Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS) Review

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)
  • Editor Rating

  • Excellent


  • Review Summary:

  • A very fun Wii game transferred beautifully to the handheld console of the 3DS.

Gaming in the 90s, for me there was always one video game series that stood out strongly; the Donkey Kong Country series on the Super Nintendo. I have many happy memories of playing this game with friends when I was younger, and it was also a game that I very much enjoyed playing in my own time, too. One of the things that made this game stand out so strongly was the challenge that each level provided. Whereas with some platformers you could progress through the game without experiencing too many issues on the whole, with Donkey Kong Country there was an accuracy and precision which was required in certain levels that meant that sometimes you could get stuck on a particular level for absolutely ages. Far from making the game frustrating or cast aside, the difficulty required to progress through Donkey Kong Country made the game challenging in a way that made completing certain levels all the more rewarding.

The Mine Cart Carnage level in the original Donkey Kong Country game for the SNES gave myself and my friends a huge amount of trouble back in the day, I’ll never forget the absolute joy and relief when I finally managed to get past the level, however, and I can still remember feeling like an absolute local hero the day I finally beat it. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D takes everything that made the original games so brilliant, combining that with modern aesthetics and stereoscopic 3D graphics which breathes new life into an old video game hero.

Playing Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D for the 3DS brings back a lot of childhood memories for me and it’s without doubt my absolute favourite modern platform game. Donkey Kong Country Returns was originally released for the Nintendo Wii back in 2010, fresh for 2013 it has been ported to the Nintendo 3DS, however, and it’s certainly a very impressive handheld title. I never played Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo Wii, with the 3DS version you can either play the game as it was originally intended though with the ‘Original Mode’, or you can play the ‘New Mode’ of the game which provides an easier gaming experience which may be better suited to younger gamers. With its two different difficulty settings, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a perfect platformer not only for those looking for a blast of nostalgic fun, but also a good introduction to the series for younger gamers that may have missed out on the absolute beauty of the Donkey Kong Country series when the games originally launched back in the 90s for the SNES (or when later released on the Game Boy Colour/Game Boy Advance in the early 2000s). Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D would be an impressive starting point in the Donkey Kong Country series for any modern gamer, it’s definitely never too late to get stuck into Donkey Kong Country, and if you own a Nintendo 3DS/2DS but have yet to ever play a Donkey Kong Country game, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is definitely not a game to be missed.

Playing the game as Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, progressing from level to level in Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is extremely fun, providing a challenge at times as well as a huge amount of gaming entertainment. Regardless of whether or not you’ve ever played a Donkey Kong Country video game in the past there is a lot to enjoy here, it’s a practise in precision that will provide tests and challenges for even the most experienced of gamers. Kids will no doubt love the characters of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong and very much enjoy the gameplay, but there’s also plenty enough provided here to keep adult gamers interested, excited, and challenged by the many fantastic levels that this title has to offer. It’s definitely a game with a huge amount of appeal to kids, but if like me you grew up playing platformers and still have a huge soft spot for them, this game really is the very best that platforming has to offer right now, with levels that feel like they’ve had much time and care spent on them, working them out and providing each level with its own unique and interesting challenges. Side scrolling Mario games can sometimes feel a little halfhearted and dated, but even in the modern era of gaming Donkey Kong Country more than holds its own and still feels current, contemporary, and challenging.

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D has eight more levels than the original Nintendo Wii title, all added right at the very end after you’ve played through the originals. It’s debatable as to whether or not the game is worth paying out for if you already own the Nintendo Wii original, as someone that missed out on the game when it was released for the Wii, however, I’ve definitely appreciated the game being ported to the 3DS as had it not have been then I may have never got to experience this awesome platform title. I absolutely love handheld platform games, and for me Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is definitely the very best that is out there on the market right now. In the 90s the Donkey Kong Country series always felt as though it was way ahead of the competition because of the difficulty of playing the game and the concentration and precision that was required to complete every level, and this is still something that remains to be true now.

The new mode introduced for the 3DS version of this game means that this version of Donkey Kong Country can be a slightly easier experience if you want it to be, and although many older people that buy this game may not have much interest in playing the game more easily, the fact that this option is available for younger/more inexperienced gamers is definitely a very impressive addition in my book as it means that this game is now more accessible to a far larger audience of gamers, and anyone that did perhaps find some parts of the original Wii title a little too tricky can now play this game with a little more margin for error.

Rich Leigh

Rich Leigh

Football loving film graduate with a passion for all things entertainment.
Rich Leigh