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REVIEW – Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

REVIEW – Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

by Jeremy HardinOctober 17, 2013

Game review by Jeremy Hardin


Game – Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
Version – 3DS eShop
Price -$39.99
Rating – E for Everyone
Obtained – Review Code courtesy of Nintendo

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is an enhanced version of the critically-acclaimed 2010 original, Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo Wii.  The original version entertained and challenged gamers back in 2010, so how does the 3D version fare less than 3 years later?

Story and Plot

Our story begins with the violent eruption of a volcano on Donkey Kong Island.  The eruption releases the Tiki Tak Tribe, who then invade the jungle and hypnotize all the animals into carrying away every last banana.  When Donkey Kong looked outside to see his precious food being carted away, he went ape! Darting out of his home, he set off to defeat the Tiki Tak Tribe and reclaim his favorite snack.  The story is presented in a humorous manner and sets the tone for the rest of the game, both of which I enjoyed.

Gameplay and Controls

Players take control of Donkey Kong (or in the case of local-multiplayer, one can also choose to play as Diddy Kong) as he runs, jumps, rolls, and pounds his way through the various locales of Donkey Kong Island.  Your objective is to make your way through the scores of enemies and hazards, collecting as many bananas as you can, before reaching the goal at the end.  At the end of each world you’ll face off against a formidable foe in the form of a boss, who just so happens to be under hypnosis by one of the Tiki Tak Tribe.  After you defeat the boss, you’ll get to throw a couple of good punches to the dazed Tiki Tak goon and send him flying.  You’ll rinse and repeat this cycle through 9 worlds of intense platforming fun. Yes, you read that right. The original Wii version had 8 worlds, whereas the 3DS version has an extra world, thus the 9 worlds.

The levels vary greatly in design and challenge.  Most levels are traversed on foot as you run, jump, swing and blast out of barrels towards the goal, but occasionally you’ll play through levels where you take control of a minecart or rocket barrel.  These latter levels are infrequent, but always challenging.


Helping you along the way is your old pal Diddy Kong who, as always, makes his appearance when you release him from his barrel.  Diddy Kong offers invaluable assistance as he provides a jetpack to help you hover over long distances.  More importantly, Diddy extends your life by 3 extra hearts, easing the stress and tension you’ll undoubtedly experience in the later levels.  If that wasn’t enough, Cranky Kong is back with his shop, and a heap of helpful items for purchase.  You can buy multiple quantities of red balloons, which are the same as lives, a green balloon that can sometimes save you from a fall, temporary invincibility potions for either yourself or for your minecart in those pesky on-rails levels.  Plus, you can even buy an extra heart, a key to open a locked path on the map, a parrot to help find puzzle piece collectibles, and finally, a DK barrel which can be used at any time.  Phew.  That’s a lot of stuff!

Certainly worth mentioning is the inclusion of the Super Guide, which is something that Nintendo implemented in certain games over the last couple of years.  If you die enough times in a level, your checkpoint pig – don’t ask, just play the game – will tell you to press Start to activate Super Guide.  Super Guide is a silver-back version of Donkey Kong who shows you how to play through the level successfully.  This can be useful in two ways.  One, you can see how to pass a particularly difficult section of the level, to which you can then cancel the guide and play it yourself with your new found knowledge.  Two, you can use the guide to bypass the level for you and move onto the next.  Just keep in mind that anything the guide collects during the auto play-through, will not count towards your totals.

Modes and Extras

There are two modes of gameplay – New and Original.  Original is true to the Wii version (being the more difficult of the two), while New mode starts DK off with 3 hearts by default, plus, as previously mentioned, there are more items available for purchase at Cranky’s shop.  Since I never played the original, yet heard how difficult it could be, I chose New mode and found the difficulty to be just right.  In addition to these two modes, you also have the option to try Time Attack for each level, in which you can race against the clock to earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal.  What really makes Time Attack appealing is that your latest replay is saved, so you can watch it to see how you can improve for your next run.

There are a good amount of unlockables to obtain in the form of galleries, of which there are images, music, diorama, and movies.  In order to unlock each extra you’ll need to collect puzzle pieces hidden throughout each level and defeat boss monsters.  There are a few dozen in all to unlock and they are well worth the challenge.

Graphics and Sound

The visuals are incredibly detailed and look amazing.  There is so much going in the main plane, but even in the background as well.  Plus, the 3D effect looks great.  Being shot out of barrels at the screen, or having butterflies flutter towards the screen, whatever the case may be, in 3D it looks great.  The themed levels look great as well and you’ll feel as though you’re really in a jungle, on the beach, or in a factory.  Complimenting the visuals is the ambient audio.  Every track, every noise all go together so well.  The only negative point is one that didn’t actually affect me, but I feel I should mention, is the framerate.  From what I’ve read, DKCR3D runs at 30 FPS, whereas the original on Wii ran at a full 60 FPS.  Honestly, I don’t care.  The game looks great, I had fun, and that’s all that matters to me.


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Final Score: 10 out of 10

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is packed with challenge, content, charm, and above all, fun.  Oh, and bananas too.  This game has a lot of bananas.  If this sounds appealing to you, do yourself a favor and download a copy today.

+Impressive visuals/3D
+Multiplayer (Local)
+Extensive amount of content

-30 FPS instead of 60 FPS




About The Author
Jeremy Hardin
Jeremy's love of gaming, especially Nintendo started in the late 80's when his parents bought him and his older brother an NES. Many hours were spent playing Mario and Duck Hunt. Eventually Jeremy graduated to bigger and better games and systems, like the SNES, GC, Wii, 3DS, and finally to the Wii U. Ask him what the defining moment of his childhood gaming was and he'll answer, "the day I beat Zelda 2." To this day that game holds a special place in his heart. His favorite types of games are platformers. Jeremy started blogging for NintendoFuse in October 2010. He started off as a lurker on the forums who won a free copy of And Yet It Moves on WiiWare. From there he realized he liked the forums and the site and wanted to remain a part of it. He was brought on board shortly thereafter and has helped post news and reviews for the past couple of years. Currently Jeremy has taken a step back to focus on family and school. He assists in minor back-end site maintenance from time to time.

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