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Donkey Kong Country Returns Road Journal - Part 4

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

BrightHub enters the imposing Cliff world in Donkey Kong Country Returns.

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    Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong Continue Their Journey

    Rambi the Rhino  

    Before I go any further with this progress travelogue of mine, I would just like to urge any Nintendo Wii owners to go out and buy Donkey Kong Country Returns if they don’t already have it in their collection. The game not only serves as a great throwback to 2D gaming, but it manages to successfully craft its own identity in the modern era of video games. Now, let’s move on and check out the sixth world in the game, the Cliff.

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    Climbing the Puzzling Cliff

    Cliff World Map  

    Before entering the first level in the Cliff world, I was under the impression that I’d be doing lots of running and jumping. Retro managed to pull a fast one on me once again. Although there was plenty of running and jumping to be done within the different stages, a few of them had puzzle-like elements that really helped distinguish them from the previous levels I had cleared. I was performing carefully-timed jumps, blasting out of barrel cannons at just the right moment, and speeding through crumbling areas while riding Rambi. Suffice it to say there was never a dull moment in this world.

    A lot of the levels in the Cliff world had tar pits with massive bones floating at the surface. I guided Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong through these areas and noticed that the giant bones tilted whenever I stood on one side for too long. By exploiting this mechanic, I was able to reach different levels and uncover secret areas with hidden puzzle pieces. The whole dynamic of the Cliff stages presented itself as one big brain teaser, and it was a great deal of fun experimenting with the different landmarks found in these levels.

    With this new world came a new level of challenge. Part of what makes Donkey Kong Country Returns so enthralling is the way it presents different gameplay elements. Everything is nicely paced and very challenging, making the whole game a learning experience – a really tough learning experience. The levels in the Cliff world challenged me throughout, and I often found the team of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong facing peril to the point where the tie-wearing ape was left to fend for himself. Sorry, Diddy!

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    Visually Pleasing Art Style

    The art style in Donkey Kong Country Returns is rich and impressive.  

    I probably haven’t mentioned it enough, but the graphical style in this latest Donkey Kong title is highly interesting to look at. There are no real textures, and a few polygonal edges look a little rough, but the backgrounds are impressive from an artistic standpoint. Backdrops are colorful and appear somewhat cel-shaded, with interesting patterns and design choices. Personally, I think I would have really liked it if the entire game looked as good as the backgrounds do.

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    What's Next for Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong?

    I’m just two worlds away from completing Donkey Kong Country Returns. It’s been a lot of fun so far, and the game has managed to bring a nice level of challenge that isn’t too frustrating, but makes me feel accomplished after I get through tough level after tough level. Join me next time for the final entry of Road Journal as I take Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong all the way to the final boss.

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