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Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze review round-up

All the verdicts in one place

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the latest from Retro Studios, is released this week.

In our Tropical Freeze review we said: "Tropical Freeze is old-fashioned, but it's exquisitely fashioned, too; as long as you're not expecting a genre-shaking masterpiece, you'll find plenty to enjoy."

Reviews have been appearing on other sites too so, as is tradition, we've rounded them up in one easy to digest package. Here's a look at how it's being received:

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  • Official Nintendo Magazine (Issue 105): 86% Retro's starting to pull the same trick it managed for Metroid - Tropical Freeze draws on decades-old ideas and punches them into excellent new shapes.
  • GamesRadar: 4/5 - If you crave a challenge, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will bring out the best of your platforming abilities. Those expecting a cakewalk will feel like they slammed headfirst into a brick wall of difficulty.
  • Edge: 7/10 - There's a tactility that was missing from Donkey Kong Country Returns, though Tropical Freeze lacks the physicality of Jungle Beat and its bongo controls, which are still a closer match for the protagonist's abilities. EAD Tokyo captured the ape's brute strength but also the curious grace of his movements, which carried a certain laid-back elegance when strung together. Here he's an unstoppable force, a runaway train whose momentum can be tricky to arrest. During Tropical Freeze's most exacting sequences, you may yearn for Mario's reliability, but the bludgeoning force of Retro's presentation is enough to carry a powerful, if traditional, platformer over the finish line.
  • Destructoid: 10/10 - I didn't think it was possible, but Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has topped Returns. It's an incredibly crafted platformer with an HD sheen and an insane attention to detail, and any fan of the genre owes it to themselves to experience it. With the addition of control options to the already proven formula, Retro Studios' rendition of Donkey Kong is pretty much flawless.
  • Game Informer: 9.25 - Players accustomed to the eight core worlds of DKC Returns might be surprised that there are only six in Tropical Freeze. Even though there are fewer total levels this time around, the individual stages are longer than an average level from the previous game. In the end, I'd rather have a slightly smaller collection of Retro Studios' best levels than one bloated up with lesser-quality stages in order to hit an arbitrary number. That finely cultivated assortment is exactly what you get with Tropical Freeze.
  • IGN: 9.0 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a great platformer full of tense sequences and tough levels. Boss battles are a huge highlight, and it's packed with hard-to-find secrets and collectibles. Multiplayer could use some improvement, but I found myself laughing whenever my teammate and I wiped out on some of these unforgiving setups. But a rewarding sense of accomplishment stuck with me each time I overcame a new obstacle, and that feeling kept me going all the way to the end.
  • Polygon: 8.5 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze could've easily been a me-too sequel. Its much-loved predecessor reinvigorated the series and did so much with the 2D framework that Retro could've released a bunch of new stages and called it a day. But Tropical Freeze adds intelligently to the formula, with new characters that imbue subtle nuance to the gameplay, a better-tuned challenge level and an increased emphasis on replay value. These features make Tropical Freeze consistently worth coming back to, and mark it as a high point for the series.
  • Joystiq: 4.5 - At this point, there's not much written here that couldn't have been repurposed from a review of 2010's Donkey Kong Country Returns - and that's both the problem and the recommendation. Sure, there's swimming in lovely blue waters, a pleasant soundtrack by series composer David Wise and even prettier backgrounds for Retro's ingenious levels, but meaningful growth is kept to a minimum. Such is the blessing and curse of refrigeration.
  • Gaming Age: A+ - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze marks another high-quality release for Nintendo on the Wii U, and adds one more reason to pick up the hardware if you haven't already. It's another fantastic platformer delivered with absolute care from developer Retro Studios, and it's another shining gem in the small but impressive line-up for Wii U. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze definitely qualifies as a must-have title for Nintendo fans everywhere.
  • Nintendo World Report: 8.5 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze brought a constant smile to my face, even when I died in a horrific way or had to come to terms with a difficult level. The variation goes deeper than Returns ever did and makes Retro's latest creation shine. While at a glance it may seem that this is just another platformer for the system, I feel that this is a game worth playing and exploring from beginning to end.
  • Game Trailers: 9.1 - The evolution of Tropical Freeze from its predecessor isn't quite a giant leap for apekind, but it's a step in the right direction. It doesn't just maintain the status quo as a challenging platformer, but mixes in just enough new elements to prevent it from being just another rehash of the previous game. You'd be bananas to pass up the chance to add Tropical Freeze to your Wii U horde.
  • Gamespot: 6/10 - If the regular levels were as inventive as the boss battles, then Tropical Freeze would be a surefire hit, or at least a game that demands more of your attention. No matter how much I was looking forward to seeing DK in HD, it's difficult to maintain that enthusiasm when the end product plays it so safe: even the visuals fail to make an impact. They're nice enough, but like the level design, the environments are mostly bland. While you could argue that the visual style is true to the series, I think even traditionalists wouldn't mind something with a little more pizzazz behind it. As it stands, this a sometimes fun but mostly uninspired and unimaginative entry in the Donkey Kong series.
  • Eurogamer: 7/10 - I've played Nintendo games all my life, and while I enjoyed DKC Tropical Freeze, I can't help feeling saddened by it at the same time. DKC is becoming another Nintendo series where quality grows and importance shrinks with each faithful new instalment. Not all Nintendo's franchises have fallen into this pattern, but games like Tropical Freeze make me wonder whether they all eventually will, turning up to be damned by praise that appears fainter with every passing chapter.
  • US Gamer: 4.5 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze isn't the most ambitious game, but it throws its characters into unique and clever challenges with each new level. Nintendo would be pushing it if they went for another Donkey Kong game in this style, but for now, Tropical Freeze can sit alongside Super Mario 3D World as one of the finest platformers of this generation.

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