The Gamecube version of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, released in 2005, was interesting in a lot of ways. It was one of the few games to use the DK Bongos (and the only one that wasn’t a music game), it was the first DK adventure after the departure of Rare,
and it was also a training exercise for EAD Tokyo, the studio formed to create Super Mario Galaxy. Unfortunately, it was overlooked by many that considered it gimmicky.
So the Wii re-release is meant to make the game more accessible. It eschews the bongo controller for a remote-nunchuk setup, and retails at a cheaper $29.99. Rather than have the controls mimic the original scheme, the game has been reworked to use an analog stick and buttons. It actually feels like a much different game as a result.
The game now feels a bit more like Donkey Kong Country. Bananas are now the main currency instead of being converted to “beats,” and there’s a small life meter now as well. Besides that, the game does feel almost as streamlined as the original.
It seems like the original could also have been included for those who still have DK bongos sitting around, but that’s not an option. For good or bad, though, the Wii controls also feel somewhat gimmicky. It was charming in 2005, but not so now after years of games with “waggle” gameplay.
Still, DKJB is a fun game. It just may not be for everyone.
ESRB: E10+– You punch stuff. That’s why it’s not just E.
Pros: Platforming action from the team that made Galaxy.
Cons: Gimmicky controls aren’t as cool as they used to be.