Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 01.05.2018 3

Review for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 really loved Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii, and absolutely adored its successor, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze when it hit Wii U. After a short hands-on session with the latter's Switch port, all signs were pointing in the right direction for this to be another superb addition to the Nintendo Switch library, breathing new life into a title that suffered weaker than expected sales due to the failure of Wii U globally. Now the final release is here at last, does Donkey Kong's latest platform romp still hold up well enough?

Back when it first came out, Cubed3 scored Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a perfect 10. Years pass by, though, and standards change, plus the opinions of other critics differ considerably. At the end of the day, though, there is no disputing the quality of Retro Studios' second edition of the Donkey Kong Country reboot series, picking up the mantle after Rare's classics, keeping the core theme, but expanding on the experience considerably for the new audience. However, a large part of said audience possibly felt alienated back when this launched on Wii U due to its high difficulty levels compared to the New Super Mario Bros. and Kirby entries on the same system, along with the family-friendly Yoshi's Woolly World.

What Nintendo and Retro have done this time round, then, is not just bring the original straight over, but include options to make this as accessible as possible. Now, do not start thinking this has become a complete walk in the park, because it can still be extremely dastardly, despite the inclusion of extra hearts, and the abilities of the newly added controllable version of Funky Kong who can double-jump and float using his surfboard, as well as land on most spikes without harm being inflicted.

Screenshot for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Nintendo Switch

There are challenges galore, from the twitch-reactions needed during minecart riding stages, to careful manoeuvring of spike-filled areas, dangling precariously from shrubbery, and flying around from treacherously placed barrel to even more awkwardly located barrel. Everything that was crammed in before is back with aplomb, rather lacklustre bosses included, unfortunately. Yes, boss battles lack a certain flair, sadly. They have a tendency to become rather stale and some are long and drawn out experiences that just leave a sense of relief it is all over, rather than that wonderful feeling of satisfaction gamers get when polishing off a clever combatant. The 'memorise the stage' levels are also still present, and no matter how many hearts Funky's given, it does not prevent frustration creeping in from constant falling-to-your-death moments and replays that require the layout to be committed to memory and super-precise and accurate jumping/timing required. These areas tarnish the other more creative sections, but not enough to ruin the entire adventure, thankfully. However, it will still turn some more 'casual' gamers or younger children off for the most part.

For those up to the task, though, get ready to once more collect all of the KONG letters, zip through stages using different animal comrades, choose between Donkey Kong, Diddy, Dixie or Cranky, for those wanting to avoid Funky's difficulty adjustments, and uncover secret areas within each level that grant puzzles pieces that can unlock extra stages across the world map. The visuals are sharper than ever before, even in handheld mode, but in the presentation stakes it does fall down with a less than stellar soundtrack that pales in comparison to the classic Donkey Kong Country entries - not to say it is in any way bad, per se, but comparatively it does not fare quite as well. Those that played this before will have nothing new to experience; however, those that steered clear because they thought it was too tough may want to give it a look thanks to the increased accessibility…but be warned that it will still frustrate from time to time. Most will forgive that, though, thanks to the amount of enjoyment to be had elsewhere.

Screenshot for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a real delight to play, holding its appeal even several years after its original Wii U release. Switch owners have already been treated to a fantastic rendition of the Kirby series, and now the more veteran of gamers out there can get some platforming goodness with the higher difficulty and variety offered in Retro Studios' effort. The addition of modes to make this more accessible to what may be deemed as the 'Kirby crowd' really does go a long way to bringing this to a new audience, so more people than ever can appreciate its goodness. However, do not be fooled into thinking this is 1.) Anything new compared to before, 2.) Easy enough for younger children to enjoy as much as Kirby, Yoshi, et al.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I'm very hyped for this. When it comes to Wii U ports, I know a lot of people would prefer to get Mario Maker, the HD Zeldas and Super Mario 3D World first - but this just didn't get the attention it deserved back in the day. 

You weren't a fan of the soundtrack Adam? I remember hearing very good things about it. It's all David Wise again right? 

Tom Barry [ Reviewer - Editor - Resident Sim-Racer @ ] 

Didn't check who the composer was, but if it was Wise, then it's quite lacklustre in places, which really surprises me.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

its Wise alright

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