Here's what games have been keeping me busy over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
As usual, I'm late to the party to play this two year old Wii platformer. I've had Donkey Kong Country Returns for about a year now. I was looking for a Wii game I hadn't started yet and feeling a bit nostalgic for a platformer that I played around the holiday season (the original DKC also released around Thanksgiving), DKCR won out. As they say, it's on like Donkey Kong.
DKCR feels a bit different from the first two DKCR games and that's to be expected. With Rare gone, the handling of DKCR was passed down to Retro Studios and after what they did with the Metroid games, I think Nintendo chose wisely. While DKCR may feel a bit different, it also feels familiar. Donkey Kong can roll, slap the ground and shoot out of barrels just like he did in 1994. Good stuff all around and gives me the warm and fuzzies. I even got to ride Rambi in one level! Diddy's back and it's about time, too! (Sorry) Sadly, you can't control him when playing solo but he'll assist you with his jet pack as well as giving you an additional two hearts. That's right, you have a heart counter to give you two hits before you die.
DCKC is very much a Nintendo Hard game. In just first world alone I've died so many times. Heck, I ended up dying on the first stage, much to my embarrassment. I'm ever so thankful for each extra hit I'm allowed to take and in some levels, there are things that are instant death. I was already sweating bullets on the level Crazy Cart. A mine cart stage in the first world? Really? After what the first few levels put me through I was not looking forward to it. Just because there are no rails that doesn't mean it's the end of the carting section. I was surprised to see that thing was still riding along as if it were on rails. Thankfully Crazy Cart wasn't too difficult but I just know the later mine cart levels will pull no punches.
Finding everything in each level requires finding all the Kong letters and puzzle pieces. A few puzzle pieces are hidden in bonus arenas and to successfully complete a bonus area, you have to get all the bananas and coins. In a time limit, no less. I had to redo the levels in the first world numerous times before getting everything. Not sure if I'll be doing DCKR 100%, but I'll do my best.
I'm still getting used to the controls. I'm playing with just the Wii Remote and I keep mixing up blowing with DK's ground slap move. Rolling is also a bit weird. You have to press forward and shake the Wii Remote to roll. It's not a huge deal but it takes me out of the game a bit because I have to stop and remember what does what.
Cranky Kong was always one of my favorite characters so it was great to see him come back. He has a shop on each world where you can use your banana coins to purchase all kinds of goodies like extra lives (oh do I NEED all those extra lives) Squaks to help you find puzzle pieces, and extra hearts. Just like the days of old, Cranky Kong is still a grumpy old Kong and I love him for that.
Monster World IV (GEN)
In an effort to add more Virtual Console games to my collection that I didn't already own, I decided to finally get around to buying Monster World IV. Part of the Wonder Boy series, this final entry was never released outside of Japan, leaving American and European gamers in the cold. Thankfully, Monster World IV was given a new lease on life on the Virtual Console and the game has been fully translated! It's also on PlayStation Network and XBLA.
I'm really, really liking Monster World IV. The visuals are spectacular and that reused main theme is super hummable. Most importantly, the action/RPG gameplay is topnotch. You play as Asha, a young girl who wishes to be a warrior. As fate would have it, the world is on the verge of going down the crapper so it's up to the newbie to save everyone.
Thus far I've cleared one dungeon and I'm nearly done with the second dungeon, which is kicking my butt hard. It's a fire-based temple and the last section of it is a dozy, requiring precise jumps and avoiding the leaping fire balls that come out of the lava. The boss of this temple is much tougher than the first two bosses, which were push overs. I need my revival medicine for the boss fight but the final dungeon section is so tricky that I always end up using it before I can get to him.
Monster World IV seems pretty liner. Once you're finished with a dungeon you can't go back inside of it and you seem to always know where you need to go next. Since I hate getting lost in these kinds of games, I have no problem with that.
Despite saying very little (I'm thinking Asha is another silent protagonist), she's becoming one of my favorite video game heroines. Pepe is not only helpful (you can use the little guy to double jump and float downward), but he's adorable to boot.
And we have the game I've played the least of. OK, I've played less than an hour but I do like it. La-Mulana does not really hold your hand. I'm in what I think is the first temple but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be here yet. There's a ton of text that I can't even read and I think I need some better equipment. I hear there are tons of ways to reach the game's ending but I want to try to avoid consulting any sort of guide until I can complete this game on my own. Then maybe I'll do a second run through and get what I missed. I have found a few secrets just by guessing, which is always fun.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS)
I beat my old record of 10,938 in coin rush mode. Several times. Thanks to downloading the Gold Rush coin rush, my new record is 30,000 coins. You get more than enough time and more than enough coins to grab and touch the very top of all three stage flagpoles is cake. I just wish the Gold Push didn't stop your cash flow at 30,000 because anyone can easily get higher than that amount. And I'm positive that someone somewhere has exceeded 30,000 in a few courses on coin rush mode. But the Gold Push is probably just a means to get your overall coin total closer to 1 million. I'm already near 700,000 coins thanks to this baby.
I really should go back to single player and unlock the rest of those hidden stages and get every star coin. I nearly have them all and I know I'm missing a few levels in coin rush because I haven't played every single player stage.
Still Playing: Kirby Air Ride, Mario Kart 7