Author Topic: REVIEWS: DK Jungle Climber  (Read 1478 times)

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Offline Nick DiMola

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REVIEWS: DK Jungle Climber
« on: March 30, 2008, 02:48:13 PM »
DK is back for some more swingin' action.

 Recently, Donkey Kong has become a guinea pig of sorts for crazy new Nintendo ideas and innovations. From playing the bongos, to racing with Wii remote waggling, to unique bongo platforming, DK has seen it all.  

 On the Gameboy Advance DK made a return to his simian roots with the swinging platformer DK: King of Swing.  Nintendo had DK swinging around with only the use of the L and R buttons; each button controlled one of DK’s hands, allowing him to grab pegs and swing himself in every imaginable direction while working towards a level’s exit.  Paon has taken this formula one step further on the DS with DK: Jungle Climber.  

 The premise of this DK adventure is simple: King K. Rool has once again stirred up trouble, this time at Sun Sun Beach. While DK is on vacation there, he discovers that Rool has stolen 5 Crystal Bananas from Xananab, the banana-shaped alien who possessed them. According to Xananab these Crystal Bananas hold mythical powers which Rool hopes to harness. DK, with Diddy and Cranky by his side, decide to help Xananab retrieve the Crystal Bananas from the many island locales bordering Sun Sun Beach.  

 Jungle Climber is a truly unique blend of platforming, trajectory physics, and puzzle solving.  Like King of Swing, DK is controlled with only the L and R buttons. The L button makes DK grab with his left hand and the R button makes him grab with his right. A simultaneous tap on the L and R buttons allows DK to perform a standard jump. However, unlike the original game, you can use the A button to perform an attack. When DK doesn't have Diddy by his side, the A button simply makes DK perform an attack in the direction he’s pointed. If Diddy is on hand, the player can tap the A button twice consecutively to hurl Diddy, performing a secondary attack. The controls present a slight learning curve, although after about an hour of playtime players should be zipping around the pegboards with ease.  

 The graphics presented in DK Jungle Climber should look familiar to anyone who has played the SNES Donkey Kong Country games. Similar sprites are used for the Kong family and many of the locales have a familiar look to them.  Other relics from the DKC series have made their way into Jungle Climber as well.  The patented DK barrel is back, which stores Diddy when he is not in use. The life system is also similar to the DKC games; DK dies in a single hit, and the assist character (in this case Diddy) serves as a second hit point. DK Coins, five banana coins, the K-O-N-G letters, and bananas all make a triumphant return.  

 Jungle Climber also adds an Oil Drum to each level that is used to fuel Funky's plane and grant access to a secret level found on each island. You can only take the flight to the secret level if you have collected every oil drum on the island, giving players incentive to find them all.  Jewels are another new addition; these can be collected from enemies upon defeating them, and they are also found scattered throughout each level. Collect enough of these jewels and the player earns a crystal star which, when activated by a tap on the touch screen, gives DK the ability to fly invincibly through the air. This is a useful tactic for completing a particularly hard section of a level, or grabbing that hard-to-reach item.  Up to three crystal stars can be kept at a time.  

 If you are familiar with the Donkey Kong Country series, you’ll know that collecting items never becomes a collect-a-thon. Jungle Climber is no different.  All items are placed with careful intent and require you to either solve a puzzle to reach a particular item, or perform a set of motions with absolute precision. Because it is easy to miss items on your first run through, the game encourages you to replay the level to collect all of the missed items.  

 Item collection invites the player to make use of an interesting play mechanic that involves remotely controlling Diddy Kong with the actions and movements of DK. When you toss Diddy Kong onto a platform that DK cannot reach, Diddy Kong will not automatically come back to DK as he normally does.  Instead, he continues on his own path while mimicking DK’s movements.  This can get tricky, primarily due to the fact that DK must control Diddy within a very small area while avoiding the normal hazards of the level.  

 DK: Jungle Climber starts off nice and easy, but as you progress through the game its difficulty increases significantly. Thankfully it’s a gradual curve; never once does the game feel too hard or too easy.  Like many of Nintendo’s other games, collecting items becomes the most challenging aspect of later levels.  The average player will most likely not concern themselves with collecting all of the items, but those looking for the ultimate challenge of finding everything will definitely get their fix. Finding each island’s secret level also provides extra challenge for the advanced player.  

 A series of mini-games allow you to further perfect your skills in Challenge Mode, including speed climbing, speed banana collection, banana juggling, and barrel-jumping.  These challenges also cater to the advanced player, giving them the ability to max out high scores and race ghost data to achieve the best possible run. These mini-games are a nice compliment to Adventure mode, providing the perfect solution for those looking for a fun way to truly master Jungle Climber’s wacky control style.  There is also a fun single-card four-player race mode.  

 DK: Jungle Climber is another unique entry in the long line of Donkey Kong offerings from Nintendo.  While technically the sequel to DK: King of Swing, in many ways Jungle Climber feels like a spiritual successor to the Donkey Kong Country series, featuring many of its staple designs, characters and items. If you’re a fan of unique platforming and are willing to take a chance on a very original title, you can't go wrong with DK: Jungle Climber.  With an Adventure Mode chock full of unlockables, a well-implemented Challenge Mode, and four-player single-card multiplayer, it’s bound to keep you coming back for more.

  • An extremely unique experience
  • Lots of unlockables and replay value
  • Single-card, four-player multiplayer
  • Significant upgrade from its predecessor

  •        Cons:
  • Can be a very challenging at times
  • Might be too unconventional for some gamers

  •                Graphics:  8.0
           Jungle Climber’s graphical presentation is reminiscent of Donkey Kong Country, but while its characters look similar its worlds and backgrounds are far more vibrant and colorful.  Its overall look definitely fits the mood of the game. It’s a significant departure from the style of King of Swing, but it hasn’t done any harm.  The use of both screens gives you a larger view of the world.

                   Sound:  6.0
           The music in Jungle Climber is ultimately forgettable. It has some decent sound effects but nothing spectacular.

                   Control:  9.0
           The unique control of the game is obviously its main attraction.  It will remind gaming veterans of Clu Clu Land, but it’s used to much better effect here. The controls feel very natural once you get over the learning curve, and they suit the game perfectly.

                          Gameplay:  9.0
           Though challenging at times, Jungle Climber is very rewarding. Completing some of the later levels and the hidden levels definitely gives one a feeling of accomplishment.  Item collection is handled well, providing extra challenge rather than just a checklist of things to collect. Challenge mode is a good way for the beginner to hone their skills and the expert to test their mastery.


           Lastability:  8.0
           The lengthy single-player mode, Challenge mode, multiplayer mode, and  collectibles, ensure that Jungle Climber will not be finished quickly. Once you complete the game once, you may be compelled to beat it again simply because you can finally enjoy the levels that were previously a learning experience.


           Final:  8.5
           DK: Jungle Climber definitely belongs in your collection if you’re looking for a high challenge factor along with good replayability, but more casual gamers might want to steer clear.  Regardless, this DK entry is unlike anything you’ve played before, and once you get the hang of it you’ll be coming back for more.      

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    Offline vudu

    • You'd probably all be better off if I really were dead.
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    Re: REVIEWS: DK Jungle Climber
    « Reply #1 on: March 31, 2008, 11:03:30 AM »
    Congrats on your first review for NWR!  I didn't read it; maybe later.  :)
    Why must all things be so bright? Why can things not appear only in hues of brown! I am so serious about this! Dull colors are the future! The next generation! I will never accept a world with such bright colors! It is far too childish! I will rage against your cheery palette with my last breath!

    Offline KDR_11k

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    Re: REVIEWS: DK Jungle Climber
    « Reply #2 on: April 01, 2008, 02:25:55 AM »
    I think the ease of attacking makes constantly using attacks a bit too easy. When you had to grab two pieces and hold for a second it took much longer to prepare an attack, now you can attack any time you could jump normally, just that attacks are faster, longer ranged and less vulnerable.

    Offline Nick DiMola

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    Re: REVIEWS: DK Jungle Climber
    « Reply #3 on: April 04, 2008, 11:58:36 AM »
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