Making Donkey Kong Country Returns difficult 'really important'

Retro Studios explains why DK's latest is no walk in the park

Donkey Kong Country Returns is out in the UK today, and if you've already played it you'll know it's surprisingly challenging.

One minute you're in Cranky's shop spending your hard-earned banana coins to buy 20 lives and the next you're perilously close to the dreaded Game Over screen.

Basically, you'll lose lots of lives and need to play some sections over and over again, particularly if you want to get all the collectibles.


"I thought it was extremely important that the game be challenging," Retro Studios senior designer Mike Wikan said during the latest Iwata Asks interview.

"When this project began, I played the Super NES version again and was a little irked at how hard it was. I only remembered that it was fun.

"I thought it's really important to make the game tough, but in a good way," he explained.

"I wanted to make a game that was not simply difficult, but possessed a kind of difficulty that made players want to try it again. I thought it was important that, rather than make players angry, the game makes players feel that even if they fail, they will be able to jump better next time."

Fellow senior designer Kynan Pearson added: "It's a game with broad appeal that all sorts of people can play, so I thought we needed to keep that approachability. At the same time, I thought it's important the game be a little difficult."

For inexperienced gamers, Donkey Kong Country Returns will be difficult, perhaps frustratingly so. Thankfully then, the game makes use of Nintendo's Super Guide, a handy autopilot feature that lets you leapfrog challenging sections.

Here's our Donkey Kong Country Returns review.