Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review (NA)

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the latest action packed, side-scrolling platformer from Retro Studios! It is the fifth installment in the Donkey Kong Country series and is a follow up to Retro’s game, Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Nintendo Wii. This game was supposed to be released on November of 2013 but many delays later, the release date was changed to February 21st 2014.


The story in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a simple one. The Snomads, a group of viking creatures such as Owls, Polar Bears, and Penguins have invaded Donkey Kong Island. This causes Donkey Kong and his friends (Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, and Cranky Kong) to retaliate and protect the island, collecting tons of Bananas along the way. Not as convoluted as the storyline for The Legend of Zelda games, but satisfying enough for a platformer.

Without further ado, let us begin the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze review!



The control schemes in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are the following:

  • Wii Remote and Nunchuck
  • Wii Remote (Horizontal Position)
  • Wii U Gamepad (Left Stick Controls)
  • Wii U Gamepad (D-Pad Controls)
  • Wii U Pro Controller

Keep in mind, you can also tweak the controls on each controller to fit your gameplay style! As you can see, the wide range of controls can make it comfortable for any fan of platformer games to play. The Wii Remote styles for people who played the most recent Donkey Kong Country game, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Wii U Gamepad style for Wii U owners who are new to the series or would just to utilize the Gamepad’s capabilities, and the Wii U Pro controller for those who have played platforming games on consoles such as the Xbox 360/One and the PS3/4. The fact that Nintendo chose to make all of these control styles available means that they really wanted to put emphasis on the multiplayer aspect of the game, allowing anyone to jump in and play with their family and friends!


This is my first time delving inside the world of the Donkey Kong Country series, so although the controls were awkward for me at first (and frustrating at times), I was able to familiarize myself with them quickly with very little hinderance to the gameplay itself. Veterans of the series should have no trouble at all establishing a firm grip on this part of the game.


In the Donkey Kong Country series, the gameplay has always been near perfection. Tropical Freeze is no exception! I’ll start off by talking about the shop items and how they aid you in the game, then I’ll eventually move on to talking about the levels and analyze the gameplay itself.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Zelda

There are quite a few items that will aid you through the levels. These items include:

  • Red Balloons (Extra Lives)
  • Green Balloons (Pitfall Protection)
  • Blue Balloons (Extra Air Underwater)
  • Squawks the Bird (Puzzle Piece Finder)
  • Banana Juice (Invincibility)
  • Crash Guard (Vehicle Protection)
  • Heart Boost
  • Character Barrels (Start Level With 1 of 3 companion characters)
  • Capsule Toy Machine (No real effect on gameplay, just figurines and extras)


Some would claim that these items could make the gameplay too easy, but trust me, it’s the exact opposite. The game somehow finds a way to be extremely fun while being immensely difficult at times. Something rare in this age of Nintendo games *cough*New Super Mario. Bros. U*cough* This is probably because of the fact that the levels aren’t as linear as most platforming games that we’re used to seeing, offering surprises and really showing us what a platformer should be like. When playing this game, you feel like you’re surrounded like secrets waiting to be uncovered (also adding to the replay value)!

Another thing I wanted to point out was the level of diversity between worlds. I didn’t feel like any game mechanics or enemies were being re-used. Everything felt crisp and original (if they were re-used however, they were used in unique ways). I now see why this series has such a huge fanbase!


The beginning of each level often gives you an idea of what you can expect to see throughout the rest of it and the length of each of them is just mind-boggling. When traversing through these levels, you’ll begin to see how the levels in each of the worlds are interwoven, a truly amazing feat. When you get to the boss/end of the world, it feels like you’ve actually gone on a journey. This is the sign of a great video game!

The main issue I have with the gameplay is the use of the Wii U Gamepad when playing on the TV. It literally displays nothing. No map, no level guide, nothing. This was apparently to “save battery”, but I can’t help feeling like this was a wasted opportunity. People wanted this game to save the Wii U, but how can it do that if the game doesn’t even utilize the most important (or one of the most important) part(s) of the console?


I was also kind of upset about not being able to play as any of the other companion characters (Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Cranky Kong) in single player mode. I understand that the title of the game IS Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a little, you know Nintendo?

Overall the gameplay is near perfection! If you have a competitive side, there are also leaderboards that work flawlessly, so better start practicing your speedruns!



Music is another thing the Donkey Kong Country series is known for. Retro and Nintendo definitely did a tremendous job on making the sounds and music tropical-ish! The amazing island sounds paired with the ambient music for each respective world in the game add to the feel of being in whatever location you’re in! An absolutely wonderful addition! Since I can’t talk TOO much about the music with just words, check out some of the tropical jams in the video below:


The visuals in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are stellar! As mentioned earlier on in the review, the environments combined with the visuals make for a great experience! The art style of this game has changed quite a bit from back and the older Donkey Kong days, but it’s still great!


The cinematics in the game are what I really want to talk about. It literally feels like you’re watching a movie at times! I especially love how it’s integrated with almost everything you do in the game. Everything from traversing through the world map, to beating a boss battle, to playing levels incorporates some sort of cinematic at one point or another, and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s really eye catching. Take a close look at the gameplay and you’ll see:


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the fifth installment in the Donkey Kong Country series and is definitely one of the best. If you’ve been looking for an original and unique platformer, this one should definitely be on your radar. Although I feel like a few features that could have been added were missing, it didn’t effect the overall gameplay experience in a major way (plus, there’s nothing that DLC and game updates can’t fix). I give Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a 9/10!

What were your thoughts on the review? Anything that you agree or disagree with? Why don’t you drop a comment below? Thanks for reading!

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review (NA)
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze features beautiful HD cinematics and music! Although the gameplay can be confusing at first for gamers new to the series, it does very little to affect the overall gameplay! If you're looking for a unique 2D platformer, this will definitely make a great addition to your collection!
  • Beautiful HD Visuals That Really Make Gameplay Pop
  • Polished Cinematics Make Boss Fights Unforgettable
  • Fun and Intuitive Gameplay Keeps Players Coming Back
  • Can be confusing for players new to the series
  • Diddy Kong Makes Dixie Kong Useless
  • Gamepad Displays Blank Screen When Playing On T.V
9Overall Score
Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponDigg this

About The Author

News Reporter

Lives and breathes competitive Smash. Show me ya moves!