Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Donkey Kong Country: Returns

Donkey Kong Country: Returns Review

Kid Safe: Very High                     Game Quality: Very High

Genre: Two-Dimensional Platformer
-          This game is identified by its play-style. The character operates on a mostly two-dimensional environment, i.e. restrained to up, down, left, and right; in which they most often will run to the right-side of the screen and avoid obstacles and solve puzzles in order to get to the completion of the level/game.

Internet Requirements: Very Low
-          This game features no internet gameplay and is solely restricted to the single-player or multi-player cooperative play style.

Story Summary: In Donkey Kong Country: Returns, you play the role of Donkey Kong and his friend
Diddy Kong who live on the lush, tropical paradise of Banana Island. One day, Banana Island's volcano erupts to release the wild, mind-controlling Tikis that lived within; who use their powers to control all of the animals on Banana Island and force them to steal Donkey Kong's bananas. You must adventure through lush jungles, sunny beaches, and collapsing, ancient ruins to get all of your bananas back and teach those Tikis a lesson they will never forget.

Kid Safe: Very High
-          Foul Language: Very Low
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns does not contain any foul language.

-          Violence and Gore: Low
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns contains a low amount of violence and no amount of blood and gore. The violence is depicted through scenes of Donkey Kong jumping on the heads of enemies, causing them disappear, fall off the screen, or crumble into bits of Tiki mask. Other scenes of violence are through Donkey Kong punching Tikis repeatedly in the face and sending them flying off into the distance.
-          Sexually-Related Content: Very Low
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns does not contain any sexually related content.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Very Low
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns does not contain any usage of drugs or alcohol.

Game Quality: Very High
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   The graphics and visuals for Donkey Kong Country: Returns of a generally high quality. To begin, Donkey Kong Country's appearance is extremely pleasing; providing a very bright, colorful, and cartoonish feel that lends to a very fun and upbeat atmosphere. In the opening scene, a Tiki that fails to mesmerize Donkey Kong is beaten up for his attempt in a fashion akin to old Looney Toons cartoons; zooming out to see Donkey Kong's house bouncing and shaking back and forth, up and down as the two characters tustle. Aside from that, some levels are more of a visual treat than others; like one that takes place during sunset where the background is bright with the failing sun and everything in the foreground is black and shadowed on the exception of a the bright red highlighting of Donkey Kong's tie and Diddy Kong's Hat.

o   On top of this, while the gameplay is two-dimensional and players are always running on a single path, there is always something going on in the background. Sometimes the events going on in the background will even effect the player in the foreground as they find explosive barrels that will send them flying around the world, heading "backwards" into the background environments or sending them flying forwards back onto the original path.

o   The only downside to Donkey Kong Country's graphics is that it is sometimes suffers from low resolution textures and a somewhat blurry presentation.
-          Audio: Very High
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns features a extremely high quality of audio and sound. These points are best demonstrated through its whimsical use of sound effects as well as its pleasing array of music. To begin, characters do not have any spoken dialogue and, therefore, a great deal of emotion and is displayed through the usage of sound effects. These sound effects are greatly varied, ranging from Donkey Kong's victory hooting and howling to the Tiki's now iconic tune that is played to mesmerize the animals; from the screeching and banging of Donkey Kong riding a broken mine cart to the crashing of a massive tidal wave rolling in to wash him away.

o   Admittedly, however, listening to the sound effects can be a little difficult if you happen to get caught up in the music of this title; the music is just as, if not more, impressive. This game features a score for the entire game and generally has different music for a great number of the individual levels that players will experience. Not only will players hear an impressive remake and re-mastering of the original Donkey Kong Country theme song, they will also hear custom tailored tunes meant to add a spooky atmosphere to levels like "Tidal Terror" or epic chase music as Donkey Kong races away from bomb-throwing moles in "Bomb's Away".

-          Gameplay / Playability: Very High
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns features an impressively high level of quality of gameplay. First off, this title can be one or two players. Those players are also not restricted to a single control-style, and are able to use the Wii Remote with the Nunchuck or just the Wii Remote alone; whatever makes them more comfortable. Likewise, any extraneous controls, on the exception of moving around and jumping, are explained in multiple locations; including when you first start off and anytime you are about to use a special vehicle or item that you have not used in a while.

o   Once you get a hang of the controls, you will find that everything is implemented very well and offers a massive range of gameplay to enjoy. Transitioning from running to rolling to jumping to climbing and to whatever else players might want to do is performed incredibly smoothly. Likewise, players are not limited to simply running and jumping; they will be experiencing everything that Banana Island has to offer including runaway mine carts, trains, rhinos, exploding catapult-like barrels, and even barrel rocket-ships, just to name a few. The levels themselves are often varied as well with players fighting a giant Kraken as it takes over a level, hiding from massive tidal waves, dodging crystals on a runaway mine cart, and fighting a wide variety of "bosses", massive enemies all with one special weakness.

o   The only problem with this title that we really had is that this game has a strange difficulty curve. Where it is generally a very easy and enjoyable play, there are some levels that are just down-right, ridiculously difficult. These are not common, but they were a little frustrating none-the-less. Luckily, if a level is too difficult, the game will actually show you how to play through the level so that you can pass it more easily.
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   Donkey Kong Country: Returns has an extremely high Dollar-Value and we can only highly recommend it. This title will provide you somewhere between 6 to 10 hours of playtime for the regular "story" playthrough. It will take significantly longer if players would like to find all of the hidden items and unlock all of the special extras in this title. Likewise, players are able to play alone or with a friend/parent, which will only increase the fun as they try and help or hinder each other on their quest through Banana Island. Last, but not least, this title is extremely fun and your dollar will almost certainly go a long ways with Donkey Kong Country: Returns.

-          As Donkey Kong Country: Returns is very Kid Friendly, there is little need for alternate recommendations. However, if you would like to experience a game in similar design, you may wish to look Super Mario Bros. New; it is another remake of an older franchise and equally as fun.

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