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Video Game / Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

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The Kongs have landed in the coolest Country yet!

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (released as Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze in Japanese) is a Wii U platform game produced by Nintendo and Retro Studios, a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns. It is the fifth side-scrolling Donkey Kong Country game, and the sixth overall. The game was originally slated for release in November 2013, before being pushed to February 2014.

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).

Veteran Donkey Kong Country series composer David Wise returned to the series to compose the soundtrack for the game, replacing Minako Hamano from Returns.


In May 2018, an Updated Re-release of the game for the Nintendo Switch was released, with the biggest addition being that Funky Kong, like Cranky before him, had been Promoted to Playable, with his surfboard providing many unique abilities for him to use.

Tropes featured in Tropical Freeze include:

  • 2½D: 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.
  • 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.
  • Absentee Actor: Much like the previous game, King K. Rool and the Kremlings are nowhere to be seen here.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • Advertised Extra: Funky Kong, apart from being Promoted to Playable in the Switch version, makes no appearance in the game's cinematics and only with his own model-animation for boss battles.
  • 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 brethren.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The last world, Donkey Kong Island, is a review of every world in Donkey Kong Country Returns, with each regular stage being based around the most iconic challenges found in that particular area in the first game. The Final Boss, Lord Fredrik, is also fought where Tiki Tong was in the previous game. The secret levels are brand-new, however.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • As the number of figurines to collect increases each time you clear a world, and getting unique figurines is a Luck-Based Mission as they're only available through the Capsule Toy Machine in Funky Kong's shop (with no real way to manipulate the chances of getting a unique one), Funky will stop the player from using the machine if all the unique figurines currently available have been collected, preventing them from wasting their hard-earned Banana Coins on the machine.
    • The Switch version allows you to access your entire inventory in the middle of a stage, meaning you no longer have to decide what items to bring with you into a stage or worry about using up the items you've brought with you.
  • 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.
  • Artifact Mook: Screaming Pillars are back, but on an entirely different island and in spite of the rest of the Tiki Tak Tribe being nowhere to be seen.
  • 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 everything DK can in co-op mode. In addition to this, she can spin her ponytail like a helicopter to either extend the height and distance of her jumps or swim through strong currents underwater, 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.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Kong POW move turns all onscreen enemies into either Extra Life Balloons, Gold Hearts, or Banana Coins (depending on which partner DK has).
  • Balloonacy:
    • As in the previous game, Red Balloons lift Kongs back to the last checkpoint if they die.
    • Green Balloons return Kongs to the stage if they fall into a Bottomless Pit.
    • Funky Kong ponders how many balloons he needs to attach to his surfboard to get some air if the player buys Red Balloons from his shop.
  • 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.
  • Bee Afraid: The Buzzies are humongous, stubby bee enemies that often chase after Donkey Kong and his friends, trying to sting them with their stingers.
  • Big Bad: The leader of the Snowmads, Lord Fredrik.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Several living creatures in the Under the Sea levels are bio-luminescent.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: The Snowmads invade the DK Isles and kick the Kongs out whilst they're celebrating Donkey Kong's birthday.
  • Blackout Basement: The screen goes dark a few times in the level "Rodent Ruckus".
  • Blow That Horn: Lord Fredrik, leader of the Snowmads, has a magical horn that shoots ice, which he uses to plunge Donkey Kong Island into Endless Winter.
  • 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
  • Bring It:
    • The Kongs do various gestures relating to the trope before throwing down with a boss. Funky Kong from the Switch version embodies the trope more traditionally, beckoning the boss with both hands.
    • The giant grasshopper enemy, Punchy Paddy, gestures such to the Kongs as it glides down after a jump.
  • Brutish Bulls: One of the new enemies is Buffaloafer, a Cape buffalo.
  • 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.
    • Now that Funky's playable in the Switch version, the shop is now owned by a parrot named Tawks.
  • 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 American and Japanese title screens for Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • Checkpoint 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.
  • Circus Synths: The very first boss level, Big Top Bop, has you fighting an ill-tempered sea lion in a circus tent. You'd think the music would be lighthearted, right? Nope. The theme for this level is straight up metal, with electric guitars accompanied by synths.
  • 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. The letters on DK Barrels also change color to indicate which Kong is within: a blue DD for Diddy, a pink DX for Dixie, and a yellow CK for Cranky.
  • Console Cameo: The same as the last game, with one of DK's idle animations being to take out a Nintendo handheld and start playing it, although this time he's upgraded his DS to a 3DS. If you're playing the Switch version, he takes out a Switch instead.
  • 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.
    • In the first water area of the first level, diving completely underwater plays a updated remix of the water levels from Donkey Kong Country.
    • Dixie's gumball gun is a sly reference to her Idle Animation (chewing bubblegum) in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. One of her idle animations is an air guitar, referencing her victory animation in Donkey Kong Country 2.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Snaggles, Mimics, Screaming Pillars, and Squiddicus are returning enemies from the first Donkey Kong Country Returns. The Big Squeekly also makes a cameo appearance, frozen in a block of ice in 6-4, Blurry Flurry.
  • 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.
  • Creepy Circus Music: Big Top Bop, the first boss theme, is an epic metal song that uses some very circusy sounding instruments in some parts. Although the effect is more empowering than creepy, it's still played in a minor key.
  • 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.
  • Dreadful Dragonfly: The Monocle Monicas, which appear in the Lost Mangroves, are big pink dragonflies wearing a monocle. They are as big as Donkey Kong and move in predeterminate patterns at high speed.
  • 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:
  • Endless Winter: This is how the Snowmad Tribe successfully conquered Donkey Kong's island, which was a warm tropical island in all previous Donkey Kong Country games. Lord Fredrik turns it into a cold tundra (with the help of his magical Viking horn capable of releasing dragon-shaped ice projectiles) so his people can live there. The aim of the Kongs is to return to their homeland and confront Fredrik to claim it back and find a way to restore its former warm state.
  • Eternal Engine: Most of Juicy Jungle is a factory where large fruits are being mashed into juice..
  • 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.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The game has Donkey Kong's peaceful tropical island taken over by the Snowmads, a villainous group of Viking-like arctic animals, led by Lord Fredrik, a Wily Walrus who uses his magical horn to cover the island in ice and snow and blow the Kongs away. The whole objective of the game is to help the Kongs get back to the island, defeat the Snowmads, and reverse the Endless Winter placed on the island.
  • Fake Longevity: As with the last 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.
  • Forest of Perpetual Autumn: The second world, Autumn Heights, is heavily based on a fall theme. All of its component levels are thus inspired by autumn themes, but this is especially evident in Horn Top Hop, the third level. This consists of a forest of towering birch trees with red and gold leaves. A solid canopy of autumn leaves marks the top of the level, more carpet the forest floor, and large leaves fall to earth periodically, providing temporary platforms to jump on.
  • Giant Mook: Every Snowmad enemy has one, minus the walruses, and each one of them must be jumped on three times to be beaten.
  • Given Name Reveal: The tutorial pig from the last game has been given the name "Professor Chops".
  • Glowing Flora: Most of the light in Crumble Cavern is provided by biolumescent mushroom that adds a mysterious atmosphere.
  • Green Hill Zone: Bright Savannah, in an 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.
  • Grimy Water: 6-2 (Seashore War) introduces freezing water, which is helpfully indicated at the level's start by a sign depicting a crossed-out DK swimming. If a Kong falls into it, they take a hit of damage and get launched back to the last platform they were on.
  • 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.
  • Guide Dang It!: During a roll, you can jump even without touching the ground, in a sort of Double Jump. The game will never tell you this, but it's required to grab a few collectibles without cheesing them with Diddy or Dixie's flight skills. However, as this techinque existed in the original SNES and Gameboy trilogies(and was necessary in several levels of DKC2), this may be an artifact of the original '90s gameplay.
  • 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 Snowmads that wear helmets and wield shields require more hits to defeat.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Bramble Scramble, now featuring toothy plants as well.
  • 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.
  • Hornet Hole: The level Beehive Brawl in Juicy Jungle is a bee colony set within a gigantic beehive. There are numerous nectar waterfalls with falling platforms, smaller beehives camouflaged with a grass layer, and bees transporting grass and dirt.
  • Horny Vikings: The Snowmads.
  • Idle Animation: DK breaks out a 3DS (or a Nintendo Switch in the Updated Re-release) if you make him sit still long enough.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: In the World 5 level (Fruity Factory), several conveyor belts transport gigantic watermelons (which are uniquely cube-shaped instead of elliptical), and some of them are placed between pits with grinders that crush other fruits. Others have large axes that cut the watermelons, which make them even more dangerous.
  • 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.
  • Jiggle Physics: 5-5, Jelly Jamboree, demonstrates this with the gelatinous cubes that make up the main gimmick of the level. At one point you shoot your way into a pile of them and they all jiggle as you pound on them in order to break free and continue.
  • 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). Lost Mangroves also mixes this with Palmtree Panic.
  • Jungle Jazz: The jazzy Rocket Barrel is back from Returns, and this time it's actually used in jungle levels rather than just being associated with the jungle-dwelling Kongs.
  • Kaizo Trap: Indeed, a few of the levels will pull this on you if you don't jump for the barrel quick enough.
  • Kill Streak: Like the previous games, hitting 3 stomps in a row without touching the ground will grant Banana Coins, while reaching a combo of 8 rewards Extra Life Balloons.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook:
    • Snowmads with horned helmets cannot be jumped on without the use of Cranky's cane, 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.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The level "Scorch & Torch" in the Savannah. Additionally there is the Volcano on Donkey Kong Island returning from the first game.
  • 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).
  • Level in the Clouds: The seventh world, Secret Seclusion, features three levels set in the sky, and they're also Brutal Bonus Levels. Features include propellers that start moving upon contact, small clouds that blow the Kongs upward, ancient floating setpieces, and (in the second level) brief sequences based on the Minecart Madness and Rocket Ride levels.
  • 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, depending on which partner you currently have. 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 Stickerbush Symphony theme returns, but only plays at the beginning and end of a Rocket Barrel stage.
    • 2-4, Sawmill Thrill, has a track that only plays when you respawn from the second checkpoint. It lasts about a minute before looping, but unless you stop to listen to it instead of jumping into the minecart right away (which changes the music back to the main level music), you won't hear more than the first 5 seconds.
  • Loot-Making Attack: In addition to items obtained from defeating at least 3 enemies in a row, the KONG POW ability turns all enemies on-screen into items (Extra Life Balloons for Diddy, Gold Hearts for Dixie, and Banana Coins for Cranky).
  • Meaningless Lives: There are many, many ways to rack up extra lives, such as Diddy's Kong Pow skill (which turns all on-screen enemies into 1-ups), purchasing them from Funky Kong, and of course the many, many ways to collect 100 bananas. A halfway diligent player can have 99 lives before they even complete the first world. It helps, because this game is still pretty Nintendo Hard.
  • Mercy Mode:
    • Averted in the original Wii U version. The Super Guide from the previous game is absent.
    • In the Remaster for the Switch, Funky Kong got Promoted to Playable. Not only does Funky have 5 hearts at default, but he also has all the special abilities of the other Kongs, essentially making playing as him the Easy Mode of the game. You can also play as DK and the other Kongs in this mode as well, but you're granted an extra heart for each Kong for a grand total of 3 when DK is alone, and 6 when partnered. Other perks include a more effective invincibility potion for sale, K-O-N-G letters staying collected if you die, and the option to skip a level after dying in it a certain amount of times.
  • Minecart Madness: Minecart stages return in this game but are now played in a 2½D perspective.
  • Monster in the Ice: In the level "Blurry Flurry", the Mega Squeekly enemy from the previous game can be seen in the background encased in a giant block of ice.
  • Monstrous Seal: Pompy the Presumptuous is a circus sea lion who serves as an entertainer for the villainous Snowmads. He's surprisingly scary for the first boss: not only is he enormous - one of the biggest members of the Snowmads - but he's one of the only three bosses in the game to get heavy metal music - the other two are the penultimate and Final Boss!
  • Musical Nod: This game introduces a new level complete song, but reuses Returns' level complete song when you beat a Kong Temple level.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • There's an overt reference to the obscure Donkey Kong 3, with a stage from the game and Stanley the Bugman's bug sprayer appearing in the factory.
    • Sometimes when you leave the shop in the Switch version as Funky, Tawks will encourage you to give the Snowmads the "old banana slamma".
    • Funky's planes have the Funky's Stadium logo on them (previously seen in Mario Kart Wii).
    • A subtle reference to the fact that Cranky Kong is the original arcade Donkey Kong: His CK barrels have the same font and color scheme as the title of Donkey Kong '94.
  • Nintendo Hard: This is especially true in the later stages. In those stages, you're gonna 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:
    • Sawmill Thrill. What kind of sawmill would allow minecart tracks to run through it, let alone ones that are in easy reach of the blades?
    • The juice-making factory in Juicy Jungle has unguarded tanks, exposed juicer blades, and animals swimming in the juice.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Both Bashmaster the polar bear, and the ice dragon look realistic for the setting.
  • 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.
  • No Sympathy: When Funky accidentally causes Bashmaster's Popsicle to be eaten by piranhas, he crosses his arms and makes a "hey, shit happens" kind of look.
  • 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: In contrast to their original Super Not-Drowning Skills, the Kongs have these underwater. It lasts about 30 seconds and leads to them rapidly taking damage until they die or resurface if it runs out. Fortunately, there are Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles around for them to breathe with, and Funky Kong in the Switch port averts it completely; being able to stay underwater as long as he likes thanks to his scuba-diving gear.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: How could the Kongs refill their Oxygen Meter without those?
  • Painful Pointy Pufferfish:
    • Sea Breeze Cove has numerous globefish enemies called Pufftups. When deflated, they can be defeated by a corkscrew attack like most other fishes, but when puffed up, they are covered with quills, preventing the Kongs from directly touching them. Only Cranky Kong's cane will be able to defeat them.
    • The boss Fugu is a giant pufferfish which can inflate to tremendous sizes. It is covered with spikes and the Kongs can only attack its spikeless rear, or else they will be damaged.
    • The Fish Poker Pops wield clubs with yellow pufferfishes attached at both end, which will damage the Kongs.
  • Palmtree Panic: The Lost Magroves combines this with Jungle Japes.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: Some of the Snowmads wear pelts. The most notable example is their leader, Lord Fredrik, who wears a fur cape.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Dixie and Diddy's barrel font colours are pink and blue, respectively.
  • Power Up Mount: Rambi the rhino returns to fulfill his usual role.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: Tropical Freeze has only two pre-rendered cutscenes — the intro and the ending.
  • 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. This also applies to Funky Kong in the Switch version.
  • 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.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: World 4 - Sea Breeze Cove has Underwater Ruins, statues, relics, and still-functioning mechanisms strewn all over the place, hinting at some sort of ancient Atlantean-based civilization that once thrived there. Of course, this being a simple Donkey Kong platformer where the story is only focused on the Kongs and their adversaries, no history of these ruins and how they came to be is told. They're just there for Scenery Porn.
  • 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.
    • Starting from the third consecutive jump, the player is rewarded for damaging enemies by jumping on them without touching the ground.
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • 3-4, Scorch 'n' Torch. You know those grassy plains you've been running through in the past few levels? Picture them, except on fire.
    • 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.
  • Sea Hurtchin: Giant purple Sea Urchins appear as obstacles in several Under the Sea levels, both as immobile threats and floating around in a set movement pattern. Only Cranky Kong's cane stands a chance against them. Fugu can spawn several of these during its battle.
  • Sea Mine: Some are encountered in Irate Eight. They are set off when DK swims near them and blast pieces of shrapnel when they explode.
  • Sequel Escalation: The action in the previous game was set on DK Island. Here, it's extended to five more islands.
  • Shamu Fu: Various Snowmads wield fishes as weapons:
    • The Fish Poker Pops wields pufferfishes attached at both ends.
    • The Chum Chucker Charlie throw fishes at enemies.
    • The Archies' and their variants use fishes (or fishbones) as arrows.
    • The Big Sphen blows silver butterflyfishes through a horn.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Kensuke Tanabe, the game's producer, stated that the pluck-and-carry mechanic is carried over from Super Mario Bros. 2, which he also produced.
    • Cranky Kong's gameplay style involves using his cane as a pogo stick. Sound familiar?
    • One of the savannah levels takes place in the middle of a parade full of papercraft animals extremely similar to those from The Lion King Broadway musical. The music is also very Lion King-esque.
    • During DK's Idle Animation of him playing a 3DS, you can actually hear sounds from the following games: Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
    • Funky Kong's description of the Crash Guard: "Vehicle Trouble? It's dangerous to go alone — take one of these!" Cranky Kong had previously referenced the phrase in Returns.
    • Funky Kong mentions the Extra Heart item as a "container", referencing the Heart Container item from The Legend of Zelda series.
    • One stage name is Swinger Flinger, possibly a call out to Clinger Winger from another Nintendo Hard platformer, Battletoads.
  • Shown Their Work: The Switch version has an Idle Animation for Funky Kong where he eats a banana then uses the peel to shine his surfboard. Indeed, the humble banana peel makes for a great polishing agent for all sorts of surfaces.
  • Sizable Snowflakes: Up to Eleven in Forest Folly, where there are some eight-branched snowflakes are bigger than Donkey Kong and are hazardous to the touch. Near the end of the level, even bigger ones are seen falling from the sky and can actually destroy any platform.
  • 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.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: Faint sleigh bells are heard in the "Freezie Breezie", which plays during the icy Forest Folly and Icicle Arsenal levels.
  • Spelling Bonus: The series-wide K-O-N-G letters return in this game, as usual. Like in Returns, collecting all four of them in every level of a world unlocks a Brutal Bonus Level with a secret reward.
  • 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.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Funky Kong in the Switch Updated Re-release has no Oxygen Meter and as such can stay underwater however long he pleases. Somehow, all he needs is a snorkel to be able to stay underwater indefinitely.
  • Swordfish Sabre: The Saw Mamas are sawfish enemies whose pronged rostrums cause damage to Donkey Kong, even when he performs a screw attack.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: In World 4-B (Shoal Atoll), as you collect keys, more enemies inexplicably appear throughout the stage in earlier rooms you've already cleared.
  • Temple of Doom: The Brutal Bonus Levels you unlock for collecting all of the KONG letters in a given world, just like in Returns.
  • Tentacled Terror: The Squiddicus is one big octopus. It actively tries to harm the Kongs in Irate Eight.
  • 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 after taking a few hits, indicated by emitting Briffits and Squeans and, for some of them, literally changing color, like Pompey turning from lavender to a pale red, or Bashmaster turning purple because he keeps slipping into the purple fruit juice surrounding the arena when you hit him. Every boss gains new attacks or mixes up their existing ones after doing so, like Pompey's fish-summoning attack having him throw larger fish and sea urchins, or Skowl's Feather Flechettes getting launched in multiple barrages at a time.
  • Twinkle in the Sky: Like last game, the Kongs deliver a beatdown to bosses before sending them flying.
  • Under the Sea: Sea Breeze Cove, the fourth island. Underwater levels make a comeback after Returns opted for Super Drowning Skills instead.
  • 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. The normal one has more percussion, while the zipline one is more airy.
    • 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.
  • Wily Walrus: Lord Frederik is a walrus who leads the Snowmads, who take over Donkey Kong's island by freezing it. He is Obviously Evil from head to toe, thanks to features such as his incredibly deep grunts and roars, his fur cape, and his Glowing Eyes of Doom. He's also one of 3 bosses in the game to get a heavy metal boss theme. Some of his Mooks are walruses too.
  • Windmill Scenery: The Autumn Heights level Windmill Hills obviously features many, many windmills, many of which are carrying platforms on which DK can land.
  • 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".
  • "YEAH!" Shot: A rare villainous version. If you decide to quit the game during the Game Over sequence, the Painguin Tucks keeping the defeated Kong frozen in a block of ice will do this.

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


Video Example(s):


DKCTF Beehive Brawl

A level full of honey, giant bees, and beehives. Let's hope DK isn't afraid of insects.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / HornetHole

Media sources: