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New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Wii) Review

Review for New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Before the EAD Tokyo team got to grips with Super Mario Galaxy, it was handed a debut project based around both the venerable Donkey Kong and the GameCube peripheral of the bongo drum controllers, which had previously only been used for the Donkey Konga rhythm games. Rather than follow in Namco Bandai's footsteps and create a musically-minded product, the fledgling group went down the traditional 2D platform route…except managed to add in a bongo-flavoured twist for the standard move set. The question now has to be, how can said set-up be transferred to work admirably with the Wii remote and nunchuk combination?

Four years have passed since Jungle Beat hit the GameCube, but that does not necessarily mean the formula for what many would describe as the last true Donkey Kong platform outing has started to wear thin. In fact, simply looking over someone's shoulder as they play it is hard to believe this was released on a last generation format nearly five years ago. Visually the game still excels, with rich, vibrant, bold colours pouring out at you. The graphics might well have been looked upon as standard fare on the GameCube back in the day, but they truly show their glory and strength here on Wii since the visuals manage to surpass the majority of efforts on the platform so far. As Nintendo itself says in the promotional material, players can work their way through "beautifully rendered stages, like lava caves, tempestuous oceans and even a ninja-chimp fortress."

In fact, it is not only the aesthetic side that has aged surprisingly well; the soundtrack is equally as impressive, with jolly, upbeat jungle-themes and beats pumping through each level, complete with appropriate grunts from DK himself and screeching from monkeys dotted around each stage. In fact, there are some tunes that have an almost Star Fox-esque quality to them, showing Koji Kondo's work shining through and proving to be ageless as always.

Screenshot for New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

However, no matter how attractive and aurally pleasing Jungle Beat may be, it would all be for nothing if the core gameplay had become stale and somewhat rotten. However, just as Nintendo has done with Pikmin, Mario Power Tennis and Pikmin 2 so far, this latest entry into the New Play Control! line-up features a spruced up control system, as well as the inclusion of several other vital additions that keep the game in the upper echelons of the quality scale. The replacement control set-up takes away the need to bash the old bongos and clap on a regular basis, and proves to be just as versatile, whilst actually a little but easier to pick up for beginners. Throw in the slew of new enemies and obstacles and it all really helps to flesh out the experience for those of the GameCube era.
It should be mentioned that the new motion-controls (that result in waggling like crazy in many cases) is just as much fun as bashing on the bongos all those years ago, the main difference being that it is less painful on your palms as no actual clapping is involved and you are merely shaking the controllers around now instead of slapping your palms on the bongo drum accessory repeatedly. Donkey Kong can perform back-flips, pound the ground, swing from vines and wall-jump his way to victory with the greatest of ease, using a mixture of button-, analogue-stick- and motion-control. As for those thinking that aimless flailing will get them through levels, think again, as timing of controller swings definitely comes into play at times, with certain enemies not going down easily and requiring DK to firstly power clap to stun them, then grab them, launch them up into the air, before finally leaving the player to flick their wrist at just the right time to propel them back upwards a few times before they burst into bananas (yes, this IS a Nintendo game after all - nobody 'dies'!).

Screenshot for New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Each of the Kingdoms you come across has a total of three stages, ranging from general platform romps to racing levels and finished off with a variety of boss battles. Banana Kingdom, for instance, has Donkey Kong squaring off against a character by the name of Dread Kong in a fight that bears more than a striking resemblance to the Punch Out series, where dodging punches and then catching Dread on the counter with a barrage of controller swings to knock his health down is the order of the day. Rather than sticking to the three-hearts health bar DK has in normal levels, the twist here is that battles use the total number of bananas collected during the previous two levels as your energy bar. Therefore, 'death' is not exactly the issue, as how many hits you take affects your final banana count for that particular kingdom. Depending on how many are left at the end, players will receive a certain amount of Crests, which then go on to help unlock more content later in the game. So to err on the side of caution is certainly recommended if you wish to get the most out of the experience.

To aid the player en-route to the boss encounters, once a stage is finished a small video 'tip clip' is shown to familiarise players with a specific move set or combination technique for collecting more of the precious yellow fruit. For example, one video will reveal that rather than just waggling like crazy to make DK clap in any direction, jumping up and slamming into the ground or wall-jumping to despatch enemies and collect bananas, by tapping 'A' rapidly as bananas are flying around in the air, DK can absorb them and build up a combo move that gives a greater multiplier overall. General tips on moves in the game are also offered up by helpful monkeys around levels, but the video clips prove to be a much-welcomed reminder.

Screenshot for New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

As mentioned earlier, the variety of stages on offer is additionally part of what helps to keep Jungle Beat relevant in today's Wii market. There are definitely not enough high quality platform games out this generation and certainly not 2D side-scrolling ones. In fact, other than the upcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii the only other viable option for fans of such games is the good-but-not-brilliant Wario Land: The Shake Dimension. Therefore, having Jungle Beat return on Wii is very much needed, with its mix of levels, such as a stage where DK rides atop a large creature running wild across an icy world trying to avoid what appears to be a freaky-looking fish-lizard, jumping and shaking the controllers to break through ice blocks along the way whilst avoiding deadly drops and hard rocks, then ultimately ending the stage by jumping through the air and shaking for all your worth to float as far as possible in order to achieve an improved final score. Levels like that, plus ones where DK must use birds to help him fly around, spice things up considerably and keep the gamer on the edge of their seats.

Other strokes of genius include how whilst some enemies must be killed by the simple power clap method (shake in a certain direction), others must be jumped upon and pounded with DK's fists (jump, ground pound and waggle like mad), whilst some need to be juggled (as touched upon before). There are monkeys hanging around in certain locations that can give DK a lift, flowers that launch him diagonally across a stage or barrels that blast him in various directions. These various features all come into play throughout the entirety of the game.

Jungle Beat is not too easy either, with many a life being lost at the most awkward of times. Fortunately there is the option of being able to restart part of the way through a stage to prevent the frustration of always going right back to the beginning. As for those impatient gamers out there, whilst rushing through a level may seem the wisest thing to do, true aficionados and perfectionists will learn to appreciate the combo techniques available that score them more bananas than normal. For instance, if DK can stay flying through the air, pulling off varying acrobatic manoeuvres, blasting enemies and collecting bananas along the way, the total collected will be multiplied to give a larger count overall. Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat had so much to offer on the GameCube and now has even more to offer on the Wii. Be sure to not overlook this gem from the folk who brought us Super Mario Galaxy...

Screenshot for New Play Control! Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Using the bongos years ago worked wonders, but replacing that method with motion-based controls and throwing in extras to make the gameplay smoother works even better.

Graphics

Strong, bright, colourful, vibrant visuals that put many Wii games to shame, which is indeed quite a feat considering this is a 'lowly' GameCube title.

Sound

Jungle themes pounding out of your speakers, grunts and squeaks that add to the atmosphere - Nintendo's sound team scores again!

Value

Zooming through levels with complete disregard for the combo techniques and banana collecting will see this polished off in a handful of hours. The enjoyment, though, is savouring each level, beating high scores and opening secret stages.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat was an instant classic when it arrived on the GameCube and now, complete with its impressive new control scheme and welcomed extras, it shines bright amongst a plethora of average Wii titles. If you missed out the first time, make sure the same does not happen again...

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29.06.2009

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Developer

EAD Tokyo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10 (66 Votes)

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The only thing I didn't really like about this remake were the motion controls... It felt like they made you just randomly waggle the Wiimote every 5 seconds to kill an enemy.

Good review!


.:Zelda Adventures:.
u guys are DNA.

Yes, I loved this with the Bongos.
I can understand remakeing it for Wiimote+Nunchuck, but removing backwards support for Bongos was just pointless.
(The bongos hits, incidently, just corispond to standard Gamecube/Classic controller button press's)

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Zephyr said:
The only thing I didn't really like about this remake were the motion controls... It felt like they made you just randomly waggle the Wiimote every 5 seconds to kill an enemy.

But then again the alternative was having to constantly bang on the bongos and clap previously...I personally thought the controller shaking was less effort.

Good review!

Thanks Smilie

Darkflame said:
Yes, I loved this with the Bongos.
I can understand remakeing it for Wiimote+Nunchuck, but removing backwards support for Bongos was just pointless.
(The bongos hits, incidently, just corispond to standard Gamecube/Classic controller button press's)

I do agree with this. I know it's a 'New Play Control' title, but leaving in the classic method might have been a nice idea, even hiding it away in the options so as to not confuse newcomers too much.

I should add that this has been faring very well in the UK charts since release, doing much better than the two Pikmin games. Mario Power Tennis may have been the best-selling one so far, though - not sure. It'll be interesting to see how Chibi-robo does IF Nintendo brings it over here (remember that the DS game was a limited release in the US and skipped EU altogether Smilie ).

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Christ, I remember reading about this in the non ONM magazine.

I feel old.

1"We're mentalist psychic Scots , which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Haha, it's only from about 4-5 years ago - don't worry about it Smilie It's when you remember the hype building up about the original Chrono Trigger release...that's when you've gotta start thinking 'Day-um...' Smilie

I'm really pleased to see this version doing FAR better than the original. Sadly the original barely scraped into the UK Top 40 and stayed there for two or three weeks maximum because the GameCube did AWFUL over here. This Wii update was riding high in the Top 20 for a few weeks and is still lingering around.

Great news indeed! Hopefully it spurs Nintendo on to let the EAD Tokyo team crack on with a new Donkey Kong game...like the talked about, but now forgotten, Donkey Kong World 8)

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Hmm I got this for gamecube

Sold it away because it's so repetitive *run through forest, Beat some pig things, beat boss*

Not very appeling but good reveiw

(I'm not picking it up for the Wii)


John:
I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
:}

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