This week must unofficially be “porting week” among video game publishers; first, Resident Evil: Revelations moves from 3DS to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and now Donkey Kong Country Returns moves from the Wii to the 3DS. However, unlike Resident Evil: Revelations‘ sub-standard porting job, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is an example of a port done right. Not only will you get the full game as it was on the Wii but you’ll also get additions and improvements that make Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D the definitive version of an already excellent game.
If you’ve played Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, the experience is mostly the same on the 3DS. You’ll take control of Donkey Kong in over 60 levels of platforming bliss with plenty of secrets to uncover along the way. In a welcome change, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a difficult game; don’t expect to blow the game in one sitting like with previous Mario games.
To help relegate the difficulty for novice players, a new mode, aptly titled “New Mode,” has been added to the game. This mode increases the number of hits you can take along with increasing the amount of power-up items you can equip before the start of a level. While the game is still difficult even with these advantages, it gives novice gamers a fighting chance. If you were frustrated with Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii due to the difficulty, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is for you.
For seasoned Donkey Kong Country Returns players, Nintendo throws in a brand new world with eight difficult levels to entice you to make a return trip to the island. These levels are among the best in the game and, quite honestly, make the game worth a purchase and a playthrough even if you already own the original.
One complaint about the original game was the controls, as rolling and ground-pounding were activated by shaking the Wiimote. Not only was this unnecessary, it was dangerous: as an ill-timed roll, or lack thereof, due to the motion sensing hardware could cause your death. In Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, such actions are mapped to one button, giving you the precise movement that a platformer requires. Additionally, the game enables you to use either the directional pad or the circle pad for movement depending on whichever you find more comfortable.
Sadly, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D does feature a downside, though it is to be expected: the game is not graphically up to par with the Wii version and features a lower framerate. While it’s unlikely most gamers will ever notice, some textures lack the crispness they had on the Wii; however, this is due to the fact that the Wii was simply a more powerful system than the 3DS and, all things considered, the game does look amazing on the smaller screen.
If you’ve never played Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a system seller; you should be first in line to buy it when it releases on May 26th, 2013. If you’ve played the game before, a purchase depends on how much you loved it and whether the improved controls, new levels and optional reduced difficulty are worth going bananas over and buying the game a second time.