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E3 2013 Preview: Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

When we learned that Retro Studios was working on something other than the DS port of Donkey Kong Country Returns, we thought that they would be bringing us a new Metroid Prime title or something like that. Nope! Turns out they were just working on the new Wii U Donkey Kong instead. E3 2013 gave us our first chance to try out Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.

The story is about what you would expect from a Donkey Kong game. Vikings from the north (by Vikings we mean penguins and seals), have invaded Donkey Kong’s island. Being that the island is so TROPICAL they decide to FREEZE it over so that it’s more habitable. You see what they did there?

As for the gameplay, it’s about what you would expect for a Donkey Kong title. It feels a lot like Donkey Kong Country Returns, and by that we mean it feels a lot like the original SNES games as well. Donkey has all of his moves from DKCR from the ground pound to the roll. The only move he doesn’t have is his blow, which has been replaced with a “pull” maneuver that lets him tug around platforms and alter the stage around him.

Diddy Kong also returns in Tropical Freeze, along with Dixie Kong as well. Both have their own move-sets which only slightly differ from Donkey Kong, usually in jump arc, attack move, and barrel throw arc. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same. As is the case in other Donkey Kong games, the Kongs all follow each other around on stage, with each hit knocking one away and locking him inside a barrel that you will have to break open later on. However, new to the series are bonuses that you get if you manage to keep all the Kongs alive at once. For example, Diddy and Dixie increase Donkey’s horizontal jump distance, making it a lot safer for him during platforming segments.

There is, admittedly, not much more to the game than that. Everything you would expect to be is here, from barrel cannons to mine-cart segments, to those frustrating underwater levels. Retro isn’t really re-inventing the wheel here. They are just bringing us a brand new chapter in a franchise that we already know and love, and that is all we really wanted. Nintendo really played it safe at this year’s E3, and they were better off for it.’

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is scheduled to come out sometime in November 2013 for the Wii U.

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