Sept 12, 2007
New theory: if a character moves quickly across a world select menu, you’ve got a great game on your hands. Why? Because Mr. Developer understands that you want to race straight to the fun: get into the actual game as fast as possible, no long cutscenes, no slow fades in and out, let’s just GO.
In Donkey Kong Jungle Climber, DK sprints around the map like a monkey that’s sat on a cheese fork heated to 140°C - it’s as though you’re making levels start just by thinking about them. It’s the DKJC way: an almost retro-minded dedication to giving us Nintendo-quality brilliance with none of the fluff - just tight level design, multi-coloured eye-wonderment, bosses that work, perfectly-formed minigames… the lot. It is, simply, a fantastic game.
True, this DK King of Swing follow-up is a cheeky monkey when it comes to DS’s special powers. Mainly in the sense that it almost entirely ignores them. DKJC controls (and looks) just like its GBA dad - with the shoulder buttons controlling Donkey Kong’s grasping ape-hands all the way.
The levels are basically mazes of pegboards: the only way to get around them is to leap up, grab on with L or R, wait until DK rotates to the direction you want, then let go and sail up to the next peg. You can “steer” a bit in mid-air, to avoid falling too far back down a level. But otherwise it’s all about taking a considered, slightly zig-zaggy path up each course, pausing for breath when you reach a trusty old-fashioned platform.