Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat is the latest title in the New Play Control series for the Nintendo Wii, bringing a GameCube classic back for a new generation of gamers, and numerous other people who didn’t get it with its original release. How do the new controls and additions fair? Well you’ll just have to read on to find out.
The first thing I want to semi-briefly go over is the gameplay itself, as I would think many people are unaware of how the mechanics work. The game is set up into 12 worlds, plus bonus ones, with each world housing two platforming levels and one boss encounter. In these two main levels, the object is to grab as many bananas as you can, which will be used as your health during the boss fight, and by the end, determine the number of crests you get.
In the original, you had to control with the bongos, which was pretty fun, but now, they have been replaced with the remote and nunchuk, making things a bit easier and losing some of that unique and energetic feeling. Now, you can move with the analog stick, jump with A, and shake the remote to clap and create a directed shockwave. Because you can now move more easily and with more precision, the designers added in some extra enemies and obstacles to balance out the difficulty. Another change was with the health system. Before, you lost bananas every time you were hit, but now, you have three hearts and retain all of your bananas.
These main levels are set up like standard platforming levels, but there is a twist. Instead of simply going from one end of the level to the other, you have more of a goal, which is to collect bananas. You’re probably thinking, “yeah…like coins…same thing,” but it’s a little different. In other games, coins are something you CAN go for if you want, but here, your entire focus is on getting bananas, and getting them in style. There is a unique combo system in the game, where your combo grows larger as you perform tricks and acrobatics, and it is lost when you touch the ground. So, you’ll want to swing, jump, flip, bounce, and more to create a massive bonus for yourself for every banana you pick up. Performing some of these moves is as easy as jumping, but stringing along an 8, 9, or even 4 or 5 combo is very tricky and requires a lot of practice. You can probably go on YouTube and see some incredible videos of people going through an entire level without touching the ground once, but it takes massive skill and ability to do such. You will have to play through levels multiple times before you can figure out how to get these combos and rack up the banana count.
One incentive for getting bananas, aside from making boss battles easier, is to get crests. These are awarded at the end of the each world depending on how many bananas you obtained and retained after the boss. You used to be able to get four crests per world in the original, but now, you can only get three, which is an interesting change. I think it was done to make the game a bit easier, as the platinum crest required 1200 bananas, whereas you only need 1000 now to get all three crests. To aid in this a bit, after you beat each world, you get a handy video tip to show you how to pull off some specific combo in an area in the world, which is always very cool, enlightening, and impressive.
With most of the bosses, and some enemies, you have to find a weakness to knock them out and then you have to wail on them to lower their health. This is done by quickly flicking between your remote and nunchuk, which can wear you out after awhile. Most of the bosses are pretty easy though, with attacks that are easily dodgeable, so it’s not too terribly hard to beat each one without taking any damage.
The new controls don’t really add anything to the game, and in fact, take some away. The only thing this title really does is give gamers a chance to play the game who didn’t pick it up when it was original released, either because they didn’t think they would like it or because they were turned off by the bongos/price. The new controls feel a lot different than using the bongos, and you must even direct your sound waves, as opposed to having them completely encompass DK. The controls work, but they don’t feel quite as natural as the bongos.
It’s pretty much the same game we played years ago, except with worse controls. Don’t get me wrong, the controls work, but they aren’t as fun as the bongos. The game has been altered a bit, adding in more enemies and changing around a few things, including the health bar, but it’s basically the same game. There are two completely new levels, but one isn’t anything special, and the other is a boss rush mode, which can provide some entertainment. If you’ve played it before, I wouldn’t bother, but if you haven’t, then it’s definitely worth checking out.
Overall Score: 7/10
Posted with cooperation from Gamers Platform