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'Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze' for Nintendo Switch is funky but not in a good way

By Phil Akin This was played on the Nintendo Switch This review mainly focuses on the new Funky Mode Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze on the Switch is a challenging port. Not to mention that it’s a stunningly beautiful game both in docked and handheld modes. If you’re only in it for the visuals, you won’t be disappointed. Never before has Donkey Kong’s hair looked this good. I’ve never played a Donkey Kong game before, and what better way to jump into the series?

It’s enjoyable when it wants to be

Image from Destructoid
Tropical Freeze is fun at certain times. Throughout the game there are certain levels that you can just speedrun through, and those are enjoyable. Even if you get hit by an enemy here or there, it isn’t really an issue. Then there were other levels where you’re stuck in a mine cart, and it’s just one death trap after another. My point is, sometimes the game can be fun and enjoyable, and other times it’s a frustrating mess. At certain points it seemed as though the controls were unresponsive or delayed, and that Funky Kong would just jump into a pit despite my efforts to avoid falling into said pits. Those were pretty uncommon occurrences, and it seemed to happen during the mine cart levels the most. It definitely took some time to get used to the controls, and even then they didn’t feel as fluid as a platformer should. Games like Super Mario World or Shovel Knight felt tight and like you were in control, while the controls of Tropical Freeze seem hit or miss at times. There were moments when I had to take a step away from the game because I was getting so frustrated with it. There are little picture bubbles that pop up in the earlier levels that teach you the controls, but honestly Tropical Freeze doesn’t hold your hand; that’s for sure. Even in the new “easy mode”, it felt like I was on my own from the beginning. I’m someone who doesn't have a lot of time to play games, and when I do, I want to actually be able to play it and enjoy it. Unfortunately, that rarely happened during Tropical Freeze because of the difficulty. 

It’s difficult

Image from TheGamesmen
For people who were worried that the new Funky Mode would be too easy, fear not. Even with all the new features that were added in this Funky Mode, it’s still difficult. Sure you have five hearts, a double jump, immunity to spikes, and so on and so forth. But even with all of that, I found myself dying way more than I thought I would. Maybe that just shows my true colors as a noob at Donkey Kong, but this easy mode wasn’t very easy for me. But the thing is, I wanted and expected it to be an easy mode. It felt more like the game was working against me rather than letting me have fun. And that’s just the easy mode. The base game is even more difficult, even in co-op. I made the mistake of starting out in Funky Mode and then moving on to the original version. It’s like going from heroic difficulty to legendary. I barely played through the normal mode because it was even less fun than Funky Mode. Don’t get me wrong though; if you love a challenge and love difficult games, you’ll have a blast with Tropical Freeze.

But is it worth it?

Image from Metro
At the end of the day, is this port of Tropical Freeze worth it? Well, that’s tricky. If you already have it for the Wii U, then the new Funky Mode isn’t enough to justify double-dipping. Not to mention that this is a full $60 game, and that alone is enough to not recommend it. This port seems to be targeted towards people who never had a Wii U, but it’s still a port. A $60 port. If you have a Switch, have never played this game, and can find it for less than $30, then absolutely pick it up, because it truly is a fun game despite its flaws. It’s just a shame it has so much going against it. If you like to relax and play through games without getting frustrated, you may want to stay away from it.
Image: Nintendo, DestructoidTheGamesmen, and Metro