Review: Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

Of all the games to make it over to the Switch from the Wii U Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was definitely high on our list. This was one of the best platforming games to come out for the Wii U and bringing it over to the Switch to the millions of gamers that never owned a Wii U was a no-brainer. Back when it was first released in February of 2014 it received many nominations for game of the year with many publications praising it for its challenge and level design.

The game is essentially the same as it’s Wii U version with only some minor changes and improvements. The most notable change is the inclusion of a new character, Funky Kong, who is one of Donkey Kong’s friends. Funky Kong acts as an easy mode type character as he has a few move sets that make him better than the other characters. For starters, he has a surfboard that he can use to double jump. This becomes useful when trying to get those tough to get KONG letters or simply to beat an enemy. He can even glide in the air, making it easier to land on enemies or reach hard to get platforms. He can perform infinite roles and infinite underwater corkscrews and can even land on spikes without getting hurt. Oh and he also comes with an extra heart. While he isn’t the best character to use for those wanting a challenge he becomes super useful when you get stuck in any hard parts or for those that are beginners to the platforming genre.

One of the more welcome changes to the game is the loading screens. One of my biggest gripes with the Wii U version was waiting so long for the game to boot up or to play the next level. The Switch version fixes that as the loading screens are fast and, in my estimation, are less than half as long as the Wii U version. Another small and less noticeable difference is the sharper graphics and resolution. The game is slightly more crisp than the Wii U version.

With regards to the game, what else is there to say that wasn’t already said four years ago? It is one of my favorite games for the Wii U. The level designs are second to none with six worlds to play in and a seventh, more challenging world, to unlock. Each level is unique and offers its own set of challenges. The most enthralling levels are the ones that contain the switch from 2D to 3D  when shooting out of barrels. These action sequences are exhilarating and timing is key as you need to make sure you reach the other barrel when you get shot out of one. Also exciting are the mine cart levels that have you riding a cart that moves non-stop with the objective being to not fall or get killed. These are a staple of any Donkey Kong game and keep the pace fast and nerve-racking as you wonder what is beyond the next corner.

If you never picked up a copy of this game for the Wii U then it is a definite must-have. Its level designs and constantly changing landscapes will always keep it fresh and the cast of characters with their different move sets that you get to play with, Funky Kong now included, keep the platforming element fun. If you have previously played this game for the Wii U then the small changes made to the game do not warrant another purchase. Whatever the case, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze is an incredible game and it is nice to see it join the Switch library.


[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes]