With the popularity and good sales of Donkey Kong Country Returns, which not only saw a Wii release, but a 3DS iteration as well, it was only natural that a sequel would grace the Wii U at some point. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was at New York Comic Con, and it generated quite the buzz that rivaled the likes of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3D World, and Pokemon X/Y. While I'm not the biggest Donkey Kong Country fan, I left the demo very impressed and can't wait to get my hands on the final product in February.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a gorgeous game, boasting wonderfully detailed backgrounds of tropical snowfields and equally beautiful character models. DK and Diddy have honestly never looked better, as their fur flows naturally with each and every movement, and every strand of hair looks as though you could pluck it right off.
Enemies receive the same attention to detail, especially the one boss that I was able to fight in demo, which consisted of a goofy-looking, giant walrus with blubber jiggling and bouncing when he was sliding or being hit by DK or Diddy. It keeps true to the Donkey Kong Country art style and makes many improvements over the Wii’s Donkey Kong Country Returns.
The gameplay on the other hand remains mostly the same, albeit with some new additions. Controlling DK or Diddy was limited to the Wiimote and nunchuck at NYCC. While it wasn't exactly difficult to control with the nunchuck and the Wiimote, it would have been much easier to use a gamepad. I was told that, since the game is still many months away, the addition of controls using the Wii U Pro Controller or the gamepad would most likely come to fruition at a later stage of development.
Platforming, jumping on enemies, cartwheel dodging, and hopping into mine carts to fly down rail tracks is as tight as ever and the new edition of Diddy Kong's jetpack is a blast to use. While you can play the game co-op, single player will have Diddy attach to DK so that he can fly around the level for a limited amount of time. The challenges and obstacles, including the levels that require the use the jetpack, hold a good degree of difficulty.
As always, there's plenty to collect, including K O N G golden coins as well as the secret little stages to collect puzzle pieces and bananas. The one boss battle, which featured a bunch of penguins and the aforementioned humongous king walrus in a circus themed level was a nice change of pace from the general “rule of three” bosses that usually appear in platform games. It took a good dozen or so jumps on the walrus’ gut in order to take him down for good.
I can't wait to see what else Tropical Freeze has in store. Weather with a buddy sitting next to you or simply by your lonely little self, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is going to be a charming platforming experience. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is another game to add to the list of high quality upcoming Wii U releases, and looks to be another fantastic entry in the Donkey Kong Country series. Look for Tropical Freeze come February 22nd 2014.