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Recently Played See More

Kirby's Dream Land 3
Kirby's Dream Land 3

May 24

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest

May 20

Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country

May 18

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

May 15

Kirby's Star Stacker
Kirby's Star Stacker

May 11

Recently Reviewed See More

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

For the longest time, this was in my top 5 Kirby games. I got this on the Wii U virtual console back in the day, and remember enjoying it a lot. I also remember that I used save states on certain parts and was annoyed at other parts of the game but I generally loved the game's aesthetic and vibe, I guess those aspects overshadowed the bad parts in my mind. What do I think of the game now though? It's not bad at all, but it does have some really annoying issues that nowadays do hamper my experience.

Let's talk about the gameplay first and foremost. Compared to Superstar, it's a big downgrade. Kirby's running speed is very fast, but his walking speed is incredibly slow. This wouldn't usually be an issue however, a lot of them the camera won't pan at the start of a new area until you've gotten until the edge of the screen. Unless you're as careful as can be, if an enemy is there it will hit you. This never happened at all in Superstar. When Kirby floats and gets out of a float, he loses all momentum he's gained and will basically stop in place. Maybe this is so you don't spam the float but it ruins the flow of the gameplay a bit and is an annoyance since Superstar also never did this. It's also incredibly easy to get hit in this game, not only because or the whole screen having to catch up with Kirby, but because the invincibility frames last like a second or less so it's so easy to just get comboed if you're unlucky. This is something I noticed even back in the day, you get hit A LOT in this game and it's quite annoying. One last thing this game downgraded from Superstar, and this one isn't as bad as the other things I mentioned (at least for me) is Kirby's moveset. Kirby goes back to only having one basic move per copy ability. While this is naturally a downgrade compared to Superstar, the animal friends return from Dreamland 2 and do make up for this a bit I think.

Not only are Rick, Kine and Coo back from Dreamland 2, this game adds three new animal friends as well. Nago the cat, Pitch the bird and ChuChu the octopus are the new additions and they're all very solid. Nago is actually my favorite of the six, cuz he feels the best to control but also because he has a very helpful triple jump. Pitch doesn't really have any abilities but he is a cute little guy. ChuChu can only float a couple of times at once but she has the ability to hang from ceilings (it only really gets used once tho lol). Anyways, like Dreamland 2, Dreamland 3 gives each animal friend their own specific take on the copy abilities. With six animal friends now, and 8 copy abilities, that's 48 unique animal friend abilities. There are way less copy abilities in this game compared to Superstar, however with this many animal friend abilities, I feel like it never gets boring since you're more than likely always discovering new ones throughout the game which is fun.

Going into the level's themselves, they aren't great tbh. A good chunk of them are very simple with enemies littered throughout. The level design is way too basic and can get boring some of the time (mostly some of world 3 and 4). They try to combat this with the game's main collectable, the heart-stars, but this can also be a mixed bag. Early on they aren't bad. Each world has six stages, and each of the six stages use the same heart-star conventions. The first always deals with flowers. The second always has you bringing a specific copy ability or animal friend to some part of the stage and interacting with whatever. The third has you playing a minigame a way into the stage. The fourth has you collecting a single object in the stage and bringing it to the end. The fifth has you bringing a specific animal friend to the end of the stage so they can be with their girlfriend/boyfriend. And the 6th has you collecting several objects in the level and bringing them to the end character. Yeah, you get a heart-star from a character at the end of the stage..and they can be pretty fun to see. Mostly because this game cross overed with other Nintendo properties like ROB the Robot and Metroid. Anyways, heart-stars aren't usually too bad to get but the endgame has some really annoying ones. The last couple minigames are like annoying as balls to do without save stating, otherwise you have to redo the stage each time you lose, so I decided to just save state again like I did all the way back in the day. That plus others can just be plain cryptic, and yeah..the collectables aren't super fun to get some of the time.

I know I've spent most of this review complaining so far, and yeah, the gameplay probably is the weakest part of this game, but some of the other aspects are fantastic and make up for the gameplay a bit. The visuals for example are amazing in this game. I still think Yoshi's Island is the best-looking Super Nintendo game, however this is right next to that. This game is a coloring book come to life and it's so nice to look at. It fits Kirby perfectly too and I really wish the modern games tried to do something like this again. Besides the amazing art style, this game is just really charming in general. Whether it's all the animal friend's reactions to Kirby picking other friends instead of them, or the bosses of each world standing idle not fighting you after you purified them by getting every heart-star in the world. Gameplay be damned, it's clear the Kirby3 team were passionate about the actual world and characters. I also always loved the atmosphere in this game. Idk if it's because of the cutesy art style combined with Dark Matter as an antagonist, but this game always felt a bit off in a way I really liked. I don't know how to describe it, but Dreamland 3 fans will probably understand what I mean.

The bosses in general are solid. You have the usual Wispy Woods and some other cool ones. Besides the introduction of Ado (who is basically just Adeline before Adeline), Dark Matter and Zero are great final bosses to the Dreamland trilogy. Dark Matter is cool ofc but Zero is very creepy especially for a Kirby game. The fact it's a giant white sphere that bleeds as you attack it, and the fact its last final form is its eyeball ripped out of the sphere, all bloody and everything, it's so unlike Kirby and just gives the game this eerie feeling I love.

The music in this game is also super good and drives the atmosphere home even more. My favorite songs were probably Grass Land 1, Grass Land 4 and Ripple Field 1. The entire soundtrack is really solid though and like I said, really helps with game feeling atmospheric.

I'm sad this isn't in my top 5 Kirby's anymore. This game has a lot of charm and heart to it but on the gameplay side, it just has too many issues for me to rate it super high. My judgement was clouded back then by the art style and atmosphere, and while those are still great now, I can't deny this game isn't as good as I once thought. I still like it overall, but I will kneel to all the Superstar fans despite not loving that game's structure...that is the superior Kirby game. If they took the gameplay from Superstar and the art style, atmosphere and single campaign structure from this game...I may have gotten my perfect Kirby game. Ah well, a man can dream. I will say tho, I do like this more than Dreamland 2. There isn't a level as bullshit as that trial and error in 2 and this game visually just looks so much better of course. That and I have more nostalgia for it haha. Anyways, next is Donkey Kong Country 3 so look forward to that!

6.5/10

This was actually the last mainline DKC game I played. My first was returns, as I said in my DKC1 review. I played 1 and 3 shortly after that and I played Tropical Freeze the day it released. I didn't play 2 until years later in 2018 where an Instagram account I was following was selling a CIB copy for $35. That sounded like a good deal back then, and considering it's almost $90 now it's even better now, so I bought it off them. I really enjoyed my time with it, but it wasn't until replaying it in 2022, where I truly saw it as a masterpiece. Do I still think that now? Look at my score to find out (that means yes).

Let's start with the gameplay changes. The thing you'll notice when you first start the game is you don't play as Donkey Kong anymore. You still play as Diddy Kong but replacing Donkey is newcomer Dixie Kong. The main plot this time is King K Rool is back, he has kidnapped Donkey Kong and you must team-up as Diddy and Dixie to defeat him and save DK. Pretty simple but it works. Anyways, Diddy plays pretty much the same but Dixie is a bit different. Her main gameplay change is the fact that she can glide by using her hair. This is incredibly helpful with certain segments throughout the game and because of this plus being more fun to control, I definitely prefer this duo over the first game's. I still think Diddy feels better to play as since he's still faster here and has a better roll (Dixie's roll sucks if you're trying to roll jump off a cliff) so he was my go to Kong when I had both but Dixie is still very fun to play as here due to her glide. This game did add another new big mechanic that plays a part in a bunch of levels. By pressing the A button, if you have both Kongs, you can perform a Team Up. This basically lets you throw the kong upwards in whatever direction you want, and it lets you get up to high places you normally couldn't get to or collect items up high. It's nice and quick to pull off and just adds that much more depth to the levels.

The levels themselves are better than ever here. The level design is improved, with each level feeling pretty distinct from each other. One moment you'll be riding air balloons over a pit of lava and the next you'll be racing enemies in a haunted amusement park. Levels have gimmicks but they never feel intrusive or annoying to me. The level themes are also way more interesting this time. The mains setting here is pirates and that first world makes great use of it. You had levels where you run on top of a ship, levels where you are swimming inside the ship itself and then levels where you're climbing up the top of a pirate ship. That's all the first world, and even tho it's all pirate themed, they all feel distinct. Besides that, you have typical lava stages tho they're visually appealing in this game, you have these beehive stages where honey stops you dead in your tracks, you have bayou stages..just all the level themes in this game are so much more unique compared to the 1st game. Honestly, the backgrounds used in these levels are better than the 1st game's as well, they made them really clean looking this time around.

As for the collectables, you still collect bananas..and KONG letters. Animal Friend tokens are gone which is nice because they could kinda be annoying at times. Instead of finding a bunch of random bonus rooms to 100% the game, this time you must collect Kremkoins and DK coins. Kremkoins are all found in bonus barrels, or sometimes secret walls. These both lead to the bonus area, which instead of being all lax and random like in DKC1, you have to play a bonus game whether it's collecting all the stars or defeating every enemy or just getting to the coin itself. This is more unified than how it was in DKC1 and I prefer it this way. The DK coins are always only in levels once, and they're usually just in the stages and not in the bonus rooms. Anyways, collecting every Kremcoin and every DK coin, and completing every level, gets you 102% in this game. I much prefer this over the bonus rooms in DKC1. They are much easier to find without a guide, tho I still had to look up some but that's better than almost all of them like in DKC1, and it's better for it.

Animal buddies are back and you have some returning ones plus some new ones. Winky and Expresso are gone but Rambi, Enguarde and Squawks are back. Rambi and Enguarde are exactly the same except they have a charge move you can perform to go super fast and kill any enemies in your path or to open up secret bonus rooms. You can now ride with Squawks and shoot nuts out of his mouth at enemies, so he's changed drastically. There's a new animal buddy called Quawks who is only used in one level and is purple, cannot fly upwards (only glide down) and cannot shoot nuts. He's not worth getting into since it's just a downgrade of Squawks, but the other two animal buddies are. Rattly the rattlesnake, is basically Winky but better. He can jump high, jump on normally dangerous enemies like Winky but you can also charge him up to perform a super jump. The other new animal buddy, Squitter the Spider is awesome and is my favorite buddy in the series. You cannot jump on enemies as him but you can shoot projectile webs out of his mouth and if you press the A button, you can shoot a different type of web and if you press A again..you can create a web platform to jump on. They use this a good amount in some of the stages and this mechanic just makes him super fun and interesting to use. Along with all this, there are also these animal buddy barrels that let you transform into just the animal buddy.

The bosses in this game are also a big improvement from 1. Gone are very easy bosses that feel like a big version of a normal enemy. Every boss in this game feels distinct (besides the zinger fight tho his fight was pretty fun) and aren't piss easy and also aren't super quick. They feel like actual bosses, with the K Rool fight being a standout. Definitely my favorite fight in the trilogy. While not too difficult, he's still really fun.

If you had gotten 15 Kremcoins per world, you could pay them to this fella named Klubba. Once you do, you can access a level from the Lost World, a secret super hard bonus world. These are definitely some of the hardest levels in the game, tho I must brag and say it only took me two tries to beat Animal Antics this time around. Going back to the difficulty, yeah this game can be quite tough. It's not like bullshit hard, just the levels themselves can have some very tough portions and honestly, I welcome it. I still died a bunch in this game but I think the difficulty curve is very nice. It doesn't start off hard at all, it gradually start's getting pretty tough by world 4.

The OST is a big upgrade from the first game I think and is honestly amazing. Some of my favorites were Mining Melancholy, In A Snow-Bound Land, LockJaw's Saga,Hot Head Bop, and Forest Interlude. That is not even mentioning the absolute fucking goated song that is Stickerbush Symphony which is honestly a top 5 song for me from any video game ever. It's that amazing and I've loved it before I even played this game. This is a top tier OST I think and may be the best SNES soundtrack of all time.

If I had any little nitpick about this game, it's the fact you have to use banana coins to save and move to other worlds freely. I forgot to mention this in the collectables section, but you also collect bananas throughout the stages, they're plentiful, but after saving once or using Funky's Flights in a world, you must pay each Kong coins to do either action again. Because coins are super easy to get, this wasn't an issue for me but if you reset the game, you lose all your coins (and lives) so I can see where it would be an annoying mechanic to some people.

This is peak Donkey Kong Country imo. Everything from 1 was perfected in this game and then some, and it easily has the best soundtrack in the entire series, which does play a big part in me loving this game. I have more nostalgia for Super Mario World but I cannot deny the fact that this is the better platformer on the Super Nintendo. Because of this, I do think this is the best SNES game I've played period. It's just a masterpiece through and through. Do yourself a favor and play it!

I'm going to get back to the Kirby marathon now but I do plan on replaying DKC3 in the near future so stay tuned for that whenever I decide to play it!

My first Donkey Kong Country game was Returns for the Wii. I got it for Christmas the year it came out (that or it was 2011 I forget) and I remember being so excited to play it. While nowadays, I'm not the biggest Returns fan personally, I can't deny it started my love for the DKC series. Once I got into Super Nintendo games with Super Mario World and Yoshi's Island, I decided I wanted to play the very first Donkey Kong Country game since at that point I still only played Returns. I bought it at my local flea market I believe and really enjoyed it. I mentioned how Yoshi's Island always reminds me of the weekend, since I would play that a lot during that time, and the same applies here too. While I think the sequel does everything this game does but better, I still think the original is a really fun time.

The general gameplay of Donkey Kong Country is you run, jump and roll. Those are basics of course, as each level has other aspects that change gameplay up like barrel cannons you can shoot out of or ropes you can jump on but the general gameplay is pretty simple. The controls are basically perfect, rolling feels super good to perform, and if you know the layout of the levels it's very easy to just speedrun through levels since both Donkey and Diddy are relatively fast. Speaking about the characters, Diddy Kong's first appearance was in this game, and he honestly upstages Donkey Kong. If you get a DK barrel, you can get the other Kong along and they basically act as a 2nd hit. You can switch freely and this is helpful since they each have different attributes to them. Donkey Kong is slower but heavier so he can kill certain enemies that Diddy can't. Diddy just feels better to play as he's faster than Donkey and also has a smaller hitbox. Both are valuable, but Donkey is more situational and is mostly just used for one enemy type (and even then, Diddy can defeat them by rolling into them) so Diddy Kong is my much-preferred Kong to use.

As for collectables in the levels, you have bananas of course. The main plot involves King K Rool stealing DK's banana hoard and he must go after him and his baddies to obtain them back. I think the reasoning behind there being so many littered throughout the levels is he just dropped them or something but either way, they act as coins and getting 100 earns you a life. You can collect letters that spell out KONG and they also give you a life. You can also collect these animal buddy tokens, and getting three of a specific buddy lets you collect these stars, and every 100 you collect ALSO gives you a life. Besides all this, you can also find secret bonus rooms. These all contain all the aformentioned items, or just lives straight up, but these can be a pain to find. I wouldn't have an issue normally since these are optional bonus rooms so it makes sense they'd be really hidden, but getting every single one is how you get 101% in the game, so if you're a completionist you must find them all. The real issue then is, a good chunk of them are just kinda bullshit. You'll have some that are very easy to spot and are self-explanatory. But then you have ones that are completely hidden and sometimes even require blind jumps into pits. I know they wanted you to buy a guide or a Nintendo Power back then to find these locations, but I don't find random pit bonuses or random breakable wall bonuses fun ever. I used a guide for like 80% of these cuz I only ever 100%ed this game once before, so I forgot most of these. The sequel can be like this too, but it generally handled bonus room locations a lot better. Alongside all the collectables and bonus rooms, you also have animal buddies. These are fun as they change up the gameplay slightly. Rambi can kill usually unkillable (unless you have a barrel) enemies by running into them. Expresso can jump a bit higher and float over large gaps. Enguarde swims faster in water and has an attack you can perform. Winky...well Winky just jumps really high, tho he can also jump on usually harmful enemies too and he's honestly underrated. These guys appear enough where they don't just feel like one-off gimmicks or anything.

The levels themselves are generally well designed. They're simpler than the sequels, and I feel like there's generally more bullshit due to enemies suddenly appearing on screen randomly, but there's a nice flow to the levels. Visually, I think it just looks alright. The characters themselves looks good, I just think some of the backgrounds don't look great compared to others, and definitely compared to 2's backgrounds. I think it also doesn't help that the level themes aren't too interesting in this game. You have jungles and mines and factories and Mayan temples and some of these are more unique than others, but they don't exactly lead to very vibrant colors. When it hits, it hits. The one jungle level with the sunset is really nice and I like the ice caves. The factories are kind of cool near the end too, but overall, I think the level settings can be a bit bland here. Not like Returns tho, since that is very formulaic with its level themes but compared to 2, 1 is not as good in that regard.

The bosses in this game are kind of a joke. All of them, besides King K Rool, are incredibly easy and just feel like a slightly tougher regular enemy. They could've easily had no bosses and it would've been fine so I guess it's not like they detract from the game too much, however 2 did bosses way better.

This may be my hottest take though. I don't love the OST. A big reason for that is most of the OST was in Returns, and so I had always felt there was an identity crisis with this game which is not the game's fault and is more a me thing because I played Returns first. Even outside of that, some of the songs I just never really got into...but objectively the OST is quite solid. There are still bangers like Aquatic Ambience and Gang-Plank Galleon of course. Also a shoutout to Fear Factory, that one's nice too. Even though I don't love the OST, it's still good overall, I just much prefer 2's tbh.

I've kind of been complaining about things here or there despite praising the gameplay. Something else I'll praise about this game tho is its Rare charm. Animations are very charming between characters. Donkey and Diddy both get terrified when you're at the edge of a cliff. They do a charming celebration whenever you defeat a boss or complete a bonus room. Diddy Kong throws his hat down and stomps on it when he loses a bonus room. The dialogue between the other characters like Cranky or Funky or Candy are very charming too. There's a fake-out Kremlin credits that happens when you get halfway into King K Rool's fight, and the actual credits have humorous cutscenes between characters. Not only is this game charming as hell, but it also created all these well-known characters too. We wouldn't have Diddy Kong or Cranky Kong or Funky Kong if it wasn't for this game. We wouldn't have my man K Rool either, he's such a memorable villain. The Kremlins themselves are very memorable and cartoony. I think besides the actual gameplay, the best thing DKC1 does is the worldbuilding and charm. Before this, we just had DK and DK Jr. It's all thanks to Rare, that we have as many memorable characters as we do now.

I may have some issues with this game, and I think 2 fixes them all pretty much, but this is still a classic for a reason and is staple Super Nintendo game. I was honestly thinking about dropping this to a 7, even up until writing most of this review, but it wasn't until the paragraph before this did, I really ponder and think about how many staple characters this game created and just how charming this game is in general. It's very important to entire DK series as a whole and is a very fun platformer at that! However, as I've said several times in this review, 2 is better in every way and I'm going to be replaying that soon so stay tuned for that review!