Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Is The Best Donkey Kong Country Game

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is out on the Nintendo Switch on Friday. I got to play it a little bit early. Well, I mean, I played it in 2014, on the Wii U. I played it until the wheels fell off! This week, I played it again. It’s the same game, which is good, because it’s a good game. I made a video in which I talk about how good a game it is.

In this video, I tell you about why I like the game. I make some dumb jokes. I talk about Funky Mode. I consider whether or not Funky Kong is a Donkey Narc. I discuss a murder mystery. And at some point, you’ll join me on the streets of New York while I wear a terrible T-shirt in public and tell you a story. Because I like all of you, I strive to fill these videos with the biggest bounty of content possible

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Personally, I consider Tropical Freeze the best Donkey Kong Country game. The co-op is great and the levels are clever. It’s just a big loud party of a video game. If I had to list any negatives, it’d be that the game’s education value needs work. We learned how to spell “K-O-N-G,” like, literally decades ago.

You can watch this video on our YouTube channel, by the way. All of our videos are there!

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There’s even a playlist of just my videos! Wow!

I make videos for Kotaku. I make video games for myself and my friends. I like writing fiction. Someday I will publish a novel. Who knows!

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DISCUSSION

Yeah, no - I’m personally in the camp of the original DKC being the best, but I totally get the people who vote DKC 2 as well.

But this? No, sorry. Not even close.

One of the big problems for me with the DKC game series as it went on is that it got more and more cartoonish and cheery, with bright rainbow colors and a full blown clown-town atmosphere, and seemed to abandon a lot of the darker aesthetic and design choices that made the first few games so impactful.

Sure - the basic premise was silly from the very start. You were playing a game about a gorilla in a necktie trying to get his stolen banana hoard back from an evil overweight lizardman in an Archie crown who lives on a pirate ship.

But that didn’t stop the first game from slipping away from the bright and cheery “fun” levels, and take the player to far darker and melancholy places.

You started out swinging almost carefree through the treetops of the sunlit jungle, but soon came dark stormy rainfall, and the melancholy of sunset giving way to night.

You made your way underground into lightless and suffocating mine shafts, through shady hills swallowed up by towering primeval forest, through the dangerous and mysterious heart of ancient ruins, down into beautiful but haunting sunken reefs, and through frigid mountain wastes and smothering blizzards.

You emerged into a techno-nightmare landscape blighted by senseless industrial waste, and then finally capped off the journey by plunging underground once more into the largest, darkest, bleakest cavern yet. And only after all of that did you emerge blinking into the sunlight once more for the goofy final battle on a jaunty pirate ship, and the grand celebration of victory.

Later DKC games seem to have lost a lot of that early willingness to mix zany colorful silliness with extended sections of more brooding, somber, even lonesome moments and environments. The series has lost a lot of its tonal contrast, and consequently it just feels like being hosed down by rainbows.

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