Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Personally, I always prefer handheld games over home console ones. I’m not sure what it is. I just prefer the cosiness of having it in your hand and being able to play wherever you want. It’s simple and convenient. It’s not that I think that the quality of handheld titles is inherently higher though, because when a game comes out on a handheld for the first time, after being home console exclusive, I usually become more invested than I was when it was simply on a console. However, when Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D came out, I had barely just finished the original and wasn’t too keen to pay full price just to have it again. Fortunately, I recently bought it on sale and I loved it. Here’s a list of all the changes you’ll find in it:

The Good Changes

  • The control scheme now contains no motion controls. While I don’t really mind the use of the Wii Remote in the original, I can’t deny that simple button presses suit the gameplay much more. Rolling in particular is now a lot easier.
  • A whole new world has been added and it’s a good one. This means that you get nine new levels. Each one takes inspiration from one of the game’s earlier worlds (so there’s a new jungle level, a new beach level, a new volcano level etc.) and though I wish they could have been slightly more original, I also felt that these were some of the most enjoyable levels in the game. I may be biased, because I would have been excited to get some new Donkey Kong Country content (while earlier worlds didn’t have that factor) but there are some very nice level designs there. For example, one level has you going through a factory and assembling a giant robot, another has you launching yourself through the air with geysers.
  • A ‘New Mode’ has been added to the game. I didn’t feel that this was necessary, but what this does is makes the game a little easier and I’m happy to admit that this game can be awfully tricky sometimes. With New Mode, you get more hearts and new, helpful items in Cranky’s shop. I know some people have given up on this game because it’s too hard, so these additions will help make it more accessible.
  • From a historical point of view, it’s interesting to view this as the step between Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The items introduced in New Mode and many of the concepts in the extra world would return in Tropical Freeze the following year and that’s something I find fascinating.

Bad Changes:

  • Overall, the visual quality has been noticeably diminished. Things are much blurrier and less detailed than they were in the original. If you play this version first, it won’t come across as bad, but if you played the original, you’ll notice the decline.
  • Loading screens are also less animated now, which makes them a little more boring to look at.

As is often the case with video game remakes, the good largely outweighs the bad. If somebody were to ask me which of the two versions they should buy (with the intention of only ever getting one) then I would advise them to get this one. The small ways in which it is inferior are ultimately quite inconsequential – but I really love the improvements. As it tends to be pretty cheap these days, if you have a 3DS, I recommend it!

Rating: 9.5/10

Buy it here.

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