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Reviews, reflections, rants and other such writings...

Game Review: Donkey Konga

An article by Jomingo

2 June '09

Donkey Konga's box art
Following Rare's buyout, Nintendo went back to the drawing board with one of their star franchises, Donkey Kong. They decided to do something unique and "innovative" with the DK IP, and what they came up with was the DK Bongos. And the first game to support the bongos was Donkey Konga, a rhythm game.

. . .

The "ingenious" DK Bongos
In Donkey Konga, you play with the Bongo shaped and appropriately named DK Bongos controller. There are two buttons covered in padding on either side of this controller, and a mic in the center. It uses these to allow you to hit either side in tune with the music, or register the clap of your hands. It works well, but can make your hands sore after a while. Luckily, you can play using a regular old Gamecube controller if you want. I may be in the minority here, but I actually like the Bongo controller, and feel it had great potential that was never utilized.

If you thought that a rhythm game starring DK would be full of DKC music, then you were wrong. The song choice is pretty horrible (there's only one DK song). They included the Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon themes, but they couldn't fit more than one DK song in. It also seems they tried to include a lot of songs for children(ie. Bingo was his Name-o), but I really doubt any kid young enough to enjoy those songs will be any good at a game that takes this amount of coordination. I mean, sure my 4 year old niece has lots of fun playing it, but then again she gets the same feeling of happiness from putting her socks on her hands and making them fight to the death.

Another downside is that it seems they cheaply inserted Mario references where there should've been DK ones, including the "POW block" in battle mode that pulls up a slot machine with Mario, Peach, Yoshi, and Wario's faces on it, which easily could've been a TNT barrel with DK characters instead. Though don't get me wrong, it's not like they didn't include any DKC characters. DK, Diddy, and Cranky make notable appearances, with banana birds, several animal buddies, and even King K. Rool making minor appearances.

The menu screen(in which you spend all of the time between songs scrolling through) is boring and poorly animated. It's not like the DK series to have boring menus, and it would've been cool to at least see some Kong family helpers running the main functions.

Their are several unlockables, including a few bongo based mini-games and a plethora of bongo sound effects. Unfortunately, the mini-games are dull, poorly animated, and clearly an afterthought while bongo sound sets aren't exactly the most impressive rewards.

. . .

This is actually a pretty fun game at times, given the right situation(like entertaining a four year old), but there just isn't much to do after your initial completion of it's song library which itself is comprised of a very poor selection. If you're looking for a music game, get Guitar Hero or Rock Band. If you want to be picky and want one with cute characters, get DDR: Mario Mix. If you want to be even pickier and one with primates, get Samba De Amigo. Not only is it a dull game, but it is also a very poorly crafted game. I give it a 1 out of 5.


- by Jomingo -

This article was written by a DKC Atlas Forum staff member. All opinions expressed within this article are those of the writer, and are not necessarily shared by DKC Atlas, or the DKC gaming community.
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