Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review

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We review Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze for the Wii U

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review

Overview – Play as Donkey Kong to save his island from a group of vikings across 5 different islands.

wii u boxart
Wii U Boxart

 Players may find Donkey Kong’s Wii U adventure slightly more difficult than New Super Mario Bros U and Super Mario 3D World.  The challenges presented in Tropical Freeze are some of the most difficult examples of good platforming I’ve played in a long time. One question that must be asked when writing a review is how does the Wii U make Donkey Kong better?


Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze plays like Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii. Tropical Freeze surpasses it’s predecessor by utilizing the Wii U’s extra horsepower to provide levels with more depth than ever before. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze adds to the gameplay by providing several new companions to assist Donkey Kong. Cranky Kong and Dixie Kong return as playable characters. Along with Diddy Kong, each companion gives Donkey Kong a different jump style. When buddied with Cranky for instance the player can utilize a Pogo stick bounce jump that makes getting over certain surfaces easier. The level design and flow are often centered around using the Kong family’s abilities to their max. As a traditional platformer, Retro’s work on Tropical Freeze provides many fine demonstrations of fun game-play. Fans of Donkey Kong Country Returns or the 16-bit DK games will appreciate the many twists  on the classic Donkey Kong formula, while enjoying the game’s many new surprises.  I have no problem admitting that I found the game very difficult. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is a very challenging game. This isn’t because the game is flawed or unfair. Retro & Nintendo spent tons of time planning out every inch of Tropical Freeze. The planned out scenarios and obstacles in Donkey Kong’s latest adventure are designed to test the skills of the most talented of gamers, or those with the most lives. So how does the difficulty compare to Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U? It only takes a few levels of game time before Tropical Freeze presents itself as the more difficult platformer to hit the Wii U.


donkey kong screenshotMaybe the biggest difference between Tropical Freeze and Donkey Kong Country Returns is the graphics. Retro really utilized the Wii U’s horsepower, by filling DK’s world with amazing life and personality. The graphics in Tropical Freeze are complimented by a high level of detail that really showcases Retro’s high quality standards. Little animations can be seen in the most insignificant objects. Water and bubble effects look amazing as does the games lighting effects. The charming world of Tropical Freeze contains all the explosive action of a Hollywood film, with many levels and areas having perfectly scripted environments & paths. Everything from boss battles to the classic mine cart stages explode on the Wii U making it one of the best looking experiences on the Wii U. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is a fine example of a fun game made better by the additional horsepower of the Wii U.


The music in Tropical Freeze really made me take notice. One song continues to get remixed throughout the game. Retro took the same background music and used it throughout most of the levels. It can take some time to notice though, with every version being craftily remixed. Overall I enjoyed the game’s music. Certain points in the game, like the boss battle with the polar bear had my heart racing with the sound of an electrified guitar melody. Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze also features a music player that’s made all the better because of the game’s great music. Different tracks can be unlocked and replayed in the extras screen of the game. Now Nintendo just needs to release a Club Nintendo CD soundtrack reward for the game!


Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze supports up to 2 players. Playing with a 2nd player does take some time to adjust. Some levels don’t feel totally designed around the idea of having 2 separate players. The 2nd player can piggyback on Donkey Kong at anytime. This makes getting through more trickier parts of the game easier when playing 2 player.


donkey kong level

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze will have you playing for a while. Getting all the games puzzle pieces and KONG letters will take hours of playthroughs. Along with many unlockables players will spend a great deal of time beating all the different states. I found myself stuck on several bosses for many lives. There are many secrets in Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze. Nintendo and Retro did a fine great job in providing Wii U owners with a huge – ‘Kong Sized’ – game, one that’s sure to entertain and amaze for a long time.


If you like Donkey Kong Country Returns you’re sure to love Tropical Freeze. Both games are cousins in how they handle. But the HD look and extra level depth puts Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze on-top for me. The world felt like Donkey Kong’s, not just an expression of a 16 bit DK generation. The new character and life expressed throughout the game’s 6 different islands makes this one of the Wii U’s best games yet.

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One Thought to “Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review”

  1. Best Donkey Kong game yet!

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