Oct 8, 2007
Donkey Konga - drums and monkeys, together at last; their powers combined in a game that was perfect in design and execution, packed with a satisfying pair of drums to bash your tunes out on. When Nintendo monkeyed (ha!) with the formula for DK Jungle Beat, even the most optimistic gamers choked at the idea of playing a platform game with a pair of bongos, but Nintendo proved the doubters wrong and we’ve never been so happy to have been mistaken. Jungle Beat remains one of the GameCube’s highlights, so we bit our tongues when they announced DK Barrel Blast. Drums, monkeys and bongo-powered jetpacks? How could it possibly go wrong?
We have a list.
In the leap to the Wii, Barrel Blast has dropped the bongo controller in favour of using motion controls as a drum replacement. “Drumming” with your right hand steers right and drumming with the left steers left; a drumroll with the two will accelerate you to full speed, where you’ll stay until you hit something or something hits you, and drumming both together will jump. Extra controls on the buttons handle punching and using the Mario Kart-style power-ups. But without the thwack of palm on rubber, much is lost from the experience and drumming with the remote and Nunchuk simply doesn’t satisfy.
It’s not just the tactile sensation of beating on a drum that Barrel Blast loses, either - the remote and Nunchuk aren’t nearly as precise as two big buttons to bash, so when frantically drumrolling to get up to speed, it’s all too easy to launch yourself into a painfully slow accidental jump. The extra buttons on the Wii controller have allowed the developers to shoehorn more functions in, but it’s at the expense of an option to plug the drums in and play it as was originally intended.