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Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

1 rating: 3.0
Action and Racing / Driving video game by Nintendo for the Nintendo Wii

Donkey Kong and his pals have gotten their mitts on some high-powered Barrel Jets – incredible engines that boost when struck by a pilot. By using their Wiimote, players can make their character swoop up, bank side to side and launch attacks on … see full wiki

Release Date: 8 October, 2007
1 review about Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

Unique Type of Racing Game for the Wii

  • Mar 14, 2008
Rating:
+3
Pros: Unique use of Wii Remote and Nunchuck to race, multiplayer ability

Cons: Awkward controls take some time to get used to

The Bottom Line: The game can be frustrating with the unique controls, but if you stick with it they provide a fun new way to race that does not make your thumb hurt.

This is an unique racing style game for the Wii. It features the Donkey Kong characters flying around racing against each other. Their flying machines are simply vehicles with two bongos on each side of them and a harness that connects the bongo contraption around the waist of the characters. Each bongo has a jet flame coming out of them, so they look a little like engines. In the game you race through different levels with various sceneries. Types of scenery include the jungle, under water, and a volcano.

Controls:

On the main menu there is a button to the Cranky’s Flight School mode, which contains the tutorials for the game. I highly recommend that you do the tutorials to learn the controls for the game. It is not the kind of straightforward racing game you can just jump right into because you are used to playing racing video games. The controls are very unique and can be downright frustrating, but personally I found them more thrilling than normal controls once I got used to them.

The main thing you do is alternatively shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuck up and down in order to gain maximum speed. This acts as hitting the bongos on both sides of your character and making them accelerate. Once you achieve maximum speed (it does not take much) you can stop shaking until it alerts you to shake again to regain speed, which only happens when you bump into barrels or other obstacles or get attacked by other players.

The second main control is basically the same as the first, but instead you hit just one bongo. You do this by shaking just the Nunchuck or just the Wii Remote. This controls moving right and left. The default controls have the Wii Remote move you right and the Nunchuck move you left. You can change these controls to be opposite in the Options menu, which is helpful for lefties used to having the Wii Remote in their left hand.

Other controls include jerking both the Wii Remote and Nunchuck up at the same time to perform a jump, pressing A to attack barrels, and pressing B to use an item. You can also perform a Wild Move (a temporary speed boost) when you have collected enough bananas (need 50 per wild move) by holding down the control stick on the Nunchuck and then releasing it.

Characters:

When you start you can choose between six different characters (Kongs/Monkeys: Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and Dixie Kong and Kremlins/gators Kritter, Kip, and Kass). There are six more Kong and five more Kremlin characters to unlock. You unlock them by achieving different goals in the game. For example, you get Lanky Kong when you get first in the Topaz Cup.

Cups and Difficulty Levels:

The game starts with only one cup of races (Topaz Cup) open and only one difficulty level (Rookie). In order to open new cups you must get first place in the cup before it. This first place requirement to open new courses is a little frustrating and can make the game limited if you are not good at the game. With some practice with the controls (in particular doing the tutorial mode) you can get through at least all the cups in Rookie. For example, you open the next cup called the Sapphire Cup after beating the Topaz Cup.

The other cups are Diamond, Platinum, Selection, and Random. The Selection one allows you to choose what 2 to 5 races you want to do. This is especially fun for multiplayer. The Random cup picks 5 random tracks from the four main cups. Unlockable difficulties levels are Pro, which unlocks after you beat the Sapphire Cup as a Rookie, and Expert, which unlocks after you beat the Diamond Cup as a Pro.

The cup mode can be played with one to four player, which makes this a good multiplayer game. Just realize it could take some time for all the players to go through the tutorial before being ready to play. Or you could have fun making your friends look like fools by making them skip the tutorial, but what’s the challenge in that?

Other Modes:

The other racing modes are Single Race, Time Trial, and Free Run. In Single Race you can choose to race on any of the tracks from the Cups you have unlocked. This is a good way to practice on specific tracks in preparation for trying to beat a Cup. Additionally this mode can be played by up to four players.

The Time Trial mode lets you play tracks you have unlocked and try to set time records. The Free Run mode lets you play the tracks you have unlocked and continuously race on your own around them. This is a good way to practice the controls and get the layout for courses. There is also Candy’s Challenges in which you try to beat the different challenges she gives you, such as smashing 15 barrels and finish a race not in last place.

Graphics and Music:

The graphics are good, but nothing special. They look a lot like the Donkey Kong bongo games released for Gamecube, which is not surprising in that this game concept was originally supposed to be a Gamecube game. The look of the levels are at least well detailed, which adds to the enjoyment of feeling you are really racing through the jungle, etc. Thus overall the graphics are nice looking and appealing, but they are not much of an improvement over the Gamecube Donkey Kong games, as might be expected when a new version comes out for a newer video game system.

The main time I notice the music of the game is on the menus and when at the end of races when the results are shown. On the menus the sound repeats on a pretty short loop. It is a jungle-like tune that is interesting at first, but gets annoying as it repeats every few seconds. On the results pages it is playing the songs from the level and repeats on a longer loop and is different for each area you race in. These songs are well fit with the themes of the area.

While in the levels it is pretty hard to notice the music, as you are mostly just hearing the bongos as you are accelerating or navigating through the level. This bongo song can be kind of annoying, but I kind of like it as you kind of make your own rhythm and it rarely is repetitive because you navigate each level different. The bongo sound comes out of the Wii Remote, so I guess if you do not put the song on your Wii Remote like I like to do then you would actually hear the level songs as you play the levels instead of just noticing them on the results page.

My Overall Experience:

Overall I found this game a lot of fun to play. I love racing style games and this is a fun new way of racing. I will admit that the controls are frustrating at first and did take me over a half an hour of practicing before they began to feel natural, but after that they became a fresh way of racing and part of what makes this game so enjoyable. Number one reason I like the controls is that my thumb does not hurt after racing through a few tracks because you do not continuously have to hold down A, which you do in a lot of racing games. Sure your arms can get tired from shaking the Wii Remote and the Nunchuck, but at least you are actively doing something. The game is also a fun multiplayer and can be a good family game because the controls can be learned by kids just as easy (well, I guess I mean just as fast) as they take teens and adults.

Recommended:
Yes

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