Video Game: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Don't be cranky, Metroid Prime fans; this is the COOLEST Country yet!

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a Wii U platform game produced by Nintendo and Retro Studios, a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns, and the fifth side-scrolling Donkey Kong Country game.

The Snowmads, a horde of rampaging Vikings from the frigid northern seas, invade DK Island and kick the Kongs out of their home—and on Donkey Kong's birthday, no less. Donkey, Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky must then trek across six different islands to reclaim their turf (and undo the magic spell that's turned it into an icy tundra).

Previous Donkey Kong Country composer David Wise returns to the series to compose the soundtrack for the game, replacing Minako Hamano from Returns. On December 2nd, 2013, the game's updated boxart revealed the long-rumored fourth playable character: Cranky Kong, Promoted to Playable for the first time in the series. His previous Returns role as the shopkeeper is now filled by Funky Kong.


Tropes featured in Tropical Freeze include:

  • 2D: Tropical Freeze expands on what Returns did by adding curving paths and Camera Perspective Switch during segments like barrel cannon sequences. Certain Minecart Madness levels also involve jumping back and forth between parallel rails.
  • Acrofatic: Lord Fredrik is so obese his belly jiggles and bounces with his every movement, and yet he can dodge rapidly, run quickly, and leap great distances with apparently little effort.
  • African Chant: The music theme of the level Grassland Groove displays this trope. Notably, the song doesn't loop like a normal theme would do, but instead changes gradually as the player progresses in the level. When the exit is displayed, the music ends with an epic chant of Donkey Kong's name.
  • Airborne Mook: Hootz and its fiery bretheren.
  • Aquatic Mook: Various fish and sharks.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Cranky's pogo cane is able to harm Snowmads with helmets, which would otherwise protect them or even hurt Kongs who jump on them.
  • A Load of Bull: One of the new enemies is Buffaloafer, a Cape buffalo.
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • One of the enemies is a penguin archer who fires fish as projectiles. Diddy can still use his Peanut Popguns, of course, and Dixie gains a gumball gun.
    • Cranky, on the other hand, throws false teeth.
    • Lord Fredrik's horn fires out spikeballs and ice dragons.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Pompy, Bashmaster, and even Lord Fredrik all have killer, intense metal music as their battle themes.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: Naturally, as barrel cannon sequences return; in a unique twist, certain segments will provide a Camera Perspective Switch. Rocket barrel and mine cart segments return as well.
  • Badass Adorable: Dixie Kong. On the badass front, she, like all the other sidekicks, can do pretty much everything DK can in co-op mode. In addition to this, she can use her ponytail like a helicopter, which is generally seen as the most useful of the three sidekicks' special abilities for easily navigating most levels. On the adorable front, it's clear that Retro Studios was really trying to play up the "cute" factor: they gave her great big puppy dog eyes (noticeably bigger than the other characters'), a squeaky high-pitched voice, and several cute mannerisms such as her tendency to giggle a lot and the silly little happy dance she does upon successfully completing a puzzle piece challenge, finishing a level with all KONG letters, etc.
  • Badass Grandpa: Despite his old age, Cranky has no problem keeping up with the younger Kongs.
  • Band Land: 2-3, Horn Top Hop, has you getting lifted by the air coming out of large horns, The end barrel gets sucked into a horn at the end.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bashmaster, the boss of Juicy Jungle is a gigantic polar bear Snowmad wielding a hammer as big as he is. His somewhat more realistic design, compared to the other characters, makes him look downright brutal. Check him out here.
  • Big Bad: The leader of the Snowmads, Lord Fredrik.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Just about every living thing in the Under the Sea levels is bioluminescent.
  • Blow You Away: The Snowmad leader's horn blows the Kongs off their island before freezing it.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The initial E3 2013 trailers and gameplay footage frequently used the Jungle Hijinx theme, DK Island Swing, with the implication that it would be used in the opening Lost Mangrove levels. But later footage revealed that the Lost Mangrove levels would instead feature a new piece of music, which seems to indicate that DK Island Swing was used more to hype up the fans. It's instead used in the secret K levels, unlocked by getting every KONG letter in each world.
  • Boss Subtitles: Every boss has a title that is shown on their figurine. In order, these are:
    • Pompy, the Presumptuous
    • Skowl, the Startling
    • Ba-Boom, the Boisterous
    • Fugu, the Frightening
    • Bashmaster, the Unbreakable
    • Lord Fredrik, the Snowmad King
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Dixie Kong returns as the third playable character alongside DK, Diddy, and Cranky. Funky Kong is also back to take over Cranky's previous role as the shopkeeper.
    • A single type of enemy from the original trilogy (Puftup, the pufferfish from DKC2) returns in Sea Breeze Cove, appearing in Amiss Abyss, Irate Eight, and Shoal Atoll. He's been pretty heavily redesigned, but according to some supplementary material such as the official player's guide, that's really him.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: In single player, as in Returns, while you can have a partner on your back, you're always playing DK by default. Unless you're playing Hard Mode.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Early on, you can hand slap to turn on a bunch of TVs. They have the US and Japanese title screens for Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • Check Point Starvation: The K levels, as per usual. 4-B also qualifies, being the only regular level without checkpoints. The three levels in World 7, Secret Seclusion, also fit. Every level in Hard Mode also becomes this.
  • Circus of Fear: Where you fight Pompy, the Presumptious.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In addition to the red balloons, you can go to Funky's shop to buy the green balloon from the Nintendo 3DS port of Returns and a brand new blue balloon that extends your Oxygen Meter. DK Barrels also change color to indicate which Kong is within.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The first level begins with the player having to shake the controller before the gameplay begins for real, just like in the first level of the previous game.
    • World 6, Donkey Kong Island, is filled with them for players of Returns. Namely, the first eight levels are set respectively on the eight main worlds in the previous game, while the secret temple level lies where the Golden Temple was.
    • In the first water area of the first level, diving completely underwater plays a updated remix of the water levels from Donkey Kong Country 1.
    • In the secret exit of 1-3, Canopy Chaos. You can find Cranky's Victrola from the intro to the original DKC, and it even plays the same tune.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Happens in 6-8 Meltdown Mayhem where the ice doesn't even melt despite being just a few feet above molten lava. The ice only melts if it comes into direct contact with the lava.
  • Cool Old Guy: Cranky Kong, who this time decides to join Donkey, Diddy and Dixie into the adventure.
  • Death Mountain: Autumn Heights, the second island. Instead of being rocky, these mountains have a forested, Bavarian flavor. The titular mountain also has an owl head carved into it, implying the island's take over by the Owl armada of the Snowmads.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Lost Mangroves, the first island. A swampy island filled with shipwrecks and crashed planes.
  • Drop the Hammer: Bashmaster, the boss of Juicy Jungle, wields a giant hammer. It even generates ice shockwaves when he brings it down.
  • Easter Egg:
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: The third world boss is a ninja baboon that can split into three and throw bombs.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Tucks, Tuff Tucks, and Painguins. They make up the bulk of the Snowmad army, so maybe things aren't really better.
  • Fake Longevity: As with the previous game, the extra mode (named "Hard" mode in this case; the levels aren't mirrored like in Returns) must be completed just to get the remaining concept art.
  • Fat Bastard: Lord Fredrik, the Snowmad king. He uses his weight to his advantage in the boss battle against him.
  • Feather Flechettes: Used very often by Skowl, including an unavoidable wave that you must roll into a Barrel Cannon to dodge.
  • Giant Mook: Every Snowmad enemy has one, minus the walruses, and each one of them must be jumped on three times to be beaten.
  • Green Hill Zone: Bright Savannah, in a African-flavored style. Notably, it's not the first world in the game but the third.
  • Grim Up North: The Snowmads moved from the cold northern seas to find a new land to conquer. DK Island happens to be the unlucky selected target.
  • Ground Pound: Cranky Kong can do this with his cane, letting him Goomba Stomp enemies and bounce off spiky surfaces that would damage the other three Kongs.
  • Gusty Glade: A particularly extreme example in the third level of Bright Savannah, where you have to escape a giant tornado.
  • Hailfire Peaks:
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Rabbits make up part of the Snowmads.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: The bosses are no pushovers and are quite challenging, especially the last one. However, you will lose far more lives in the levels.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Various Snowads that wear helmets and wield shields require more hits to defeat.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Bramble Scramble, now with toothy plants and mlons.
  • Helicopter Hair: Just as Diddy can provide DK with a boost via his Jetpack, Dixie can do this for DK with her hair. It also works as a propeller underwater against strong currents.
  • The Hero's Birthday: The Snowmad attack happens on Donkey Kong's birthday. May count as a Significant Reference Date, as 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Donkey Kong Country series.
  • He's Back: David Wise, the composer of the original DKC trilogy, returns to compose for this game. He has since left Rare (the developers of the original trilogy, as well as Donkey Kong 64), and is now independent.
  • Horny Vikings: The Snowmads.
  • Instrument of Murder: Lord Fredrik's horn, which can expand in size to fire out spikeballs as well as ice dragons.
  • Interface Spoiler: Completing the Kong Temple levels with all Puzzle Pieces will unlock its own image gallery separate from the worlds they're placed in. By going into the gallery early on in the game, You'll see that the gallery is represented by the Mysterious Relics all placed together, each with a symbol representing a world. This will give you a hint that there will be a total of seven worlds in the game to beat even though you haven't collected all the Mysterious Relics yet.
  • Jungle Japes: Juicy Jungle is a mixture between this and Level Ate, due to the fruit motif. Note that this is the fifth island (most DK games usually has a jungle level in the first world).
  • Kaizo Trap: Indeed, a few of the levels will pull this on you if you don't jump for the barrel quick enough.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook:
    • Snowmads with horned helmets cannot be jumped on, but a roll will kill them.
    • Snowmads with spears cannot be rolled into from the front, but can be jumped on.
    • Then there are Snowmads with both horned helmets AND spears, which must be hit from behind. There's also a variant with a 2-sided club which can only be rolled into when he raises it to attack you.
  • Idle Animation: DK breaks out a 3DS if you make him sit still long enough.
  • Level Ate: World 5, in a fruit fashion. Overlaps with Eternal Engine for one level. The last level and Boss Battle also overlap with Slippy-Slidey Ice World, featuring a mix between regular ice, frozen fruits, and popsicles (with that last one becoming important for setting up the boss fight).
  • Limit Break: The Kong Pow. Collecting bananas gradually fills a gauge on the HUD that, when full, allows the Kongs to transform all onscreen enemies into extra lives, recovery hearts, or Banana Coins. It takes two characters to pull off the move, though, so Donkey Kong is out of luck if he's by himself.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The famous Stickerbrush Symphony theme returns, but only plays at the beginning and end of a Rocket Barrel stage.
  • Mercy Mode: Averted. The Super Guide from the previous game is absent.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nintendo Hard: Later stages show no mercy. You will die a lot.
  • No Flow in CGI: According to producer Kensuke Tanabe, the developers decided to take advantage of the Wii U's power by averting this, despite highly increased development time. The E3 2013 reveal of the game saw Satoru Iwata making a special point of calling attention to DK's new fur physics.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Much like the previous game, upon defeating a boss, you're treated to a little mini-game where Donkey Kong beats the boss to a pulp before sending them flying with a Twinkle In The Sky.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The juice-making factory in Juicy Jungle has unguarded tanks, exposed juicer blades, and animals swimming in the juice.
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • Donkey Kong Island, where every level is themed on one of the area settings that were found on DK Island in Returns, but frozen over.
    • Bramble Scramble, named after the level of the same name from Donkey Kong Country 2.
    • The final level before Frederik has an eerie laughter in the background. Said laughter belongs to Tiki Tong.
  • Ominous Owl: Skowl, the boss of Autumn Heights, as well as his minions, the Hootz.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Now averted with the Rocket Barrel and Minecart, which now take two hits (three if you bought a Crash Guard), and can also be healed if you pick up a heart. Played straight in Hard Mode, as the vehicles and your Kong do become a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The leader of the Snowmads uses a magic horn to summon / control a gigantic ice dragon. The dragon's icy breath freezes over Donkey Kong Island, turning it into a more suitable home for the Snowmads.
  • Oxygen Meter: The Kongs can be seen making use of Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles in swimming segments.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Some of the Snowmads wear pelts. The most notable example is their leader, Lord Fredrik, who wears a fur cape.
  • Power Up Mount: Rambi the rhino returns to fulfill his usual role.
  • Promoted to Playable: Cranky Kong, of all people. After boasting about his gaming skills for years, it looks like the old curmudgeon finally has to put his money where his mouth is.
  • Puffer Fish: The fourth world boss, Fugu the Frightening, uses its sucking and blowing powers against the Kongs, and can also turn into an underwater wrecking ball.
  • Punny Name: The Snowmads. Their name is a portmanteau of "snow" and "nomad."
  • Recursive Canon: One of the games Donkey Kong may play on his 3DS within his Idle Animation is Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.note 
  • Rhino Rampage: Rambi, of course.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Lots of them in the cave levels, especially Rodent Ruckus.
  • Rule of Three:
    • The walrus and giant owl enemies need to be jumped on three times to defeat.
    • Each boss has three phases, and almost all of them need to be hit three times to enter the next phase or defeat them if it's the last.
  • Scenery Gorn: World 6, where you get to see all of the locations from the first game after they got turned into a frozen wasteland.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds in the first game were pretty darn good and the extra power the Wii U provides just makes them look even better.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Donkey Kong Island, the sixth island, because of what the Snowmads did to it.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Dixie Kong is the only playable female character. Though it's still an improvement over Returns, which didn't even have any female characters at all, playable or otherwise.
  • Spin Attack: Along with Rolling Attack on land, the Kongs can spin underwater to attack enemies.
  • The Spiny: Snowmads with horned helmets will hurt you if you jump on them. Ditto goes for owls on fire and those flaming porcupines in the Savannah levels. Cranky's pogo cane bypasses the horns and allows him to kill them, but the fire enemies will still hurt him.
  • Sudden Name Change: The checkpoint pig, originally known only as "Tutorial Pig" in Donkey Kong Country Returns, is given the much more memorable name Professor Chops.
  • Temple of Doom: The Brutal Bonus Levels you unlock for collecting all of the KONG letters in a given world, just like in Returns.
  • Threatening Shark: Sharks return from the previous game, but with the addition of swimming, they will now pursue Kongs if they are in the same body of water.
  • Truth in Television: While it seems kinda strange that some of the cave levels in the second world have giant blocks and wheels of cheese in them, some varieties of cheeses are actually aged in caves.
  • Turns Red: All the bosses do this, but Bashmaster literally turns purple as he is closer to defeat. Justified because you keep dunking him in the purple juice every time you hit him.
  • Under the Sea: Sea Breeze Cove, the fourth island. Underwater levels make a comeback after Returns opted for Super Drowning Skills instead.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • After the backlash against the Tikis for replacing the popular Kremlings as villains, it's a little surprising to see the developers again replacing them with the Snowmads. However, the Snowmads have been much better received than the Tikis, largely because they're anthropomorphic animals with a seafaring culture that actually look like they could take Donkey Kong in a fight, like their predecessors, the Kremlings. It helps that their boss music is freaking amazing. The opinion that the Snowmads are even better than the Kremlings is frequent as well.
    • When Nintendo and Retro revealed that there's a fourth playable character not seen in the E3 trailer, just about everybody assumed it'd be either Kiddy Kong (the fourth protagonist of the SNES trilogy) or Funky Kong (a very popular Ensemble Darkhorse who had previously been The Unexpected in Mario Kart Wii). Almost nobody expected Cranky Kong, although he's been pretty well-received.
  • Variable Mix:
    • A more relaxing, atmospheric version of a level's theme will play when you are underwater. In addition, a large amount of stages add more instruments as you go along.
    • World 2-6 (Wing Ding) has two versions of the track for when you're on the ground and zip-lining along the vines.
    • World 4-4 (Irate Eight) has four tracks playing throughout the level. One at the beginning, one while underwater, a remix of Lockjaw's Locker, and a tense theme played while being chased by the octopus.
    • Mountain Mania and Frantic Fields gain extra drums when you're riding Rambi.
  • Wolfpack Boss: Ba-boom, who splits into three individual baboons that attack you. Subverted by the last phase, where only one of them remains and you can only hurt the one that isn't a "ghost".

Cranky Kong: Bah! You kids and your high-definition video games. Back in my day, we didn't have any definition!