Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Box Art
System: Wii U
Dev: Retro Studios, Monster Games, Nintendo SPD
Pub: Nintendo
Release: February 21, 2014
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Mild Cartoon Violence

The visuals really come to life in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Every frame is loaded with animations, some for show and some as legitimate obstacles. You'll get everything from the many shades of white on DK's now frozen home, to deliciously bold colors on an island dedicated to processing tropical fruit. There are even a few close-ups to showcase the fine detailing of Donkey Kong's fur. Nothing pushes the boundaries of the Wii U's graphical limits, but with a screen packed with so many things, it makes past Donkey Kong Country entries seem empty by comparison.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Screenshot

The animations work in perfect synchronicity with the music. Every orchestration is an original tune you haven't heard in a previous title, and they all befit each island's backdrop. The savannah is filled with tribal chanting and alphorns are not only heard in the mountain melodies, but also act as clever obstacles with owl Snowmads bellowing through them to hinder your progress. The game's sound effects are all recycled material, though this is nothing unusual for a Nintendo first-party title.

The list of first-party titles for the Wii U is growing, with several big titles on the release list this year. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a great way to start the year for Nintendo. It has an endearing quality that will capture you, and a challenge level worthy of even the most skilled players. The new characters and online features add just enough extras to keep things fresh. If you're craving an old-school platformer, need a break from all the shooters and MMOs, and just can't get enough of DK's snappy red tie, this is an absolute must buy for you.

Sean Engemann
Contributing Writer
Date: February 17, 2014

It's colorful and bursting with animation, but still feels a little dated.
You will not find tighter controls on any other game, ever!
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
All the new tracks are a delight, and the score varies depending on your progression through each level. The sound effects are recycled, which is a slight disappointment.
Play Value
Every board is unique and challenging, and the new features are nice touches. You'll love the new backdrops, but the overall gameplay has changed much from past titles.
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Explore new dynamic levels that twist, turn and transform in new ways. Plus enjoy spectacular views from the dynamic rotating camera.
  • On their journey to reclaim Donkey Kong Island, Donkey Kong and his friends travel across five islands with a variety of stages that include underwater areas and frozen environments.
  • Enhance Donkey Kong's exploration and unlock secrets with a variety of new moves, including a "plucking" system to pull items right out of the ground.
  • Team up with friends in a cooperative multiplayer mode that lets two players share in the fun together.

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