There’s one thing you can almost guarantee when Nintendo bring out a game that’s based on a character that’s in some way related to Mario. That is, it’s usually going to be very good and have lots of new ideas. Once again, they’ve come up trumps with a game featuring Donkey King. It’s DK Jungle Climber and it really is something rather new and perfect for the DS.
Basically, the levels span over both screens and you control Donkey Kong most of the time with just 3 buttons. The A button to jump, and L and R for his left and right hands. You use these to grip onto pegs and rotate Donkey Kong around the levels. It’s kind of hard to explain but look at the screenshots on the website and you’ll instantly see what I’m getting at.
As you move through the levels you can thrust into bad guys to blow them up and collect bananas – lots of bananas. In fact more bananas than you’ll ever see in a lifetime – careful Donkey Kong, too much and potassium’s not good for you.
Each level’s quite short and not particularly challenging but this game’s certainly a welcome distraction on the bus or if waiting for someone who’s late for 10 minutes or even half an hour. Having a game playable in little bitesize chunks is exactly the way it should be for handheld gaming, not just a console game squeezed onto a cartridge.
You also get the help of Diddy Kong who can hitch a ride on your back, launch himself even further at enemies and hold items such as hammers to clear the screen of enemies.
Although a simple concept, initially it’s quite tricky to get your head around when to grab with each button and when to let go when Donkey Kong spins round those pegs. But, like anything, give it some time and you’ll get used to this new way of playing and really enjoy yourself.
It’s not the biggest Nintendo release on the DS this year but it’s certainly something worth a look. It gets a very good 7 out of 10.