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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review

Keeping all the fun funky and fresh!

Game Info

  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Retro Studios
  • Release Date: May 4, 2018

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Overview Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Who it Caters to

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review
Boy how time does fly past us, huh? It’s been 4 years since we saw Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze make its debut on the Nintendo Wii U, and now 4 years later, we see its triumphant return on the Switch. Many of you are probably wondering if there’s been any significant changes to the game since then, and we’re happy to say that it has retained much of its fun and vibrant appeal. The only major change really is just the addition of Funky Kong and we’ll dive a little deeper into what he does a little later. For now, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is like any other DK platformer that has come before it, but of course with improved visual aesthetics among other things. It retains the simplicity of a platformer but often puts you on the edge of your seat with some surprising moments, that keep you coming back for more. Anyone who fancies a platforming experience will definitely feel right at home and start monkeying around with all sorts of techniques, to course through every level effectively. You’re still getting a truly spectacular experience with DK and his pals (some extra perks too!), but with Funky Kong to help you along the way!

What to Expect

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review
When Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze released on the Wii U, it really didn’t get to shine as much as other titles, simply due to the poor performance of the console. Sadly, the Wii U met its demise very early on in its life cycle, barely even reaching the sales numbers that its predecessor, the Wii, achieved. For that reason, not many people had the chance to really enjoy Tropical Freeze as much as they wanted to because no one at the time wanted to buy a flopped console. So now with the Nintendo Switch clearly surpassing that of the Wii and Wii U combined, it was only clear that Nintendo and Retro Studios revive the title and see just how things perform. They went on to add in Funky Kong, the calm cool and collected character who enjoys surfing among other cool things. Among that addition is the help of Diddy Kong with his Barrel Jet, and other fun things we'll let you experience hands on!

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review
Unlike with Donkey Kong who’s the main protagonist of the original game, Funky Kong adds a new element to the gameplay giving players a chance to replay the entire title in a fresh new way. Funky Kong has the ability to pretty much do everything DK can’t, which is swim underwater freely, float in the air with his surfboard to avoid incoming attacks, or to simply glide safely onto a platform, along with being able to jump onto spikes without taking damage. This creates a totally fun experience because you can play through the entire game without worrying too much about the many obstacles around you. In other words, Funky Kong turns this game into easy mode. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing is totally subjective to the individual but we found it to be quite endearing, because the game maintained its difficulty at times on certain levels. With that being said, let’s surf right into the gameplay and just why Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is worth the time.


Gameplay

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review
So right off the bat, you can tell that the game is a complete port of the Wii U title because even the menus are exactly the same, with only a few cosmetic changes to adhere to the Switch. Once you dive in, you’re greeted with those glorious cutscenes of DK and his family celebrating together when suddenly, the island is attacked by a mysterious enemy who transforms what was once a warm tropical island into a frozen throne. It’s now up to you to put an end to this nonsense and reclaim the island. The game runs a lot smoother than its Wii U version, which is a plus, and doesn’t suffer from any slowdown either. With the new Funky Mode in place, the game becomes a totally fresh new experience, allowing you to traverse areas on each level a lot easier, especially during those tough bonus stages.

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review
Since Funky Kong can pretty much hover and glide his way over hurdles along the way, clearing stages often felt too easy. There were, of course, some stages that posed a great deal of difficulty with using Funky Kong, notably the later half of the game, but in the early phases, we just cruised through without much effort. Levels where DK would shine in Funky Kong would totally outshine him because you could avoid taking damage and just keep doing. This created a little boredom at times because what we were looking for was a challenge and instead were thrown a little freebie. It didn’t ruin our overall impressions of the game as it was still an incredibly fantastic experience, but it certainly felt like sometimes you didn’t really have to think too much. Boss battles felt easier this time around because you could simply just hover over the boss until you figure out their pattern, then smash them over the head to claim your reward. There were still moments of frustration when it came to specific bosses, like the Monkey Brothers, but once you failed enough times, it became more apparent of how you could overcome them.

The one major gripe we had however was just how incredibly short the game felt, like really really short. We streamed the game over at our Twitch channel (Twitch.tv/honeysgaming btw), and within 6-9 hours of playing, we beat the entire game. Now, mind you, we didn’t collect all of the puzzle pieces and missed some of the KONG letters, but it still felt really short despite all of that. If we went out of our way to complete the game entirely and collect every artifact there was, then maybe you’d be looking at about 15-20 hours give or take. It would’ve been great if Nintendo threw in a few extras exclusively for the Switch like maybe an online high score mode, or maybe just more levels to explore. That definitely would’ve added a lot more depth to an already great title.

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review


Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review
Another issue that we came across was just how we never had to use the in game shop to purchase any items because well, Funky doesn’t require them. Well maybe that’s not an issue, maybe it’s just because Funky Kong is just too good of a character and his special abilities often negate the constant hurdles that DK originally had to struggle with. Or maybe we’re just too good at platformers and just want to sound modest. Whatever the case may be, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is still a truly awesome platforming experience and will have you monkeying around for some time.

Honey's Pros:

  • The game still retains much of its charm from the original, just with the addition of Funky Kong.
  • Funky Kong is good, a little bit TOO GOOD.

Honey's Cons:

  • Maybe a bit too easy with Funky Kong.
  • Short gameplay time. Would’ve loved some Switch bonus additions or something.

Honey's Final Verdict:

We hope you found our review of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze to be an insightful one, and that it helped to make your purchasing decision a lot easier. We recommend you to try and complete the game 100% and share your results with us in the comments below! Be sure to hit us up on Twitter to stay updated on all the latest gaming news, as well as Twitch to know when we go live with all these fun titles! If you want to get to know myself or any of the other writers here at Honey’s Anime, then be sure to check out our official Discord channel as well!

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

DKCTF-Logo-Donkey-Kong-Country-Tropical-Freeze-capture-500x281 Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Nintendo Switch Review

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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