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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch) Hands-on Preview

by Daan Koopman - April 3, 2018, 6:13 am PDT
Total comments: 1

Grab a Joy-Con, get your funk on and swing around with some monkey friends!

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was one of my absolute favorite Wii U games. The platformer showed an elegance and style unmatched by anything at its peak. Sure, it didn't use the unique capabilities of the system in any way, but an impressive game is all I really needed. The pure creativity of the level design and gameplay mechanics made for one of the best experiences I've ever had. Now, in 2018, those words still ring very much true. I got to spent some time with the Nintendo Switch version, and honestly walked away with the biggest grin on my face.

I could go on why Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is so great, but my 2014 coverage should tell you all the important bits. The opinions expressed here hasn't changed, and should give the proper insights on how the game is as an experience. With being said, what has changed since then? Well, for starters, the load times are a lot more consistent. On the Wii U, it ranged between 6 to 14 seconds, depending on your setup. It wasn't anything too terrible, but something that could easily be noticed. Level loads are now the same between handheld and television. It takes about six seconds to go into a level, and four to leave it.

Speaking of modes, I tried the game all three ways. What impressed me is how few details were lost in the process. The game looked as sharp as the Wii U game in three ways. The framerate remained rock solid, which is impressive how hard Tropical Freeze went for its designs. For the majority of the time, I played the game with a singular Joy-Con. You could use the motion controls to roll, or do it with the buttons. All the button prompts you need are there with grab being put on SL and SR. Similarly, in handheld mode, grabbing was put on ZL and ZR. With handheld mode, you obviously have more choice in the buttons you want to use. Personally, I found both ways very playable.

The biggest addition to the game is Funky Kong. He is beyond the most broken thing I've tried in a video game. This alone will be the sole reason I play through this game again. When combined with a roll, the double jump and hover combo can overcome any hurdle the game throws at you. I messed up some KONG letters and puzzle pieces very easily, but he made those just simply easy to overcome. Those strats will be fantastic for those speedrunning or lacking a certain confidence in their platforming skills.

The fun, however, doesn't end there. Funky Kong can endlessly roll his way through a level. This makes attacking enemies an absolute breeze, and changes the way you approach a stage. For those dedicated, timing becomes a lot bigger part of the experience. The true fun in Funky Mode comes from nailing your momentum to a tee. This is true in the underwater sections as well, considering you will able to perform infinite corkscrews there.

The true showstopper is naturally landing on the spikes, and taking no damage. Regardless if you are floating or falling down, the game reacts instantly. The surfboard comes busting out of nowhere, after which you just jump to a safe place. I bridged gaps with it, and every time I couldn't stop laughing because of it. In motion, it is a crazy sight to behold and one you wouldn't want to miss. I couldn't see myself slowing down like that, but it is a nice option.

All in all, I had a lot of fun revisiting Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. I certainly will give it a go when May rolls around, and try to get my funk proper on. That Funky Kong with all his overpowered moves is an absolute delight. Naturally, I can imagine that newcomers might not be interested in this, but as a returning player it excites me. Using that crazy ape will make for the silliest run in history. Even leaving that out of consideration, the game is still fantastic and playable in any mode you like. Grab a friend, snap the Joy-Con off and play a grand platformer anywhere you go.


MASBApril 09, 2018

Between reading about this game and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, I'm glad Nintendo is taking the time to use the extra power of the Switch to enchance and improve the games. If you're going to use Wii U ports to fill in the release schedule between wholly original games, you might as well do it right. Hopefully people who didn't own a Wii U will give these games a chance.

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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 May 04, 2018
jpn: Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze
Release May 03, 2018
RatingAll Ages
eu: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release May 04, 2018
aus: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release May 04, 2018
kor: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Release May 03, 2018
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