Nintendo previously tried this crazy idea of putting Retro Studios into their Donkey Kong, and created the masterpiece of platforming called Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. It was not only a return to a highly praised series by famed developer Rare during the SNES era, but a love letter to anyone who likes to jump on enemies and platforms. Retro proved they know how video games work, and why they're fun to play.
But, as it turns out, Retro wasn't finished with the hairy ape! Because of this, we'll soon be graced with more Donkey Kong action in the form of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. At first glance it may seem to be more of the same, and that's because it mostly is. Don't let that make you think you should skip this one then, as that is a compliment. Video game sequels don't always have to be complete overhauls, sometimes all they have to be is Mega Man 2 or Super Mario Galaxy 2.
While Tropical Freeze is largely familiar, the improvements are there; the graphical leap once again standing out immediately. Donkey Kong's island has never been more active and felt as alive, with backgrounds filled with lush jungles, waterfalls, and more. DK and his buddy Diddy, also received some nice touches and look even more furry thanks to the power behind the Wii U. Just as other so far Nintendo franchises to debut on the Wii U, Tropical Freeze has an excellent overall polish that gives the game much more oomph.
On the gameplay side, we saw more of the classic platforming action, with DK and Diddy leaping over ledges and bouncing off of critters, leaving the same crisp sound effects we've come to expect in Retro's games. But as Retro explained, there were ideas they wouldn't to implement here that didn't reach Returns. One subtle addition being the new camera. While Returns stayed strictly 2D with minimal movements here and there, Tropical Freeze has a very dynamic camera which will pan along, and change perspective during all the action. DK also learned from Mario and can now pick up stunned enemies to chuck them as a fuzzy weapon. His huge arms also allow him to pull up objects (maybe turnips in the final version, too!), which will surely lead to exciting new puzzle mechanics.
A big feature is the return of underwater levels, which Returns completely lacked. We were given a quick tease of DK diving headfirst into water, leaving speculation of what Retro can do with underwater gameplay for the Country series. This also directly correlates with David Wise's musical genius supplying the soundtrack to Tropical Freeze, who scored the original Rare series.
As was the same for Returns, Tropical Freeze will feature its own set of villains, this time being vikings. Yes, we'll finally see cuddly animals dressed in viking gear. Thank you Retro Studios. At the very end of the trailer we see DK and Diddy taking on a giant seal donning a viking helmet, then preceding to belly slide at them in a half pipe arena. Here's my money Nintendo, take it.
Finally, but certainly not least, was Dixie Kong's confirmation as a playable kong for this adventure. She seems to retain her skills from her first appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2, but may possibly also acquire new skills as well like her friends.
Overall, Tropical Freeze appears to be another Retro Studios hit, offering more of the same fantastic platforming, memorable music, and quirky setting that only Donkey Kong could supply. Nintendo has this one primed for November of this year, and will be another title to bolster the Wii U's already promising lineup for this holiday. Welcome to High Definiton Donkey Kong!