Roll your way into the Banana Temple
Donkey Kong Country Returns is one of the hardest games Nintendo has made in years. While the core game is extremely manageable, completing the game's fabled mirror mode, which forces you to best every level in the game backwards with one heart and no power-ups, is absolutely brutal.
This time around there's eight new exclusive levels, but there's a catch -- you have to complete every temple and access the Banana Temple to get to them. To help get people acquainted with the new 3DS re-release, I've assembled a few tips to assist you along the way.
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- The first thing you need to do is master the roll-jump -- like any Donkey Kong Country game, the roll-jump can make or break your experience. All you have to do is roll off a ledge, then jump afterwards (it's like you're jumping in mid-air). The roll-jump not only allows you to grab pickups that are hanging off of a ledge with ease, but it also allows you to quickly progress through sections that require you to move forward constantly (lava chases, and levels where platforms fall as you touch them).
- Another tough move is the high-jump while bouncing off an enemy. All you have to do is get the timing down, and press the jump button as you're landing on their head. Mastering this move is required to beat some portions of the game, so make sure you can do it consistently. You can practice with squids in World 2-2.
- Having major trouble on a level that has no checkpoints? Go into an early stage and grab a DK barrel to nab Diddy, then go into Cranky Kong's shop and get an extra heart piece item. Enter the level, enact the power-up, and if you die, reset your game (without quitting, so it doesn't save), and you can retry the level with Diddy and your heart piece. Speaking of which, the extra heart will last the entire level, even if you die.
- If necessary, you can farm banana coins for lives. If you jump on an enemy and combo into another enemy without touching the ground, you'll keep earning banana coins, and eventually, an extra life (similar to Super Mario World). Level 2-2 has a great portion to farm coins and lives if you have Diddy's jetpack -- just jump on each squid as it shoots out of the cannon.
- If you're wondering what the three circles are for each world on the map, they are as follows: all K-O-N-G letters, puzzle pieces, and time trial completion. After unlocking mirror mode, a fourth circle will appear.
- Puzzle pieces simply unlock more art in the gallery -- they're not required for a full playthrough and do not count towards the completion percentage.
- If you beat the gold time when attempting a time trial in a stage, you'll have the potential to unlock the shiny gold medal.
- The bosses in World 1-B and 7-B eat Diddy Kong's peanuts when their mouths are open, which makes them vulnerable. You need a second player to do this.
- Wait until after the Banana Coin barrel power-up at the end of each stage and hit the DK symbol every time to get a multiplier for a random power-up. To get the maximum out of the symbol, mash X and Y, alternating with each mash. You can also smash the creatures after beating bosses in this way, although it's just for fun -- wait until the exact moment, when the inputs come onto the screen to smack the bosses.
- Are you having lots of trouble with the rocket and minecart stages? There's a new item in the 3DS' New Mode that lets you take an extra hit. If you absolutely positively despised these sections on the Wii, there's no shame in playing the easier New Mode. Practice tapping the button slightly (ie slow mashing) to master the rocket.
- There's actually two forms of minecart riding. If you're inside the mine cart, you'll die in one hit, and thus, can utilize the New Mode item. If you're outside of the cart (standing on top of it), you can control your jumps, and take damage in the form of hearts (although environmental damage is still a one hit kill). Keep this in mind when you're outside the cart -- try not to generally press any directional inputs and you'll jump the farthest distance possible.
- If you use the Super Guide for anything, you won't earn any of those pickups on your file.
- In World 7, you have to hit the three red switches inside the world map square. If you beat each stage and are confused why you can't progress, simply go back and locate the hidden barrel to each button room. By far the hardest red switch to find is in 7-5 Cog Jog -- when you reach a gear with a downwards banana arrow (which is easy to miss), pound the ground to roll the wheel and access the barrel.
Unlocking the new 3DS content:
- If you want to access the eight new levels, you need to collect all eight "Rare" orbs throughout the game. To do this, you don't need to get a full 100% rating in the sense that you need to collect every puzzle piece and do every time trial -- all you need to do is collect every K-O-N-G letter in each realm.
After getting the letters in for an individual world, you'll unlock a special temple with an orb in it -- complete that process for all eight worlds, and you'll gain access to the Banana Temple. Beating the final Banana Temple stage will net you mirror mode, which allows you to access a 200% completion.