As a 2D platformer, Donkey Kong
Country Returns does not focus very strongly on classroom facts. Basic
physics and math concepts are small elements of the game.
By the Player:
Though DKCR is a linear, 2D platformer, it does allow players some
freedom in a few distinct ways. First is that each level is packed with hidden
rewards, encouraging players to explore and scour each stage thoroughly to
discover them. The second is in the game's level design when it comes to the
challenging time trial mode. This tasks players with meeting par times on each
course, which are set at extremely challenging levels. Players must learn the
nuances of the game's controls and of each stage thoroughly in order to succeed
here, and practice and experimentation are key to learning the optimal route
through any given stage.
By the Developer:
DCKR is a reinterpretation of the classic Donkey Kong Country platformers,
and it places a new focus on creative level design while embracing the original
series' general style and strong visual sense. Many levels contain their own
unique gimmicks; one early stage has players running between stones to avoid
deadly waves that crash across the entire screen, while another has players
riding in a mine cart while dodging foes and pits.
The game's visual style has also
been praised. The game always looks good, and some stages offer particularly
impressive gimmicks, like the handful of stages that have Donkey Kong appearing
as a silhouette against a background sunset.
Business skills are involved when purchasing items at Cranky's Cabin, which
appears in each new world the player visits. Players can spend coins collected
during play to purchase a handful of one-time use items that provide various
advantages during levels. In addition each new Cranky's Cabin sells a special,
expensive key that unlocks an additional level in each world, offering players
particular incentive to save up.
DKCR features a straightforward co-op mode that allows one player
to control Donkey Kong while the other controls Diddy. Players run and jump
through stages alongside each other, and can help out their partners by
defeating enemies along the way. The game only includes local multiplayer,
meaning players will always be able to communicate clearly when playing as a
One notable feature is that the
player controlling Diddy can jump onto Donkey's back and act as a sort of
helper while the other player navigates the stage. This allows players of
different skill levels to work together more smoothly when the going gets tough.
DKCR is pretty straightforward in offering typical kinds of platforming
challenges. Players must react to various hazards as they jump, swing and
launch throughout each level. Many stages introduce unique hazards that ask
players to consider the game in new ways. Varied boss fights at the end of each
world also offer a change of pace.
Problem solving in DKCR is expanded considerably when the game is taken
into time trial mode, where players must learn the fastest ways to complete
each new stage. This can involve jumping from enemy to enemy, finding shortcuts
and using Donkey Kong's speedy rolling jump attack and other specific
techniques to earn the fastest time possible.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is not a simulation game.
Donkey Kong Country Returns has been praised as a worthy successor to the old Donkey
Kong Country games, specifically for its graphic style and varied level
design. The game has also been praised for having a high difficulty level.
Standard audio and visual options are available.
Donkey Kong Country Returns was rated Everyone by the ESRB with
a descriptor for Mild Cartoon Violence.