I was kind of on the ropes about this game when I heard about it coming out (first on the Wii then ported to the 3DS). I was honestly a little worried as I hadn't played a new Donkey Kong Country game since Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest back in 1995. I didn't play DKC3 as I didn't like the constant introduction of new characters and elimination of the new character from the previous game. I understood the desire to expand the Kong family, but they lost me. I did play Diddy Kong Racing, but that was like a Mario Kart clone; a clone that refuses to be beaten and laughs in my face as if it's the Duck Hunt dog, we'll call him Clyde. Fuck you Clyde. Fuck you.
Right, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. On the Nintendo 3DS. This is the version of the game that I will be talking about, not the game that came out on the Wii. I still don't have one.
So now the things that everyone will be asking, because I too was asking the same questions before and after I bought the game.
1) No, Rare had no part in making DKCR3D. That is a potential selling point, or not because Rare didn't have anything to do with this game despite the fact that they designed what popular culture now thinks of when they think of Donkey Kong. I am personally okay with it, I've moved on. This game was developed by Monster Games, a US company out of Minnesota. I will just say that from what I've played so far, they've done a good job with an existing franchise that they have never had a hand in making/developing. (They also did the 3DS Pilotwings: Resort game, so kudos to them for making two 3DS games of existing Nintendo franchises and doing a great job with both).
2) No, David Wise had no hand in composing the music for DKCR3D. This made me sad when I found out about 10 minutes before I started writing. However, 90% of the perceived music seems to be from the original DKC so there's a good amount of musical nostalgia which in one way is funny/amusing because unless you were born as late as the late 1980s (The Kid, Conklederp), you probably won't have the same kind of reaction towards the music. There was a level where Donkey Kong III is running/jumping over/across docks as cannons from a ship are destroying sections of the dock while a whale is carrying you between large gaps, and the underwater music cue (Aquatic Ambiance) played for about 3-4 seconds and I immediately thought that the level was going to go underwater so I didn't make a long jump for the next dock. . . and I died. Yes, I was distracted by a music cue and didn't "believe" what the gameplay was telling me.
I've strayed a bit. The music in DKCR3D was "composed/arranged" by multiple people and since I haven't finished the game yet, I can't say which of the aforementioned composers worked on the 3DS port and which were exclusively on the Wii, I won't list them all here.
3) Diddy Kong. It's not that I have an issue with Diddy Kong being included in this game, I love that Diddy Kong is included and (so far) is the only side kick. I do not, however, like how Diddy Kong is used. *Spoiler* When you acquire Diddy Kong, in traditional Kong style (he's enclosed in a DK barrel), he hops on your back and acts as a jet pack for hovering. So basically, you become Dixie Kong but with Donkey's girth. I feel it's a cheap way to use Diddy. I loved Diddy in both DKC and DKC2 and am sad to see him used in this way.
4) Who the fuck is that god damn pig!? Wizpig's good natured little brother? Not that I have a genuine problem with the checkpoint pig, but at least in BIT.TRIP RUNNER2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien you meet up and team up with the checkpoint characters. This pig? What the hell!? Actually, it doesn't bother me that much/at all, it was just a question that I thought of while perusing the official site.
5) Donkey Kong. As in the one that stared in the original 1981 arcade game. He is as funny as I remember him from the first DKC. I felt that his humor in the first DKC game was very sarcastic and demeaning towards Donkey Kong III, about how gaming has been made more user friendly since the early 80s. I've actually found myself leaving Cranky Kong's store and re-entering just to see what he says.
Alright. Presently, I've put in nearly five hours on/in the game and I am enjoying what I've been playing. It reminds me enough of the original DKC, but still different enough to feel somewhat original. As is the case with any game that has a sequel, I'm not 100% sure that I like everything in the game, but that's not the way games should be because there is no way to please absolutely everyone.