Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze originally released on the Nintendo Wii U in 2014. It had decent sales but with the low sales of the Nintendo Wii U, the game didn't see its fair share of success. That is why Nintendo decided to bring the game to their new more successful console the Nintendo Switch. As Nintendo is deciding to do with many of their old Wii U successes, they want to see a new life for those great games on a more successful console. Nintendo has already seen more success with the re-release of Mario Kart 8: Deluxe than the Mario Kart 8 on Wii U.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was on the top of many people's list for games to be ported to the Nintendo Switch. The game didn't see much success and they needed to get it out to a larger audience. The game itself is a solid platformer and is one of the best 2-D platformers of this generation. It takes inspiration from classic Super Nintendo platformers like Super Mario World and of course, its predecessor the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. These are solid games to pull inspiration from and Retro Studios did a great job reimagining these platforming classics.
With the game finally coming to the Nintendo Switch did Nintendo fix some of the things that plagued the original or is this just a bare-bones port? You'll find out as we dive into 25 of the worst things about the ported version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
25 Just A Port
When we take a look at Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze from a distance it looks like a solid 2D platformer and a nice entry to the Switch's library. To many people, it is the first time they will play it so from that retrospect this is a great pickup. However, for anyone who played this when it was out on the Wii U, there isn't much of a reason to pick this title up again. That's of course without Nintendo trying to push new features to old players. However, with the price tag (which we'll talk about later) and the lack of features, this is just a port, unfortunately.
The game will see much more success being on the Switch than it did on the Wii U, but we can't shake the feeling that this should have been the third game in the rebooted Donkey Kong Country series. With this coming out on the Switch it may confirm that Retro won't be working on a new Donkey Kong Country and it may spell the fact that we won't see another Donkey Kong Country game for a few years, or even in the Switch's lifetime.
24 Is Funky Mode Enough To Save The Game?
The newest edition to move copies of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Switch is the addition of a new kong known as Funky Kong. Funky Kong has been a staple helper kong in the series ever since the first Donkey Kong Country back on the Super Nintendo. Now he is here as a playable character. That's not to say he didn't have a place in the game already as a shop owner where players could purchase upgrades and extra lives from him on their adventure. Funky Mode brings a new play mode to the game.
Players have nicknamed this mode 'easy mode' as it grants the player with an easy way to traverse the difficult levels.
Funky is the strongest kongs rocking 5 lives and has a surfboard that helps him float in the air, perform double jumps, and walk on spikes. Funky also has an infinite roll mechanic that can be utilized to help speedrunners get through the game even quicker. We can't wait to see the Funky category at SGDQ (Summer Games Done Quick). With all of this said Funky Kong may not be enough to justify the port of the game and the hefty price tag.
23 Too Many Ports
The Nintendo Switch is quickly becoming a port machine. This means that the majority of games that are coming out on the Nintendo Switch are ports. The latest release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is proof of this mindset Nintendo has. This isn't a bad strategy for Nintendo's market but for hardcore Nintendo fans, this can be frustrating as they supported Nintendo when these games originally released.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is an example of Nintendo trying to add in additional content to get the people who originally bought the game on the Wii U to purchase the game again on the Nintendo Switch by adding in additional modes.
Often these modes aren't worth the price tag and the original releases of the game can be found for over half of the re-releases price. Nintendo will have to perform a balancing act of new and old games if it wants to maintain a substantial player base from hardcore Nintendo fans who played on the Nintendo Wii U.
22 Graphics Upgrade Or Downgrade?
Typically when we see games being ported to the Nintendo Switch we see similar graphics and models being used as they already have the assets and they can save on animation costs. However, sometimes companies will try to add extra detail in small areas to make the game seem like it looks better on the re-release. This is to add a little extra bang for the customer's buck and is a way to better utilize the new system's power.
A few images were taken from the Wii U version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and the Nintendo Switch version showing them side by side.
The differences are a bit concerning, to say the least.
The one on the images show stills of Donkey Kong standing idle at the beginning of a level. The images show the amount of detail in Donkey Kong's fur has drastically decreased to the Nintendo Switch version of the game. The changes don't stop at Donkey Kong's fur as he has a whole change in the face as well. These details aren't super noticeable but a weird downgrade nonetheless.
21 Easy Mode May Ruin The Game Overall
When Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze first released it got slammed for having harder levels that were too challenging for casual players. By introducing the new character Funky Kong, the developers hoped to fix this issue from the first release. However, they may have gone a bit overboard. As mentioned before Funky Kong has a bunch of new moves that put him far above the other Kongs.
Funky's unique move-set includes 5 hearts, a surfboard which helps him gains an extra jump, a hover mode, and the ability to walk on spikes.
He also has an infinite rolling mechanic which can be used to get through levels at high speeds. Sure this move can be used to complete cool speed runs but the Funky mechanic is there to help players through the game at an easier pace. This takes away from some of the game's old-school charm. These old school games that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is inspired from made difficulty fun and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze doesn't skimp on this idea. Now with the inclusion of Funky Kong easy mode, it seems like the harder level designs won't be played to their fullest potential.
20 Where Is The Third Donkey Kong Game?
Many people were waiting for the announcement of a third Donkey Kong game in the line of the rebooted Donkey Kong Country series. The first game in the series released on the Nintendo Wii under the title Donkey Kong Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze released a few years later on the Wii U. The Switch was the next in line and many were waiting for a Nintendo Direct announcement or an E3 announcement of a third game in the line of games.
This isn't to say that we won't get a third Donkey Kong Country game on the reboot of the series it just stands to suggest that it won't be announced or released anytime soon.
It's likely if Nintendo were going to release a third game in the Donkey Kong Country rebooted series they would have released this game to hype that game up or they would have bundled the two to create more sales for the game. The third Donkey Kong Country game most likely won't see itself on the Switch but if it does we predict it will be towards the end of the Switch's life-cycle.
19 The Over-saturation of 2D Platformers
Nintendo has always been keen to include a hefty number of 2D platforming games on their consoles. This is to rejuvenate the old ways of the NES and SNES systems and their games which were very successful. Nintendo has seen even more success by rebooting the Super Mario Bros. series with a mainline string of Mario 2D platforming games that released on the Nintendo Wii, Wii U, and 3DS systems. Since then they've taken that same concept and applied it to Donkey Kong, Kirby, Yoshi, and many more classics.
However, with this comes the question of: Can there be too many 2D platformers on the Nintendo Switch?
This answer may vary from person to person but to the average Nintendo Switch consumer, the 2018 lineup of Switch exclusive games may seem a little too oversaturated in the platformer department. With the release of Kirby Star Allies earlier this year then the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and a new Yoshi game coming out later this year it seems Nintendo is really pushing 2D platformers hard. Likely Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will be the game to burn out consumers on 2D platformers as it's a summer release.
18 You Can't Teach Old Kongs New Tricks
The inclusion of a new Kong character may spell the end for the already implemented characters in the game. Funky Kong is a character that takes all the other Kong's abilities and crams them into one undefeatable playable character. This means that the inclusion of the other Kong's (besides multiplayer) is pointless. Diddy Kong has a jetpack ability that helps Donkey Kong hover across larger gaps. Now Funky Kong can just surf over gaps with his surfboard.
Dixie Kong is also present in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and presents an ability in which she can lift Donkey Kong higher in the air for a few seconds. Funky Kong now has an added double jump feature which eliminates the need for Dixie Kong's hair twirl. Then there is Cranky Kong. He has an ability that mimics Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales where he uses his cane to hop on enemies and on spikes. This, of course, is once again replaced by Funky Kong's surfboard which he can use to stand on spikes. Not to say nobody will play as the supporting Kongs but it's more likely players will gravitate more towards Funky Kong because he has all the abilities as opposed to just one. Picking the different kongs allowed for diversity and new strategies to attacking different levels. Now players can just zoom through the game on Funky's surfboard.
17 Difficult Game For New Audiences
While many people will definitely gravitate towards Funky Kong some players will still stick with the original cast. This will present a higher difficulty for new players. Also, more casual players will still have a difficult time completing levels with Funky Kong. Funky Kong has abilities to avoid most dangers however the biggest threat that is presented towards Funky Kong is pits. Funky still has the ability to fall into pits which will spell the end for Funky Kong in a second.
With the added bonus that Funky Kong can move fast, it can present more danger in the segmented levels.
As mentioned before the original release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze received lower review scores because of its difficulty. Many people think that the difficulty was unwarranted and not in the player's favor. This came from professional game journalists so a casual player picking up this game for their Switch library may find the game too difficult to play through much less like. Not to say these levels are bad or the game suffers from its difficulty (mostly). The later game presents players with harder levels that will test their patience which harkens back to the classic Super Nintendo platformers.
16 No New Story
With a re-release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Nintendo Switch, many fans weren't expecting too much of a change to the gameplay or story. However, no new edition to the game's story or gameplay may be disappointing to players who have already played Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Wii U. Especially with the edition of Funky Kong into the cast of Kongs Nintendo could have at least included an introductory cutscene to the character.
With the amazing cinematic opening and ending to the game, we wanted to see more of what Nintendo could do with pre-rendered cutscenes.
Not to say the story for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is bad in any way, quite the opposite. Many found the story in Donkey Kong Returns on the Nintendo Wii to be lackluster in the story department, so the refreshing enemy variety that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze presented offered players with a story that they could actually care about. The ice Viking enemies may not be the classic Kremlings we remember from back in the day but they are a great replacement for the time being. Here's to hoping they may return in the third game!
15 Bonus Levels/Bonus World?
With the lack of story for the re-release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze comes people noticing that there aren't any new gameplay elements such as additional levels or additional worlds to explore. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has plenty of levels to explore and additional secret levels if you collect all of the secrets required to unlock them. However, the lack of any new worlds to help sell the game seems weird on Nintendo's behalf.
The players who already experienced this great adventure have nothing new to come back to on this port.
An addition of an extra bonus world would have been nice. They could have included more difficult levels and made it hidden behind another collectible that more skilled players who have already played the game on the Wii U would know where to find them due to their familiarity with the levels and the game itself. The difficult levels could present a greater challenge unlike anyone has seen in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze yet. With the inclusion of a new boss for the bonus world, Nintendo could have possibly sold the game to more people who played it on the Wii U.
14 Playing Portable Will Be Difficult
The Nintendo Switch is one of Nintendo's greatest inventions in their console history. The system is a home console/portable console hybrid that works excellently. Nintendo has always been gimmicky with the Nintendo Wii presenting motion controls and the Nintendo Wii U presenting a detachable second screen. With the Nintendo Switch, it seems like Nintendo finally took a step in the right direction with their gimmicky console design.
Now players can take their home console grade games on the go.
However, this has presented a problem in the past with certain games. Some games are presented on the Switch with lower graphics and smaller proportions that make it harder to see what is going on with the game on the screen. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has a lot of entities on the screen at once and it can be hard for people to focus on what is going on. Not to mention that many of the levels present a higher skill required to get past gaps and enemies this could be hard if you are playing on a smaller screen that isn't your home TV. It is also worth noting that multiplayer is hard enough on a huge TV. Trying to keep up with several characters can quickly become disorienting and this problem definitely isn't fixed by playing on a smaller screen.
13 The Price Tag
The price tag is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for Nintendo Switch is it's the biggest downfall when it comes to sales. The main reason is the game is still available on Wii U and goes for a total retail price of twenty dollars. Nintendo has addressed this problem by trying to remove all Wii U copies of the game off store shelves in order to try and sell more copies of the overpriced Nintendo Switch port. Nintendo tries to justify this price by adding in the new Funky mode but it isn't worth the extra forty dollars for an extra character.
Many people wouldn't have a problem paying this price if they've never played the game, however, for people who have played the game before the sixty dollar price tag is a bit much.
Nintendo could have had a deal where if players played the original they could discount the price of the port. Nintendo holds the Nintendo Switch high which means many of its first-party games rarely go on sale and it's third-party indie games are typically up to seventy-five percent more than their PC counterparts. Fans of the Switch have titled this the "Switch tax". This tax is the added price of being able to play these games on the go with the Switch's mobile ability. Nintendo has fully supported this "Switch tax" as apparent by the price of their first party games.
12 More Multiplayer?
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a great multiplayer game. It is the definitive way to play any Donkey Kong Country game with other people. They finally figured out how to have two players on the same screen which is something they couldn't figure out when the original trilogy released on the Super Nintendo. Now that they have this ability why not up the ante to four players on the screen at once. Many may think that this is too much for the game to process but New Super Mario Bros. Wii succeeded in this almost a decade ago.
There are certainly enough kongs to warrant added multiplayer especially with the addition of Funky Kong.
The Nintendo Switch has promoted multiplayer from the beginning. The system comes with two controllers built in which is genius. Nintendo is trying to breathe life back into the couch multiplayer in an arena where online multiplayer thrives. Sure they could definitely use some work on their online multiplayer but they definitely have couch co-op down to a science. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has the capability to have up to four people and the level design complements playing with multiplayer in the first place.
11 What's Next For Donkey Kong?
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was a phenomenal platformer, so much so that it left us wanting more. Many fans of the series are asking what is next for the Donkey Kong Country series or the Donkey Kong IP in general. Sadly with the port of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Nintendo Switch that answer may be further away than we originally thought. Could Nintendo be in the works for a third game in the rebooted series?
They could also possibly be working on a new 3D Donkey Kong game by the likes of Donkey Kong 64 released on the Nintendo 64.
The developer studio behind the first two Donkey Kong Country games, Retro Studios, has been silent as to what they have been working on since the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Many people are expecting and hoping to hear news of what they have been working at E3 2018. Many people speculate that they are behind the new Metroid Prime game coming out on the Switch later in its lifetime. Retro was known to have worked on Metroid Other M on the Nintendo Wii. Perhaps they've moved on and are taking on the revival of other Nintendo IPs like Star Fox or F-Zero. Time will only tell.
10 Performance In Handheld Mode
As stated before it is hard to tell if the Nintendo Switch took a hit in the graphics department when playing on the TV. However, the game's visuals definitely took a dip when it performs on the handheld version of the game. Like most games Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze takes a dip in the frame-rate it runs at and the overall quality of the visuals when it's played on the handheld.
This can be frustrating especially when the game looks as gorgeous as Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze does.
As mentioned before Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze can be difficult to play on the go but even more when the visuals take a dip. The game runs fine with it's locked framerate but a few players have reported dips in framerate that caused them to fall off ledges or run into enemies. Obviously, the game can't run perfectly on the tablet because it's a feat that it runs at all looking as good as it does. However, the tablet takes a hard hit in the graphics department and many would recommend just keeping the game docked to experience all of the great visuals the game has to offer.
9 Does This Spell The End For Retro And Donkey Kong's Relationship?
As mentioned before the first three Donkey Kong Country games in the rebooted series were made by third-party developers Retro Studios. Now that we have a port of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze it may spell the end for Retro working on a new Donkey Kong Country game. Nobody knows what they are working on next and they've been pretty quiet since the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. As mentioned before they have been rumored to be working on another one of Nintendo's classic IP such as Star Fox or F-Zero. Of course, these are just rumors and fans hoping for the best.
Another fan theory that we've already briefly mentioned is Retro Studios taking on a new 3D Donkey Kong platformer. Donkey Kong 64 did well on the Nintendo 64 and with the revival of classic 3D platformers like Super Mario Odyssey and Yooka Laylee Nintendo most likely wants to keep the hype train around 3D platformers rolling through into 2019. We wouldn't be surprised to hear of a new 3D platformer collecta-thon type game coming from a third party Nintendo company like Retro in the near future.
8 The Checkpoint Problem Wasn't Fixed
As mentioned before upon its original release Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was hit with criticism due to its hard difficulty curves throughout the different worlds and levels. However, this criticism stemmed from a lot of people and game critics faulting the checkpoint system. The main complaint was that the checkpoint system was too sporadic and random.
Checkpoints would be placed way too early in the level leaving the player to complete over half of a challenging stage in one life.
Upon reaching later levels in World 4 and World 5 the checkpoints become strangely frustrating when they don't need to be. Many players will find themselves saying to themselves "why isn't there a checkpoint here?" The checkpoint system in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze seems to be more like a troll building a hard to beat Mario Maker level. Other than the checkpoints the difficulty in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze seems to be balanced except when the difficulty revolves around repetition due to spotty checkpoint systems. They didn't seem to want to fix this in the port either so new players will have to suffer from the fate as the original players.
7 You Still Can't Switch Donkey Kong Out
Donkey Kong is the main playable character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. He is the all-around character built with the ability to jump, climb, and roll. However, he is still a large kong and when it comes to maneuvering the levels he definitely isn't the fastest or the most useful. When Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze originally released players were disappointed that you couldn't combine any number of Kongs and had to pick between who would assist Donkey Kong.
Many people preferred the fast type of gameplay present in the classic Donkey Kong Diddy Kong's Quest when the character could take control of Diddy or Dixie Kong. These characters are much faster than Donkey Kong and presented a smoother gameplay type compared to the other two games which featured larger slower characters. Therefore in this game players were disappointed to find that you couldn't take the tag team duo of Diddy and Dixie out at the same time. The port offers the player to replace Donkey Kong with Funky Kong but that is the only way to rid the game of the big bulky Donkey Kong. Mix matching different Kongs would present a new level of gameplay that wasn't there from the beginning. It would also grant the first player when playing multiplayer to choose another character besides Donkey Kong.
6 Bonus Levels Are Still Uninspired
One of the great things that the classic Donkey Kong Country games got right was the great bonus levels. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest presented bonus levels that were themed around the level the player was in. They felt more like additions to the levels rather than just bonus rooms.
With the reboot of the series, players were disappointed by how uninspired the bonus rooms were in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
The bonus rooms in these games are just add-ons to the game that offer bonuses like bananas, coins, and puzzle pieces. These bonuses are well hidden throughout the levels but are rarely worth finding besides to try and unlock the bonus levels in each world. They usually are all based on a secret cave setting and aren't inspired by the world the player is in. They all offer the same challenge which is usually find all the bananas within an alotted amount of time. Rather in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong's Quest the bonus rooms offered several different challenges which varied within each challenge. Some would even include animal buddies. If there is a third game in the franchise we can hope that it will come back with the great bonus levels that once thrived within these games.
5 Hard Gauntlet Sections That Fail To Bad Control
Donkey Kong Country has always been known to be a challenging series of games. Retro Studios wanted to make sure they kept that level of difficulty when moving into the new age of 2D platformers. Many say they succeeded while many may also say that they may have taken it a bit too far. Certain levels in the game present challenges that have strange difficulty curves. Many fans have deemed these parts of levels to be gauntlets. This is basically a section of a level that is harder to get through than other parts of the level. They usually present a new type of challenge that the player isn't used to.
These gauntlets are present in later levels around World 4 and 5 where the game starts to get more and more difficult. Many players say that these sections suffer because of the bad controls they are paired with. For example, a level in World 5 has the player bounce on jello like platforms that launch the player up in the air forcing them to fall back down onto the next platform at high speeds. This can be a tricky part of the game because the player hasn't had any practice with these type of level designs.
Nintendo released miniature figurines that were meant to be their answer to the toys to life craze that was introduced through Skylanders and Disney Infinity. They were originally released alongside the last Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Since then there have been several Amiibo released alongside game releases like Mario Party, Splatoon, Metroid, and many more. It's surprising that with the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze that we didn't see a new line of Donkey Kong Amiibo.
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong already have Smash Bros. line of Amiibo but they deserve to have a recreated line for their own game.
With Nintendo pushing the new Funky Kong mode, it is even more surprising that there isn't a Funky Kong Amiibo released alongside the game. Maybe we will see a line of Amiibo released alongside the next Donkey Kong game which may feature the kremlings. Whatever the case Nintendo missed out on a cash grab with the game bundling it with a new Donkey Kong or Funky Kong Amiibo. Similar to how they bundled the second line Mario Amiibo with the release of Mario Party 10 and a Toad Amiibo with the release of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker.
3 Where Are The Kremlings?
One of the things that made the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy stand out was it's enemy variety. The enemies in the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy were known as the Kremlings. They were led by a ruler called King K. Rool. K. Rool took on different roles in the different three games such as a captain, a king, and even a mad scientist. Each of his boss fights reinvented the way boss battles were designed.
These bosses still hold up today as some of the best boss battles in video game history.
When Retro Studios revealed they were remaking the Donkey Kong Country series many people felt like something big was missing, and that something was the Kremlings. The Kremlings are a staple for the original trilogy and it seemed like Retro wanted to make their own name for their Donkey Kong games so they did away with the crooked crocs. Instead, they went with a tiki theme for Donkey Kong Country Returns and for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze they went with an ice Viking theme which felt more like the Kremlings. However, no enemy type can be as memorable as the Kremlings were. There is still hope if Retro does make the last game for Donkey Kong Country rebooted trilogy that they will include the Kremlings once again.
2 Not A Great System Seller
The Nintendo Switch has been out for a little over a year now and it has done incredibly well. The first year of the Nintendo Switch was a great year for Nintendo and one of the best years of video games in general. Coming into 2018 Nintendo Switch was quiet as to what comes after the two stellar hits that are The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. They announced several new games like Kirby Star Allies and Mario Tennis Aces alongside the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze port.
The problem with this is that Donkey Kong isn't a heavy hitter like Mario or Zelda was.
The Nintendo Switch is doing great but it needs to keep that momentum going into 2018. Until the new Super Smash Bros. game releases, we won't see many Nintendo Switch's coming off of the shelves especially not for Donkey Kong. Not to the game's fault but at the end of the day, it is still a port. Many players have already seen or played the game before and it seems like Nintendo would have benefited more from sales if they released a brand new Donkey Kong Country game rather than just a port.
1 Multiplayer Is Still Too Difficult
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a difficult game as discussed earlier in the article. However, the game can become much more difficult with the added multiplayer feature. There is more happening on the screen at once which means there is more things to keep up with. Often times players will accidentally knock each other into a pit or into enemies, and sometimes it is on purpose.
Whatever the reason on most occasions players can find it easier to play the game in single player.
It isn't all bad to have a second player join the party, however, as they can help find secrets, stop enemies, and a lot more. Certain levels restrict the player from playing with friends and will give both players control of the game. For example, the infamous mine cart levels are difficult because both players can control the mine cart and unless established who controls the game it can be confusing and cost a lot of lives. Overall multiplayer is fun if you are just playing for the fun of it. Don't expect to progress too much if you're playing with a friend especially if they like to troll in video games.