I’ve played many different Donkey Kong Country games throughout the years and I’ve played many different versions of those games. Sadly, I feel as though this is, by far, the worst Donkey Kong Country experience of them all – and I include the Donkey Kong Land games in that. Ultimately, it is a remake of the original Donkey Kong Country and so it retains some of its qualities, meaning it’s not all bad. I’d recommend you read my original review first, then I’ll cover the changes in this version here. In the name of positivity, let’s start with its strengths:
- Though, as a Game Boy Colour game, it is graphically and audible inferior to the SNES original in a technical sense, for me it was nice to see the whole game reimagined through the lens of the GBC limitations.
- There’s a brand new level in the final world called Necky Nutmare. I will never not be happy with new Donkey Kong Country levels.
- A new mini-game called Funky’s Fishing is included. In it, you ride on Enguarde as you try to catch fish out of the ocean. There’s a timer that goes down constantly, but each new catch gets more time added on, so you can keep going as much as possible. Weirdly, DK was given his voice from Donkey Kong 64 for this and so says “cool” (but in a horribly, horribly distorted way) all the time.
- There are also a selection of Coconut Gun themed levels, which have you shooting targets to achieve certain tasks. These are probably the best new thing in this version of the game. My favourite was kind of like a remake of Manhole, but with Donkey Kong characters. Sadly, I got stuck with these as one of them was not colour blind-friendly.
- The game automatically saves all the time now, instead of needing to visit Candy Kong to do so. Visiting her now gives you a little bonus game instead – most of which are fine, but highly inconsequential.
- Donkey and Diddy don’t appear on-screen at the same time anymore, so it can be harder to remember if you still have them both or not.
- Opening an Animal Crate now transforms you into that Animal Buddy. If you get hit, they disappear and you turn back into a Kong with no way to get them back.
- Now, the biggest the biggest problem: the controls are bad. It might just be because I have so much experience of playing the original iterations, but the timing of everything felt off. I ended up dying again and again because of this. The jumping physics have changed and are inferior – often when I felt I should have bounced off an enemy’s head, I landed right in front of it, got hit and died. Other issues stem from not being able to see so far ahead of you anymore. I often got stuck for a long time on levels I knew I could normally win easily. It’s almost impressive that they managed to take one of my all-time favourite games and make it a chore to play.
So, while the Donkey Kong Country charm is still in there (just about) this game’s flaws heavily outweigh it.