Gorillas in the mist.
Considering how much fun we had playing Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, perhaps Nintendo is on to something with porting Wii games to 3DS. Originally released on the console in 2010, DKCR's developers succeeded in rekindling fond memories from the Super Nintendo adventures. The transition could've been better, with slight performance issues and inferior graphics serving as a firm reminder of the underpowered handheld, but by and large, you can't go wrong making this purchase.
That said, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is essentially the Wii version, but with a handful of tweaks, most notably eight additional stages to master, along with a New Mode that allows players to cash in bananas for useful items, including more balloons (think lives) and a Crash Guard that makes the mine cart temporarily invincible. Opponents of Wii waggle will also praise Nintendo for dropping motion controls in favor of both the Circle and d-pads, both of which add necessary pinpoint precision. Glasses-free 3D is of course a staple, and this is certainly one of the best uses of it, thanks to enemies and debris that fly towards the screen.
Beyond the improvements, players will discover a plethora of quality levels filled with not only bananas, but also collectibles like puzzle pieces and letters that spell out words. That's part of what makes Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D one of the best values for the system, the desire to replay boards to find everything.
In addition, the game is significantly trickier than its competition. Speed running through levels will get players killed, so it's in their best interests to study enemy patterns while at the same time getting a handle on Donkey Kong's weight and athletic ability, lest they wind up plummeting into a pit or losing DK's right-hand ape, Diddy Kong, with the little guy giving his buddy valuable hovering ability to reach different platforms.
As we mentioned, cramming the Wii title onto the portable didn't happen without consequences. The game looks noticeably muddier on the 3DS screen, and occasional slowdown often appears at the worst moments. To be fair, though, neither of these complaints ruin the experience, and Nintendo fans would be wise to pick up Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D even if they own the console edition, as it's equally fun to play on the go.
Review code provided by Nintendo.
What's Hot:Quality platforming, no waggle controls, New Mode makes the game easier, eight new levels.
What's Not:Performance hiccups, less impressive visuals.