While most E3 2010 show goers flocked to Nintendo's 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword lines, the people that actually spent time with Donkey Kong Country Returns were extremely happy with what they played. The gameplay was tight and satisfying, even at this early stage. The developers at Retro Studio have done a fine job at maintaining the sharp game mechanics of the original and adding some new twists. The end result should be another excellent game in Nintendo's 2010 holiday lineup.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is a side-scrolling platform game with the traditional DK elements of running, jumping, and climbing trees. Adding some variety are railed driving missions where the Kongs ride a mine cart. In single-player mode, you alternate between controlling Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. They play just how they look; Donkey Kong is stronger but slower while Diddy Kong is faster but weaker. Donkey Kong can blow powerful gusts of air and make the ground rumble. Diddy Kong has a jet pack and his trusty peanut popgun.
Although I didn't get to try it, I'm really excited for the game's cooperative mode. With different characters, clever levels, and classic gameplay mechanics, Donkey Kong Country Returns' cooperative mode should be a fine throwback to the days when cooperative games were a living room experience and not an online one. If it works the way I imagine it to in my head (and it should, despite my minor brain damage), this game will be a blast to play with a friend.
To be completely honest, I'm surprised that this game played as well as it did. That's not a knock on Retro at all, but rather a compliment. Rare did an outstanding job with the original game, giving Retro some really large shoes to fill (about size 21). The demo at E3 2010 shows that Retro is more than up for the challenge. Donkey Kong Country Returns brings all the classic platforming elements of the original and adds enough twists to keep things fresh.