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Donkey Kong

Billy Mitchell photo
Billy Mitchell

Billy Mitchell gets court case against parody depiction tossed because 'he is a human being'

Regular Show, whoaaaaaaaa
Nov 24
// Chris Carter
Haha, this is such an amazing story. As a Regular Show fan, I couldn't forget their depiction of Billy Mitchell in the form of Garrett Bobby Ferguson -- a floating head that cheats at video games and holds the universe r...
Promoted blog photo
Promoted blog

Donkey Kong Country: History as myth and social archeology

Promoted from our community blogs
Sep 23
// Thumb Scar
[A long time ago, we had a community blog string together some theories on the frightening darkness allegedly lurking underneath Princess Peach's facade. Now, Thumb Scar digs deeper for the origins of Donkey Kong Country, whi...

Video game movies to watch this weekend instead of Pixels

Jul 23 // Jed Whitaker
Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban) [embed]296492:59644:0[/embed] Whether or not you're a fan of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games, the movie based on the series is pretty decent. All the characters look and act like their game counterparts and even with the subtitles the movie still nails the games' humor. Sadly the film has never officially been released for sale in the US, but if you have a way to watch it I highly recommend it. Sweet Home [embed]296492:59645:0[/embed] Sweet Home had a Famicom game by the same name, which Resident Evil was planned as a spiritual sequel to. It might not be the best horror film but it is certainly worth a watch. Those who go in thinking the movie will be a Resident Evil movie will be disappointed, as this is more a haunted mansion story than a zombie story. The Sweet Home game influenced a lot of survival horror games and could be painted as the original survival horror game. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters [embed]296492:59646:0[/embed] This documentary follows Steve Wiebe as he attempts to take the world record high score in Donkey Kong from (at the time) current champion Billy Mitchell. While that alone may not sound exciting, the real life characters in the movie make it something special. The film plays more like a drama than a documentary, so much in fact that a scripted film adaptation has been said to be in the works. The documentary was also parodied in a South Park episode where Randy Marsh attempts to take a larger shit than U2 frontman Bono Vox. It's one of my favorite movies ever and highly recommended. Dead Rising: Watchtower [embed]296492:59647:0[/embed] When the free-to-watch Dead Rising: Watchtower was announced I wasn't too excited, and upon release I went into it with low expectations. Turns out it is a rather competent zombie film and has enough fan service to make Dead Rising fans happy. Frank West may not be the lead character but he makes many appearances throughout the film as part of a news program, dickish charm intact.  Animal Crossing (Dōbutsu no Mori) [embed]296492:59648:0[/embed] Does anime count? Well I'm saying it does and you should watch the Animal Crossing anime film that was released in Japanese theaters. The anime follows the same plot as the games; a new girl moves to town, is an indentured servant to Tom Nook, and befriends and helps the other animals in town. Animal Crossing's anime adaptation was never officially released outside of Japan but a fan dubbed version is out there somewhere. The Lawnmower Man [embed]296492:59649:0[/embed] What list of video game-related movies would be complete without The Lawnmower Man, a movie that is more relevant now than when it came out as it deals with virtual reality headsets. A dumb dumb lawnmower man in town is approached by a scientist to be his human guinea pig in an experiment using drugs and a VR headset, and this somehow turns him into a genius with magical powers... I remember watching the movie when it came out and being amazed at the cutting edge special effects, though today they look extremely dated. Strangely enough the effects were made by Angel Studios, which later became Rockstar San Diego and went on to make Red Dead Redemption, L.A. Noire, and Grand Theft Auto V.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World [embed]296492:59651:0[/embed] Whether or not you've read the graphic novel series you should give the Michael Cera-led Scott Pilgrim vs. the World a shot, as it may be the best video game movie out there. The film is basically oozing with references to video games from band names, to Zelda music, to epic fight scenes that would feel at home in any beat 'em up. Speaking of which, if you haven't already, give the game a try because it is just as good as the film and plays very similarly to one of the greatest beat 'em ups of all time, River City Ransom. -- These are some of the best video game-related movies I've seen and surprisingly I don't see them getting the credit they deserve. Also don't let me stop you from watching Pixels, by all means tell Hollywood you want more garbage Adam Sandler films if you so wish. I know I'll probably be watching Pixels sometime this weekend because clearly I'm a masochist, and I'm part of the problem. 
#StopSandler photo
Think of the children
This week the critically lampooned Pixels movie opens in theaters nationwide in the United States, and if you'd rather spend your time and money on movies that don't blow consider these other video game-related films. Don't worry though, this list won't just be the movies you've all seen before, because I'm so much cooler than that.

Diddy Kong goes to Europe photo
Diddy Kong goes to Europe

Nintendo trademarks Diddy Kong in Europe, new game incoming?

Diddy Kong Racing 2 anyone?
Jun 10
// Jed Whitaker
A new trademark filing for Diddy Kong in Europe was discovered by those super sleuths on NeoGAF that could point to a pending announcement at E3 next week. There have been rumors making the rounds about Diddy Kong Racing...

Smash Bros. movie photo
Smash Bros. movie

Sony wants to make Smash Bros. and other Nintendo IPs into movies

'PlayStation All-Stars who?' - says Sony
Apr 17
// Jed Whitaker
Leaked e-mails have revealed that Sony Pictures wants to make movies based on various videogame series including many Nintendo properties such as Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, and odd...
DK Rap photo
DK Rap

Yes, Nintendo, this Kong IS one hell of a guy

The Wii U port of Donkey Kong 64 says the swear
Apr 16
// Jordan Devore
And let's keep it that way. None of that "heck" monkey business. Or Donkey Kong Frappuccinos.
Mario x SotC photo
Mario x SotC

Mario meets Shadow of the Colossus again

And a bonus GameCube family piece
Mar 06
// Jordan Devore
Hooray! Illustrator Jason Lupas has come out with more Mario and Shadow of the Colossus mashups following the pieces we covered last month. I'd love to see a game follow this concept. There's a finished version of the prior Donkey Kong sketch, an underwater scene (shown above), and a cool four-legged reimagining of the Chain Chomp. Good stuff, Jason. Jason Lupas [Tumblr]

Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars

Mar 04 // Darren Nakamura
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: March 5, 2015MSRP: $19.99 Once again, various minis are scattered across stages, and they must touch all of the coins and get to the exit. The "why" of it is unimportant, it's the "how" that is the focus. Minis cannot be controlled directly. A mini will start walking forward once tapped with the stylus or if another mini walks into it. Most of the player's job is to manipulate the environment in order to allow the bots a safe path to the exit. To that end, there is a handful of tools at the player's disposal. There are girders that can act as platforms, ramps, and walls. There are springs that allow the minis to clear gaps or reach new heights. There are conveyor belts, lifts, and pipes that will move the little toys around the map. A tenet of Game Design 101 is to gradually introduce new elements to the player, never overwhelming but eventually creating something complex. Tipping Stars adheres to this idea strictly. Each world features a new environmental piece: the first level introduces it, the next few levels mix it with everything else, and the last few levels require the player to demonstrate mastery in order to move on. [embed]288509:57600:0[/embed] There are a few common threads that tie the worlds together. Each has eight levels. The seventh level always features a Mario mini holding a key and a locked exit. Not only does the player have to complete all of the usual objectives, but he has to have the robots lined up in the correct order, or else the keyless one at the front will just bump stupidly into the lock while the one with the key cannot access it. The eighth level acts almost as a boss encounter, where one mini becomes possessed and must be bopped with a hammer before the stage can be completed. It adds motion to the otherwise stationary puzzling of choosing which pieces go where. Despite the fact that Tipping Stars follows all of the rules of good game design, it lacks anything special to make it noteworthy. The puzzle design is straightforward to a fault. Solutions never require lateral thinking and as a result I never felt any sense of accomplishment upon completing one. Instead of making me feel smart it just made me feel mechanical, like one of the minis marching aimlessly ahead. Oh, I finished that puzzle. Onto the next one. That isn't to suggest that Tipping Stars is too easy. Some of the later levels (and especially the bonus levels) can be quite difficult. However, the difficulty is often in timing and execution rather than in strategy and foresight. For some puzzles, it's possible to see the solution but still muck it up by not poking the minis at exactly the right moments. The level editor from Mini-Land Mayhem! makes a comeback, with the expected incremental upgrades that come with the new hardware. Levels can be shared on Miiverse, and more player-created levels can be saved than before. Basic levels can be created right away, but a lot of cosmetic alterations and the higher level equipment must be purchased with stars.  Stars are the in-game currency, and are generally earned by completing puzzles. Higher scores earn more stars, but each level only grants up to three stars. The key to the economy is that it's not possible to gain enough stars to buy everything by playing the built-in levels alone. To make up the difference for some of the higher-priced items, stars can also be generated by playing user-generated levels, having one's own levels played, or by "tipping" another creator for particularly well-made content. The most commendable addition to Tipping Stars is the inclusion of cross-buy and cross-play. A purchase on either 3DS or Wii U will net a download code for the other, and saved levels can be transferred between the two. It's nice to see Nintendo testing out the idea, even if it's on a mundane title. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is not bad. It is essentially Mini-Land Mayhem! with visual and technical upgrades. It never instills any sense of wonder or accomplishment, and it often feels more like work than play. It's a very paint-by-numbers affair; for a puzzle game it doesn't actually require much thinking, only doing. It is a game that exists, and that's about as much as there is to say about it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Mario vs. DK review photo
A little more than four years ago, Nintendo released Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! on the original DS. It continued the series' focus on the miniature Mario robots, to the chagrin of fans of the platforming in the ...

More amiibo photo
More amiibo

Nintendo predicted the amiibo shortage 11 years ago

It's the long con
Feb 16
// Brett Makedonski
A lot of folks were surprised at last fall's amiibo launch, and how scarce some of the figures were. They shouldn't have been; Nintendo gave them a heads-up almost 11 years ago. The intro for the Game Boy Advance's Mario vs. Donkey Kong shows even the famed ape unable to get his hands on these elusive collectibles. Damn you, Mario Toy Company! This has been your intention all along!
Shadow Mario photo
Shadow Mario

This Shadow of the Colossus and Mario mashup is very cool

Also, Donkey Kong
Feb 10
// Chris Carter
Artist Jason Lupas has posted a few updates on his Tumblr recently that are decidedly videogame related, and they're pretty awesome. They're both homages to Shadow of the Colossus, one of which features a Mario themed ma...
Gaming culture photo
Gaming culture

NBA logos go gaming

Luigi's pants, tho
Jan 24
// Robert Summa
Have a favorite NBA team? Have a favorite gaming mascot? Did you want them combined? No? Well, too bad because someone just did that. Have a look at these cool designs by ak47_studios.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong photo
Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars coming to Wii U and 3DS with Cross-Buy

In March
Jan 14
// Chris Carter
The newest entry in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, Tipping Stars, will arrive on both the 3DS and Wii U on March 5. Good news, right? Well Nintendo has even better news, as it seems like the publisher is finally start...

Donkey Kong 64 made me the gamer that I am today

Oct 17 // Brett Makedonski
Donkey Kong 64 certainly wasn't the first game I ever played that put some sort of emphasis on collecting. That honor may be bestowed to either Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, or Link's Awakening. Hell, even Pokemon Blue, which is a year older in the US than DK 64, could have instilled that mindset. Yet, it was the way that the titular 64-bit monkey was introduced to my life that made him particularly formative. It was holiday season in 1999. I had wanted a Nintendo 64 for years. Many of my friends had the console, and we'd play it any chance we had at each of their houses. But, I wanted one for myself. I wanted to be able to play the likes of GoldenEye, Ocarina of Time, and Tony Hawk on my own time. I thought my odds were high since Nintendo recently bundled Donkey Kong 64 with the console at a pretty reasonable price. I was right. That Christmas morning, I opened a relatively large present, and staring back at me was Donkey Kong and his crew next to a translucent green Nintendo 64. I was beside myself. I wasn't quite Nintendo 64 Kid levels of excited, but I was definitely a happy camper. After all the less important gifts had been unwrapped, I made my way to the living room television and started setting up. That wasn't much of a chore; things were easy enough even back then. After snapping in the included expansion pack (Donkey Kong 64 was one of three Nintendo 64 games that required 4 MB additional RAM; the other two were Perfect Dark and Majora's Mask), it was time to begin the game that I think had decades-long ramifications on my life. You know that special place you have in your heart for the first game on a new system of yours? You know the way that you just hold it in higher regard? You know the way that you play the absolute hell out of it? That was me with Donkey Kong 64. Maybe I had rose-tinted glasses on at the time, but I was determined to not put that game down until I beat it inside and out. And that's exactly what I did. However, besting Donkey Kong 64 can be a tedious process. To truly conquer it, there's a lot that needs to be done. There are 201 golden bananas to obtain, along with other collectibles like regular bananas, banana fairies, banana coins, banana medals -- they really kind of beat you over the head with that whole banana theme. Making the process even more arduous, every level had to be completed with each of the five characters, effectively quintupling the length of the game. To this day, I don't think any of this would have had much initial appeal to me if it weren't for one thing -- that damn percentage completion counter. I loved watching it inch closer to 100 percent with every optional objective ticked off. It wasn't an immediate fascination with collectibles that drew me in; it was a completionist mentality that suddenly depended on this playstyle. So, I played. And I played, and I played, and I played. Before long, I looked forward to the puzzle or skill that'd be required to grab a collectible. Sometimes they'd be races, other times platforming sections. There was a lot of variation in how the collectibles were strewn throughout the world, but the underlying similarity was that they were presented in bite-sized tasks that I could always wrap my head around. Eventually, the pieces started coming together to paint the broad strokes of a complete picture. Individual successes strung together to become mini victories that I reveled in -- like completing a level with one character, knowing that was done forever. Finishing areas with all five felt monumental. Every time I'd boot up the game, I was met with the DK Rap and a slightly higher completion percentage. It kept me pushing on. [embed]282680:55999:0[/embed] The thing about collectibles is that they're never really remarkable in a grandiose way. There's never a seminal moment that you can point to and say "now THAT was really cool." It's a slow burn, a series of short, rather dull instances that add up to a greater sense of accomplishment. I don't know why, but that grind fuels me. It should go without saying by now, but yes, I did 101 percent Donkey Kong 64. But, that's not really the sticking point. It laid the groundwork for future experiences like collecting all the flags in Assassin's Creed and nabbing all the orbs in Crackdown 2. Those are two extreme examples -- many more reasonable titles litter the path throughout the years -- but nonetheless, examples that I enjoyed through and through. Perhaps Donkey Kong 64 had too many collectibles for some people. For me, it was the perfect amount.
Donkey Kong 64 photo
I'd have it no other way
Before each episode of Hardline, Destructoid's videogame news podcast, the cast always takes a few minutes to chat while our producer sets the show up. This week, Jordan mentioned that he'd been thinking about Donkey Kong 64&...

Donkey Kong Country photo
Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country trilogy returning to Virtual Console in the UK

And the Donkey Kong Land series is headed to 3DS
Oct 13
// Jordan Devore
Back in November 2012, Nintendo removed the Donkey Kong Country series from the Wii's Virtual Console for some reason that, to my knowledge, was never publicly addressed. But those games will resurface this month on Wii U alo...
Mods photo

There's a Donkey Kong Country mod for Doom

Demo now playable
Sep 11
// Jordan Devore
I sometimes forget just how crazy Doom modders can get. Here's a firm reminder. This is a total-conversion mod by DooMero that, well, you see ... it's the Donkey Kong Country experience rebuilt in GZDoom. Which is to say it'...

Review: Starbucks' Donkey Kong Frappuccino

Aug 31 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]280456:55509:0[/embed] Donkey Kong FrappuccinoManufacturer: StarbucksRelease Date: August 28, 2014MSRP:  "Around eight dollars" After swiping our credit cards, we found out that this iced concoction is a java chip frappuccino with an added banana, an extra shot of espresso, and toffee nut. Also, it only came in a size that’s an Italian word for “Too fucking big.” When later reached for comment, the barista dressed as Yoshi stated it cost “around eight dollars or something.” The visual appearance of the drink looked something like a camouflage that a troop in the desert would wear. Brown and more brown with some spotty darker brown things. Unfortunately, its unappealing aesthetic carried over into its much more important quality -- taste. I honestly don't even know how to describe how this drink tasted, as it was mostly a mash-up of different flavors that didn't really blend well together. I might've enjoyed it slightly if I had about eight ounces of it, not eight million ounces. Jordan contributed to the scrutiny by saying "I think I might like this if it were only toffee," which didn't really speak praises of whatever the hell we drank. Hamza just furled his eyebrows at it and sneered. No one finished. All three went in the trash prior to being halfway done. In fact, we discarded them so quickly, that we didn't get a picture of them before deciding it should be reviewed. And, there's no way in hell I'm buying another. At the end of our Starbucks trip, there was a clear winner: Andy Dixon. He bought a black coffee for a couple dollars; that was absolutely the correct decision. The DK Rap is a treasure that needs to be preserved for generations to come. The DK Frap needs to be forgotten as quickly as possible.
DK Frap photo
You don't need this
PAX is full of weird pandering shit designed to appeal to the almost 100,000 gaming fans that come out for the convention. Any company would be remiss to pass up the opportunity to make some easy extra cash by selling product...

Mario vs. Donkey Kong photo
Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is Wii U-bound

Cuter than ever
Jun 10
// Brittany Vincent
Mario vs. Donkey Kong is making its way to Wii U, with social features and level editing mechanics that allow creators to share what they've made via Miiverse with other players. They can then in turn be rewarded with stars ...
Retro Studios photo
Retro Studios

Iwata told Retro to work hard on Donkey Kong's fur

And other stories from Tropical Freeze's development
Feb 19
// Chris Carter
The Official Nintendo Magazine had some time to sit down with Retro CEO Michael Kelbaugh and Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe, who were both responsible for the creation of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. A number of in...

Review: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Feb 17 // Chris Carter
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)Developer: Retro Studios / Monster Games / Nintendo SPDPublisher: NintendoReleased: February 21, 2014MSRP: $49.99 First things first, it must be said that the visuals look amazing in HD. All of that same visual charm is there from Returns, but the superior hardware of the Wii U accentuates basically everything that made that art style great. Backgrounds have new depth to them, enemies have even more details and nuances added to their animations, and the game just all around looks better -- to the point where it's one of the best-looking games on the console yet. It helps that even more care has gone in to nearly every facet of the game, which is exemplified in the carefully crafted idle animations. Donkey Kong will sit down and play actual 3DS games when standing still, and every supporting character has a different animation when riding on his back. It's hard to explain without seeing some of the more interesting levels in motion, but it's easy to see why it took Retro Studios so long to finish Tropical Freeze. Fans of the original Donkey Kong Country series will also no doubt recognize the vastly superior soundtrack, thanks mostly to the return of David Wise -- the original DKC composer. Tropical Freeze sports a beautiful soundtrack that easily tops the original Returns, with a healthy mix of remixes and completely original tunes. Not every track is gold but the vast majority are what I'd consider "new classics." It's that good. The story is still a little light this time around, but an all-new cast of villains is present in the form of the Snowmads, who I found to be a lot more interesting than the Tiki Tak Tribe from Returns. Consisting of a collection of animals from penguins to walruses, the Snowmads are as deadly as they are cute. Don't expect a whole lot more than the typical "take back your home" plot, but much like Mario, the focus is on the platforming -- which it delivers in spades. I really have to give it to Nintendo this time around -- they listened when it comes to offering up a host of controller options. Whereas the Wii often forced players to acclimate to one control scheme, the Wii U allows us to try out a number of different controllers, most notably the rock-solid GamePad. Of course, if you prefer the Wiimote, Wiimote+Nunchuk, or the Pro Controller, you can use those too. In one fell swoop, Retro Studios has squashed my one major complaint with Returns. This time around heroes Donkey and Diddy return, but with the extra addition of Dixie (who can rise vertically with her hair spin), and Cranky (who does his best Scrooge McDuck pogo impression). Just like Returns, player one can only use Donkey Kong, but with Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky on his back, he can use their special abilities, and he's granted two extra hits. Player two can pick from any supporting character at will, but can't take control of the main monkey. It would be nice to have the option to play as anyone other than DK while going at it solo, but given the fact that you can vicariously experience the others through group powers, it doesn't really detract from the experience.The controls are mostly the same, focusing on grabbing, pounding the ground, or rolling, with the addition of the brand new Kong Pow attack. By collecting bananas, you can fill a separate gold meter and unleash a screen-clearing power. It's something I rarely ever used, but it's a fun addition to the game, and especially enjoyable to use when gaming with a partner. If it sounds overpowered think again -- because Tropical Freeze is in some ways more difficult than its predecessor. Although one would think that the pool of level diversity would have ran dry after all of the innovative stages in Returns, Tropical Freeze manages to deliver yet again. From giant trees erupting from the ocean floor, to a few clever vehicle gimmicks, to running for your life as you're caught up in a giant Savannah tornado, the game's stages are as diverse as ever. No doubt influenced by the return of David Wise, a few stages are even centered around a musical theme -- much like Rayman Legends -- but a little more seamlessly integrated into the level rather than celebrated. Bosses are legitimately hard this time around -- so if you thought Returns had difficult encounters, you're going to have fun with this one. Fights can be lengthy but they're extremely rewarding, and there are a few bosses in particular that I was highly impressed with. Tropical Freeze also re-introduces swimming to the mix, which is tastefully done with the combination of light swimming levels and stages focused entirely around the activity. Although I was a bit worried as to how these would play out, I'm pleased to say that they not only are some of the best stages in the game, but I'm left wondering why Retro didn't include them in the first place. You'll have a dash attack and a fast swim button at your disposal, and a new layer of depth has been added by way of an air meter -- which needs to be periodically filled by grabbing bubbles in the sea.Like Returns, Freeze is a lengthy title with plenty of levels to explore, all filled to the brim with content. It still has K-O-N-G letters and puzzle pieces to collect, it still has an extra set of bonus levels, and there are still time trials. Freeze also sports a few extras like capsule toys, and hidden "portal" entrances that unlock new stages, not unlike Super Mario World. I didn't think it was possible, but Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has topped Returns. It's an incredibly crafted platformer with an HD sheen and an insane attention to detail, and any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to experience it. With the addition of control options to the already proven formula, Retro Studios' rendition of Donkey Kong is pretty much flawless.
Tropical Freeze reviewed photo
Allow me to break the ice
Donkey Kong Country Returns was one of my favorite platformers of the last generation. It had charm, challenge, and most importantly -- it was a ton of fun. But one of my only hang-ups with the Wii version was the lack o...

Donkey Kong Country photo
Donkey Kong Country

DKC: Tropical Freeze has such charming idle animations

Donkey Kong plays Donkey Kong
Feb 12
// Jordan Devore
Idle animations -- or should I say good idle animations -- happen infrequently enough that I'm usually caught off guard when I happen to leave my character waiting around. I shouldn't be surprised to see that Donkey Kong Cou...
Donkey Kong Country photo
Donkey Kong Country

The DKC: Tropical Freeze video to see above all others

Haven't been following the game? Watch this
Jan 31
// Jordan Devore
In the months since it was first announced, I have warmed up to Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze considerably. Part of my initial reaction stems from disappointment over Retro Studios not getting back to Metroid Prime, b...

Preview: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Jan 20 // Casey B
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)Developer: Retro StudiosPublisher: NintendoRelease date: February 21, 2014 (North America and Europe) If you've seen any of the trailers for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, you probably are familiar with the basic storyline of the game. Donkey Kong and family are enjoying his birthday when a cold breeze from the north arrives, heralding the arrival of the Horkers of Skyrim...or at least sea lions and other arctic marine animals wearing Nordic equipment, known as the "Snomads." This serves as an intro to an adventure of island-hopping through six distinct islands, rife with platforming challenges and mine cart levels. Also revealed at various shows such as E3 and PAX 2013, the cast of playable characters includes Diddy Kong and his signature jetpack move, Dixie Kong with her helpful ponytail hover, and now Cranky Kong with his walking stick that works rather similarly to Scrooge McDuck's cane in DuckTales. Each level varies with the characters on offer, though often the barrel containing them will be a multi-character barrel that switches between all three, giving you the option to choose how you want to approach a challenging part of a level. Cranky Kong's cane is especially helpful in areas where the ground is filled with spikes, though you do still have to time your jumps well so that you take no damage each time you land. One of the changes that I'm personally most pleased with in this latest iteration is the complete removal of the Super Guide, so players can collectively say goodbye to Professor Chops, the checkpoint pig popping up and annoyingly waving a flag to signal that you suck as a videogamer. In his place is a much more revamped shop, curated by none other than good old Funky Kong and his wifebeater/tight jean shorts combo and rad shades. In HD, you can see his funky fur impressively well, and he kinda comes off as the awkward uncle who never really got past that phase in the eighties when being totally bodacious was in. However, his shop is most excellent, as it carries two new colored balloons -- the green balloon that is essential for saving you from pitfalls at opportune moments in more challenging levels, and the blue balloon that helps you breathe underwater for longer. Another cool addition is a capsule machine that drops out a capsule for a few coins. Each capsule unlocks figurines that you can rotate and view in your Extras menu, including the cast of characters and enemies like the commonly-seen "Tuff Tucks" -- tossable penguins with cute little helmets. The shop has a few other power-ups as well, including extra barrels full of monkeys so that you don't have to go into a level alone if you need that extra help. Though there is no online co-op mode for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, there will be online leaderboards that are dedicated to speed-running levels, as well as a single-player Hard mode that unlocks after you beat the main game at least once. The representatives on hand were hesitant to divulge much information on what hard mode entails, though more information was promised in the near future. In terms of level variety, Tropical Freeze has it in spades. The first island world, "Lost Mangroves," is a swampland with some really cool levels, including one of the first returns of the Donkey Kong silhouette levels. This time around, if you're traveling with Cranky Kong, his stunning white beard is visible rather magnificently next to DK's bright red tie. The level itself is appropriately swampy, with bright green hues and silhouetted huts. After this world, you're traveling through a pastoral landscape with windmills and giant Alphorns (Alpine Horns) that you must jump across in some really great platforming challenges, as well as a Grasslands/Savannah island that is facing the elements half the time and also a return to the underwater levels in "Seabreeze Cove." As one of the coolest levels I played in Island World 3, "Bright Savannah" involved out-running a windstorm that is tearing the level apart around you, so that your platforms are basically whatever may be blowing about in the wind at any given moment. The game is filled with exciting sequences like this, and even when I lost about 30 of my balloons in one challenging area, I still had absolutely no urge to put the controller down. As in Donkey Kong Country Returns and in the original franchise, each level contains tons of bananas to find, secret areas everywhere, "KONG" letters that open up secret levels, and of course the occasional mine-cart or rocket-barrel section. The musical scores of each level created by veteran David Wise are wonderful, with a great new standout found in level 2-1. The tune is "Windmill Hills," and it evoked the mood of the theme song to Cheers, with a bit of a folksy country vibe. The wonderful score to the underwater levels is back and revamped, and I wished I could listen to it more at the event as I heard it over the sound of other journalists playing on other systems. Surprisingly, one of the biggest joys of Tropical Freeze are the boss battles. All of the bosses, including the Viking Sea Lion of the first island, are in no way slouches, and involve understanding their independent move-sets and weaknesses to lob things at them or jump on them and take them down. They also get more dangerous as you take them down, switching up their attacks in intelligently designed ways that keep you guessing at how to properly end them. One of the bosses actually made me think of boss levels in shoot-'em-ups that require you to avoid incessant enemy fire and find brief safe spots before implementing your attack. There is one small concern that I feel it necessary to air, and that is in playing on the GamePad. As in all of the games before, grabbing onto things requires holding onto the bumpers while manipulating the joystick and jump button, and on the very wide GamePad this is immediately apparent as a recipe for some serious carpal-tunnel, especially since the game is such a challenging and relentless platformer. Furthermore, requiring you to hold down the grab button just feels awkward on the GamePad, and I found myself forgetting to do so several times on tough levels before I'd wise up. After playing for about an hour on the GamePad I had to shake my hands just to give them a bit of proper exercise, and decided it was a good time to switch controls. Fortunately, several control options are available, including the Wii Remote by itself or the Wiimote and Nunchuk combo, though personally I would highly recommend playing with the Wii U Pro Controller, as it just feels right in one's hands and is perfect for challenging platforming situations. The biggest thing I want to stress about my four-hour playthrough is that even though Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze is very similar to Returns in terms of general gameplay design, it is shaping up to be a worthy successor due to its varied levels and smart changes to gameplay design. It also looks beautiful on a huge HD screen and the levels seem to run silky smooth. The challenge has also been increased in only the best way possible, so that deaths are never frustrating because of controls or other problems with level design, but simply because they operate on that addictive "one more try" quality that only the best platformers achieve. I'll definitely be picking up my copy in February to see Donkey Kong and family through to the cold, bitter end.
Tropical Freeze photo
How this 'sequel' improves upon the original return
When Retro Studios' Donkey Kong Country Returns released for the Wii in 2010, I was ecstatic. Since I was 13 years old when I played Rare's original Donkey Kong Country for the first time, I marveled at its solid platforming ...

HAWP photo

HAWP, Freddie Wong team up for DKC Tropical Freeze video

Screening next Thursday at Sundance
Jan 07
// Ian Bonds
A few months ago, Nintendo held a Wii U video challenge, asking 30 of YouTube's top content creators to produce short videos inspired by Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. After viewing all the selec...

Fashion Alert: Who Wore It Better?

Funky Fresh or Pretty Poison?
Dec 20
// Max Scoville
The Daisy-Dukes-and-a-'Beater look is back in a big way this season! Who's rocking the outfit better, Funky Kong or Poison?
Funky Kong photo
Funky Kong

HIYA! Funky Kong confirmed for DKC: Tropical Freeze

It's up in the air whether or not he's playable
Dec 20
// Chris Carter
Shortly after confirming a playable Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Nintendo has finally confirmed the existence of another character that was long rumored to be in the game -- Funky Kong. Nintendo hasn'...

Review: NES Remix

Dec 19 // Chris Carter
NES Remix (Wii U)Developer: indieszeroPublisher: NintendoReleased: December 18, 2013MSRP: $14.99 Think of NES Remix as a fully fledged version of the "8-bit Gamer" subset of the WarioWare series, with tons of content. I dove into it thinking it would be a quick arcadey few hour affair -- and I was dead wrong. This game is incredibly long, and will most likely take you 10 hours or more to fully complete, even if you only play each level once. For those of you who are wondering what you get with your $15, here's the full set list, so to speak: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros. Arcade, Excitebike, Balloon Fight, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Wrecking Crew, Ice Climber, Pinball, Golf, Clu Clu Land, Donkey Kong 3, Baseball, Urban Champion, Tennis, and remix stages that jumble everything together. Whew! That's a lot of games, right? Keep in mind though that each of those levels is a minigame though, and not a full title. Yep, you do not in any way shape or form get the full versions of these NES classics -- in fact, the game has a comical (but ultimately lame) "Buy something will ya!" Zelda themed eShop ad. You'll also start off with the first six titles I listed above, and unlock the rest, lest you think everything is available from the start. [embed]267696:51906:0[/embed] Having said that, I immediately dove into Super Mario Bros., and played through everything that subset had to offer over a good hour. It's pure, clean, simple fun, and the minigames are pretty much a 1:1 version of the originals, with slight twists that make them more arcade-like. For instance, you might have to kill a certain amount of enemies in a limited time with a star, or race to the finish of World 1-1 before time runs out. Levels range from a few seconds to 30 to a full minute or more, so they're not all micro games per se. There's some good mobile design principles implemented here, in the sense that each stage has a three star rating to obtain (with a soft rainbow "four star"), so you can strive to complete each level with the maximum efficiency. You also get at least three lives for each objective, so you can afford to make a few mistakes. Timers make this perfect for speedrunning, and competing with your friends to earn the best performance. It also supports remote play, if you're interested. The remix levels are the clear-cut highlight of the project, as they usually involve wackier objectives that deviate far from the game specific goals. In one mission, Link enters a special dungeon, and ends up having to complete the first level of Donkey Kong. The twist? Link can't jump, so he has to outwit the barrels and climb ladders to get to the end. The list goes on in terms of amazing remix stages, like endless runner Mario levels, Mario Bros. Arcade boards that zoom out so you can barely see anything, and Excitebike courses that are completely frozen over. One remix in particular really struck a chord with me -- a "night-time" blacked-out run of World 1-1 in Super Mario Bros. similar to the mechanic found in Donkey Kong Country Returns. It brought new meaning to the phrase "the first goomba," and I really enjoyed seeing some of these old stages in a new light. Having said that, NES Remix arguably should have consisted entirely of these levels, rather than bits and pieces of various games. It's great that there's a decent amount of remixes to work through, but I think more and wackier mash-ups would have resulted in a much stronger package. There's also another unseen element that I realized a few hours into NES Remix -- the teaching element. The first stage of each individual game is a learning experience, complete with full button tutorials, and even giant circles on-screen to show you exactly where you need to jump, or how to kill each enemy. It's something that'll take a few seconds for veterans, but newcomers will appreciate these small mechanics -- especially considering the fact that the originals never had tutorials, and they can easily go back to them having learned the basics. Nintendo has unwittingly created an introduction to the NES for children, and it's much appreciated. As I said before there's a ton of content in Remix, but a lack of full versions really hurts the prospect of this being an "insta-buy." There are other limitations as well, like a complete absence of multiplayer, no controller configuration options, and a lack of more remixes. If you love the Miiverse though you're in luck, as every level has support for stamps and posts. I've already seen some hilarious jokes for maps like the one where you have to kill Luigi to progress, and the community is as active as ever, even on day one. Speaking of stamps, there's a ton of unlocks here, and creative artists are going to have a field day with all the retro throwbacks. Let me make this clear -- if you find yourself playing any of these games yearly, whether it's for nostalgia or because you think they're genuinely good games, you will love NES Remix. It lacks a lot of bells and whistles that newcomers may find inexcusable, but I had a smile on my face almost the entire time, and experienced the same controller throwing moments (although a GamePad against a wall would be more disastrous) that made me persevere until I got it right.
NES Remix REVIEWED photo
Mostly for retro enthusiasts
If you're a veteran of the NES era, you've played its countless classics many times before. You may have bought them multiple times, either out of nostalgia or for convenience when a new system arrives. Modern gamers may scof...


Cranky Kong goes bananas in new Donkey Kong trailer

That is one energetic old monkey
Dec 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
We got lots of new info from today's Nintendo Direct, and amongst all the news was the latest trailer for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It shows off just what you'd expect with all the crazy platforming featuring the...
Donkey Kong photo
Donkey Kong

VICE's The New Kings of Kong checks in on the champs

Everyone loves a good rivalry
Dec 12
// Jordan Devore
"When I play a game, it's not really for fun -- it's to kick the shit out of this game." And with that, we have our "villain" in the Donkey Kong high score rivalry between the mild-mannered current record holder Dr. Hank Chi...
Nintendo photo

Nintendo confirms Cranky Kong for DKC: Tropical Freeze

Go bananas!
Dec 07
// Kyle MacGregor
Meaty Nintendo executive Reggie Fils-Aime made an appearance tonight on Spike TV's VGX awards show to confirm Cranky Kong will be the fourth playable character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The elder statesman...

More Fallout 4 Clues, Microsoft Threshold & Cranky Kong

Max Scoville made a Dtoid Show episode all by himself
Dec 03
// Max Scoville
Hey guys! Here's another newsy-type update, which I hope can become a regular thing. It's not quite the Destructoid show you're used to, but you can see we've made some progress. I swear to god, Destructoid has been cursed by...

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