5. Donkey Kong Country Returns
There is no shame in settling for last place in these rankings, and we would hazard a guess to say that for some folks, this is actually their favorite game of all time. But the competition is fierce. Somebody had to draw the short straw, and in our humble opinion, Donkey Kong Country Returns is just that little bit inferior to its contemporaries. Ultimately, it’s like a banana with a tiny brown spot on it – still damn delicious.
After a painful hiatus of more than 14 years, the beloved Donkey Kong Country legacy was gifted with a new entry to its hallowed halls, in the form of this fantastic romp on the Wii. One of the most defining features of Donkey Kong Country Returns is its rather steep difficulty level. Some frantic sections can require multiple attempts before you work out what’s about to be thrown at you, and you may end up significantly balder by the time you’re finished. This makes the game a bit daunting for younger players who simply want to get up to some monkey mischief, especially when certain obstacles can feel so spontaneous, they border on cheap. But otherwise, it is not a bad thing: for those of us who are up for a challenge, finishing Donkey Kong Country Returns to full completion is a tall order, but a satisfying one.
Other faults are minor, and typical of Wii games of the era. The Kong Blow feature, where puffing into the Wii remote or shaking the nunchuck makes DK exhale out a gust of air to reveal hidden items, feels like superfluous waggle, and can put your antics to a halt when you have to stop hopping and stomping to investigate a suspicious-looking flower and breathe excessively into your controller.
Donkey Kong Country Returns is fondly remembered as one of the best games on the Wii, and for good reason: it took everything we loved about the original trilogy, and ushered it into a new era. The silhouette stages look absolutely gorgeous, the mine cart sections are intense, and there is enough variety overall to keep things lively and interesting.