Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Review

Craig takes hold of our Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Review and goes ape …

While it seems that the start of 2018 is drowning the Switch in Wii U ports, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze would confirm.

What started with ports of Mario Kart 8 and both Bayonettas among others; the Switch’s library booster from the games that failed to make a dent when on the Wii U has seen them find a new audience and perhaps, in Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, we finally have the best of the bunch.

While Mario has taken the 2D platformer attention away from Donkey Kong, there’s no doubting the fact that the tie-wearing monkey’s games are undoubtedly top-notch and Tropical Freeze is no different.

Starting out with an army of ice wielding penguins marching onto Donkey Kong’s home turf, Tropical Freeze combines the warm nature of a tropical island and douses it with an icy presence throughout most of the levels. Creating a game that’s palette lends from both ends of the weather spectrum to create some truly unique looking and interesting designs, topped off with a wonderful graphical style that lends itself well. Having not played the original on the Wii U, it’s difficult to identify areas of improvement from that version, however, the Switch handles Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze superbly well, so much so that I never once encountered any type of technical issue whilst playing in either TV or handheld mode.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Review

Upon its release in 2014, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze received a reputation for being notoriously difficult in places, a fact that is still relevant today, with one major change. The addition of Funky Kong as a character means that you can play even if you’re not great at platformers. You can use his surfboard to easily traverse enemies, gaps and spikes, allowing you to get through the game with relative ease whilst being the coolest Kong as them all. The only caveat to all of this is that you can’t switch mid-game. So, if you’ve started the game as Donkey Kong, you must finish as the main monkey himself – you’ve got to commit to your Kong right from the get-go.

As you play, you’ll have the usual assortment of Donkey Kong’s moves, from pounding the ground to a rather heavy-feeling jump to vine grabbing and also everyone’s favourite: rhino riding.

You’ll also be able to team up with other Kongs throughout your adventure, with them giving you not just extra health but also added abilities. Dixie Kong can grant you a generous float to your jump, Diddy Kong provides a double jump, while Cranky Kong can let you pogo stick your way to the end of the level. You can choose which Kong you’d like to smash out of the barrel and you’ll pick a different one depending on the section you’re facing. There were many examples where I found myself dying, being taken back to the area where I had to choose a companion and then choose the one which most suited that section; allowing me to traverse it in a better way.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze

It’s possible to clear any part of a level with any companion or on your own but for an area that’s filled with spikes, Cranky Kong would be the way to go as his pogo stick means you’re unaffected by them, while Diddy Kong or Dixie Kong might be better to traverse jumps with a perilous gap in between them.

After you’ve taken the time to beat all of the game’s stages – which is likely to take between 10 to 15 hours – you’ll find a plethora of collectables to go back and collect which can take your total playtime up to anywhere between 20 and 30 hours. It’s stage design also means that it’s perfect for taking on the go, a stage or two between waiting for buses or trains can easily be achieved.

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze Review Conclusion

Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is one of the premiere platformers that’s released in the past decade and it’s move to Switch is a welcome one. Despite a higher than normal difficulty level, it excels in most areas to present a game that currently stands as one of the best on the Switch.


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