey Kong as I never got the chance to play Donkey Kong 64. I've always wondered if I would like it.

Too bad they didn't announce DK 64 for the VC during the Nintendo Direct this morning.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterDecember 18, 2013

I can't wait for this! I wish Enguard  or a few other animal buddies would be back. But now that floating, bouncing and swimming attacks are confirmed the idea of more animals seems less and less likely.

Expresso could be really useful if she ran super fast for specific gameplay reasons with a longer float time.

Winky and Rattly certainly won't be back in any old way as long as Cranky is bouncing around.

Squaks Rambi will probably be back in the same way again which is fine, but i'd love full flight again.

Either way, Dixie Kong is greater than all those things!

Yeah, the combined Kong powers kind of subsume animal buddies.

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Game Profile

Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Retro Studios
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release Feb 21, 2014
jpn: Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze
Release Feb 13, 2014
RatingAll Ages
eu: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release Feb 21, 2014
aus: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release Feb 22, 2014
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