Donkey Kong Jungle Climber
Our fat monkey friend Donkey Kong has gone away from the right path for some time already. His last real platform game was released a couple of years ago, but he did manage to keep us busy with all kinds of spin-offs like Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Donkey Konga, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and the quite amusing GBA-game DK: King of Swing. That latest one now has received a sequel which is also the first game of the primate on the DS. Does DK: Jungle Climber manage to amuse us and make good use of the DS? Let’s see!
It quickly becomes clear that Nintendo didn’t really pay much attention on making up a story behind DK’s newest adventure. Xananab, a talking banana, has fled his homeplanet looking for help. King K. Rool, the leader of the Kremlings and also the only one to succeed in being fatter than Donkey Kong, has stolen the extremely powerful Crystal Bananas and wants to use them for evil. Oh noez!
DK: Jungle Climber comes close to a platformer except for the controls. With the R-button you go right, L is of course left, and a push of both of them will make you jump. Finally there’s the A-button to attack. Most of the time, however, you’ll be in the air, slinging from here to there. In no time you’ll be slinging through the levels but the big missing part in the controls is the touchscreen. This is hardly used and only now and then you’ll have to tick it to activate a special move that allows DK to fly. Talk about useless…
The second screen is nicely used to extend the playing field immensely in heigth. The biggest, and ingenious, change compared to King of Swing is the company of Diddy Kong, the small friend of DK. He can travel along with Donkey and do more powerful attacks or carry things. There are wings, an all-destroying hammer, a flamethrower, …
Slinging from left to right may not seem the most fascinating thing to spend your time with but it is. The game has all sorts of puzzles and the levels also have their own theme depending on the islands they’re divided into. These themes make the game world very varied and fun to look at.
Visually everything looks quite nice and luckily the devs chose nicely polished 2D graphics instead of bad 3D ones. Some more work in little details like effects wouldn’t have hurt though. Sound-wise we need to be happy with several hip jungle beats and warm monkeysounds.
What makes many good games fail is the short lifespan and that’s also the case here. I’m in the midst of my exams and managed to finish the game in one single day during my breaks (although I do have to admit that I didn’t study all that much). An average gamer will have finished it in about 6 or 7 hours and although you can replay it to look for all the hidden coins and such this can’t be called exciting. There are also a couple of minigames that try to keep you busy but after five times or so these won’t be able to keep you interested either I fear.
I’ve always had mixed feelings with this type of games. You race through it due to the addiction but just when things get spicy they’re over. In any case, a game that can be finished in one day is way too short. The puzzle elements make that you won’t immediately start over again for a second run so in the end you’ll be paying a lot for something that will lay in your closet after a day or two. However, you really should play it at least once so I suggest to definitely rent it some time.