What happens when you take the bongos away from the ape? Bad things.
Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat originally came out for the GameCube in 2005 and was heralded for its great old-school platforming. The hook of the game was that you used a bongo drum peripheral to control the titular ape in what was a wonderful mixture of a platformer and a rhythm game. In the recently released New Play Control! version, the bongo controls are removed in favor of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. This, along with other changes, has transformed what was once a charming genre hybrid into a straight platformer with middling results.
Obviously, the removal of the bongos is the key change made in this new version. Waving the Wii Remote and Nunchuk does not reproduce the tactile feel of the original, and using the Nunchuck's analog stick instead is somewhat tedious. DK also no longer uses the collectable bananas as health; instead, he can take three hits before he dies. In lieu of having to restart the whole level over again after dying, players have lives, and certain levels have checkpoints. These changes turn Jungle Beat into a run-of-the-mill platformer with only small traces of the rhythm game left behind.
These changes are also accentuated by the modifications to the levels. All the levels from the original are present, but they are all adapted to accommodate the new control style. For example, the ease of movement with the analog stick necessitated the insertion of new obstacles, such as cacti and wood. With the new controls and different levels, the New Play Control! version of Jungle Beat plays more like a remixed version of the original GameCube release. A boss rush mode was added, but it is only unlocked after completing everything else in the game.
While the game's controls are functional and it has nice little touches (such as the plethora of sound effects that comes out of the Wii Remote speaker), it has lost a lot in the switch to the new control scheme. It almost completely removes the rhythm aspect, and amplifies Jungle Beat's issues to make it seem like nothing more than a peculiar platformer with some weird design choices. For example, the delays between actions and extremely floaty jumps work with the bongos, but they feel awkward without them. Jungle Beat on Wii excels when everything comes together and the rhythm aspect of it shines through, but it falters whenever the action stops. This happens more often than you'd like.
New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat is still a good game, but it’s lacking a lot of the charm of its original outing without the bongos. For fans of the original, your mileage may vary depending on how attached you were to the bongo peripheral. For rookies, it is still a good platforming experience, but not a great one.