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Donkey Kong Country Returns back to reviews
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It's like DKC never left us.
In the pantheon of Donkey Kong Country greatness, Diddy's Kong Quest is still top banana. But Returns is not only a worthy second-placer, it made me feel as though fourteen years hadn't passed since my last side-scrolling stroll through the Northern Kremisphere. The gameplay and artistic aesthetic are both spot-on, the music could use a little polish but a couple of great themes do stand out (I'm thinking Mast Blast and Sticky Situation, though the plentiful remixes of familiar tunes are great, too), and although not all our old friends are back to greet us, the fresh faces we'll be running into definitely feel like a part of of their world—even when they're trying to kill us with some catchy musical hoodoo. And, honestly, do you really think Retro will drop the franchise after just one game? There's a high chance of seeing Dixie Kong and entourage at some point in the future, methinks.

The game is, indeed, very challenging, quite a bit more so than its three predecessors; hidden goodies are remarkably well hidden, and one tiny misstep renders them lost forever—at least until you try the stage again. Not that this is a bad thing by any means; most of us weren't very experienced gamers back in ninety-six, and even if we were, things have changed a lot since then. Retro has taken that into account and created an experience that will make us pull our hair out today as much as the previous installments in the series did years ago. It's matured along with us, and that's a great thing for it to have done; just ask that boy wizard over there. It definitely won't leave fans as dissatisfied as New Super Mario Bros Wii may have.

Nothing left to do now but wait for Tiki Tong to cast his spell on K. Rool...
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