"What's Retro working on? A new Metroid? Zelda Wii U? Something entirely original?"
Those were the questions prior to E3. Turns out the secret project was yet another Donkey Kong Country sequel.
Don't get me wrong! Returns is friggin' amazing and Tropical Freeze is just as fun so far. I simply think Retro has so much more potential.
Never mind that, though. Tropical Freeze... it's pretty bangin'.
From the opening scene in which DK and Diddy bust out of their downed airplane, our duo makes their way into a small pool of water. Yes, swimming is back, and it's got much more of a fluid Rayman Origins feel to it -- just tilt in the direction you wish to swim and push a button to propel yourself forward.
Other than that, Tropical Freeze plays like Returns, only the goofy blowing technique has been replaced by an ability to pull stuff planted in the ground. In two-player mode, Diddy still fires his peanut popgun, and he still grants DK a limited hovering ability by climbing on his back.
Though she wasn't playable in the demo, Diddy's girlfriend Dixie Kong returns and can partner up with DK, bringing along her patented ponytail copter twirl. However, since Diddy's jet pack already covers that function, I don't know what benefit Dixie will provide. Maybe she's been given some new tricks too.
There's supposedly a fourth character, but the mystery Kong's identity will remain a secret for a while longer.
I played the single-player demo, which allows for off-TV play on the GamePad. I also tried multiplayer, in which both players use the traditional Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo. It was weird that player one wasn't allowed to use the GamePad -- I'm guessing there's some special GamePad feature that Nintendo doesn't wish to reveal yet. Likewise, nothing was said of Pro Controller use, although if Super Mario 3D World uses it, I don't see why DKC won't.
I rolled around, took a quick dip in the water, attempted a new mine cart stage, and fought back the new enemies: Viking animals, which include penguins, walruses, and weird kung fu rabbits. All in all, it's more of the same, albeit with a shinier coat of paint.
And that's just dandy. Donkey Kong deserves to be back in the spotlight. Show him some love this November, will ya please?