Preview: DKC: Tropical Freeze thaws the series’ past

June 22, 2013


I may not have been able to go to E3 with Graham and Shawn, but my local Best Buy was cool enough to host Nintendo’s E3 Experience, bringing four playable demos of upcoming Wii U games. Being the incorrigible Donkey Kong Country nut I am, nothing stopped me from getting my grubby paws on Retro’s latest.

What it is: The sequel to 2010’s Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze brings the series to HD for the first time, and even reintroduces Dixie Kong. Beyond the distinct graphical upgrade, Tropical Freeze also mixes things up by playing with perspective, utilizing a dynamic camera system to add extra depth and pizazz to the barrel and mine cart sections. The finer controls are still motion-based, but instead of the odd blowing mechanic, we have Donkey and company pulling things from the ground. This technique is controlled with buttons, and is more involved with the level design.

Why we’re excited: David Wise! The composer responsible for the classic tunes from the original Super Nintendo series is back, and from what I heard, the game is even treading some new ground. The arrangements from the first game were heartwarming, and the new stuff was good too, but there wasn’t much of it. This time, the obvious remixes are still present, but it looks like we’re also getting a lot of new music that absolutely keeps the spirit of the original in its own way.

Also, more characters! Dixie Kong was a great new addition in DKC2, and bringing her back is a smart move that shows Retro hasn’t forgotten the fun cast of characters that help make Donkey Kong Country what it is. Also, we may have another, unannounced character to look forward to.

What we’re wondering: DKC Returns was a more-than-solid game that was praised by most and sold like crazy. What is Retro bringing to the table this time in terms of design? The dynamic camera is neat, but what we’re seeing so far is essentially more of the same. With the addition of swimming, will we see more in line with the SNES titles, or will we see anything new? Will we get more animal friends, or perhaps new ones? Will Cranky Kong go back to being a jerk again?


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze rolls onto the Wii U on November 21.