Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review

It deserves a gold banana

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Switch on

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is also available for Wii U

ESRB Everyone rating

DK has starred in some phenomenal 2D platformers over the years and his latest adventure is now available for Switch. So, quit monkeying around and let's head to the jungle and hang out with the Kongs.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze screenshot 1
What's DK got himself into this time?

Before starting the review, perhaps I should discuss just what this delightful game is. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze debuted a few years ago for Wii U and this Switch version is basically a port with some improved performance and a new Funky mode where you can play as Funky Kong or tone down the level of challenge as DK by granting him extra health. Funky Kong plays differently but he makes the game a bit too easy so stick to DK and you'll have a much more challenging and satisfying adventure. Anyway, if you already own it on Wii U then double-dipping by purchasing this Switch version as well might not be worth your money. However, if you are a hardcore fan then who could resist the ability to play this modern 2D platformer masterpiece on the go? Plus, it's a lot more Funky this time around if you catch my drift.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze screenshot 2
This level makes me want a big glass of juice

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is played like most 2D platformers and its controls are super-tight which makes running and jumping through the stages an absolute joy. Performing perfectly timed rolls to evade enemy attacks then pulling off a string of tricky jumps only to end up in a bonus room where you collect bananas and earn a cool prize is so exhilarating. On top of the platforming, there's a variety of stages that you'll find yourself within such as ones where you ride a perpetually moving mine cart, segments that have you try to navigate through tricky situations while holding onto a rocket barrel, underwater parts that are actually fun, and even levels where you can only see shadows. The amount of variety is superb and the stage designs are nothing short of brilliant.

Need a hand with a boss or two? Read my guide!

As I played through Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, I wrote an extensive boss guide for how to defeat each of the six bosses so if you ever get stuck then be sure to read it and you'll soon be the king of the jungle!

Although Funky Kong makes the difficulty a lot easier to deal with, there's no denying that this is still one brutally challenging platformer so if you're a casual gamer then some of the later stages may be too frustrating to be fun. However, if you're like me and love challenging 2D platformers, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze provides a perfect level of difficulty that's as satisfying as it is enjoyable.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze screenshot 3
I don't think that's physically possible...

Along with its tight and varied gameplay, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has some of the most gorgeous graphics in the genre. Every environment comes to life with unique themes, oodles of detail, and lively animation. The baddies and Kongs look amazing, too. This is one of the rare games where I actually enjoyed watching the cute little cutscenes. Seeing the cartoon quality animation and expressive characters will put a smile on anyone's face. Anyway, as you play, you're treated to a fantastic soundtrack from veteran game composer David Wise (who also scored Yooka-Laylee, Snake Pass, and Star Ghost) that'll keep your toes tapping.

If you're the sort of gamer who loves collecting everything in the games that they play then Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will provide at least a dozen hours of entertainment. As you traverse stages, you can collect letters to spell Kong as well as puzzle pieces. You'll also come across secret exits that grant you access to completely optional stages which is the most substantial bonus content. Heck, there are even relics that unlock a whole new island (named Secret Seclusion) once you collect them all. There are museum style items to collect, too, such as figurines, images, music, and dioramas. Even after you acquire all of those goodies, you can challenge each level again in Time Attack mode which adds a whole new challenge. In the end, there's a ton of things to see and do.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze screenshot 4
Awesome game! Let's play Donkey Konga next!

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a top-notch example of what a 2D platformer should be so if you missed out on it last generation, now's a fantastic time to finally enjoy it in all its potassium-rich glory.

  • + Super-tight 2D platforming within a variety of brilliantly designed stages
  • + Gorgeous graphics and spot-on sound
  • + Loads of replay value for perfectionists
  • - Probably not worth getting if you already own the Wii U version
  • - Casual gamers may find some of the levels to be extremely frustrating
9.1 out of 10
Gameplay video for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze 5:59
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