Donkey Kong Country Returns

The backlog of amazing Nintendo games is one of many reasons why gamers continue to back the company's consoles. Donkey Kong Country Returns is yet another fantastic visit to the company's catalogue of amazing game designs. Other than the brutal difficulty – which many will (and rightfully should) see as a positive – there's very little to complain about in Donkey Kong Country Returns. This is an incredibly challenging, old-school throwback that might not set the genre afire with innovation, but in my book, it's better than the awesome game that inspired it.

Retro Studios didn't set out to expand on the classic in the same way it did with the Metroid Prime series. Instead, it looks like the team applied the same design process Nintendo did with New Super Mario Bros. Wii: old school values using new school techniques. And even with its more modest production values compared to Retro's last three products, Donkey Kong Country Returns comes out a better 2D platformer than Mario's own Wii revisit a year ago.

I'll fully admit that as much fun as I was having with Donkey Kong Country Returns, I was just a smidge underwhelmed in my first hour. There are obvious exceptions to the rule, but for the most part Retro Studios stuck very close to the blueprint laid out by Rare in the Super Nintendo original -- so much of the levels stayed within the restriction of the classic designs.

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