Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong Is No Joke

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch) Review — DarkStation

I’ve just come back from having my throat and nose swabbed by a woman in a white hazmat suit with facial protection. The joys of suspecting you may have corona symptoms and then needing to be tested to see if this is indeed the case. I started feeling sick on Saturday, although initially I thought I was having some allergy symptoms. Runny nose, watery eyes. I didn’t immediatly make the connection that it could be anything else. Then on Sunday I started feeling like I had a bad cold. Runny nose, constant sneezing, throat ache and coughing. Normally I’d not make a fuzz about it but the climate being how it is these days I couldn’t rule out if I may have been infected with corona at some point last week. So I scheduled a test and went to get it done about an hour ago. I can’t really recommend it. There’s multiple q-tips involved that go way too far up your nose and down your throat. Now I just have to wait 48 hours to see if it is indeed corona or if I’ve just been struck down with a common cold. Time will tell.

Right now I’m in my second week of a two week holiday. I was supposed to go to Spain for a week of lounging at a pool with a cocktail and not a care in the world. Unfortunately due to multpile outbreaks of corona across Europe that vacation was cancelled and left me sitting at home for two weeks trying to decide what I wanted to be doing with my time instead. As it so happens my best friend was off for a week aswell last week. We had already agreed to meet up, you can here in the Netherlands, but I thought it would also be fun if we would start the same game to spend our vacation time on. We both own a Switch and a 3DS and he has some Switch games that I have on my WiiU so there was plenty to pick from.

He decided on Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. A game that had been sitting in my library for a bit, and that I was supposed to tackle over the summer anyway, and one he borrowed from a co-worker with the intent of playing it and returning it as soon as possible. So after that decision was made we both set out to complete the game before the week was over. Initially things seemed to be going well for the both of us and I was already in world number 3 when he started complaining that the game was “too hard”. I had warned him beforehand that reviews of this game indicated that it was no joke and had a few levels that required some pretty tight platforming. Since he had the Switch version of the game though, instead of dropping it he opted to play “Funky Mode” and, not surprising, blew past me once he made the swap over to that. Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury to switch to an easier mode so I plodded along playing on the normal difficulty. In the end I didn’t have that many issues. Way less than I had with New Super Mario Bros U anyway. I think one of the only levels that really got to me was a level where you’re riding a rocket in the final world. Steering the rocket was a bit of a pain in the ass to begin with and then I had to maneuver my way through really tight corridors with only two chances to hit something and nowhere to replenish a heart once I lost one.
Other than that I really enjoyed the game. It took me back to being a kid and playing Donkey Kong on my Gameboy. I remember being hooked on those games and spent a lot of time trying to get all the stuff I could back then. I made it in the end though and managed to finish the “final” boss and get to the credits yesterday. It was a relatively short game, according to my WiiU log it took me around 9 hours to finish it. Then again I did skip out on most of the collectibles and finding hidden exits to levels and all that stuff. I just wanted to get to the credit roll and call it a day. I know that eventually another world unlocks if you do all the bonus stuff like get all the KONG letters, unlock all hidden levels and all that jazz but I’m not really feeling up to doing that right now. Maybe at some point in the future when I’ve played through some other games and I feel the need to go back and get games to 100% completion. But the tight platforming and sheer determination that is needed to do all that is not something I want to spend time and energy on as of right now.
That being said I really hope that Nintendo will drop a new Donkey Kong game somewhere in the near future. Tropical Freeze was initially brought to the WiiU in 2014 so it’s high time they come with a new entry in the franchise. I’m certain to be more hyped for that than for anything they would bring out with the Mario label.

For now though I’m happy that I’ve finished off another game from my backlog. I’ve been really inconsistent with playing single player games over the summer, even though I had really big plans. I guess life happens. For now though me and my best friend have picked a new game to play through, one of my choice this time. It’s Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the Switch. A game that I started a long time ago but kind of gave up on when I was 8 hours in. We both started a new game and I’m running around again in the first little town you get to. It’s a vastly different game from Donkey Kong but I feel like I can do with a longer JRPG right now. So I guess we’ll see where that ship strands. I hope that having someone else play the game simultaneously will keep me motivated to play aswell so that we can share our thoughts on stories and fights. Maybe this is what I needed all along to finally tackle my backlog…

Nearing Completion

Character in field of flowers

I’m so, so terribly close to getting all my battle jobs to level 80 in Final Fantasy XIV that I can almost smell it. Right now my Gunbreaker is just shy of level 78 and I need to do most of my roulettes still this reset, which I’ll probably do tomorrow since it’s already past midnight and I’m really sleepy right now.
I’m hoping I will be level 80 by the weekend, get my Amaro mount and then drop the mad grind that I’ve been on for the past two or three weeks. Granted I could have gotten this milestone a lot earlier but I’ve been on hiatus in FFXIV a bit so it didn’t happen when I originally tought it would.
Being in the middle of the first week of another two week holiday though means I have ample time to get this done while also steadily working away at leveling my crafting jobs with the “new” Dwarf beast tribe dailies. I’ve gotten my Carpenter to 80 so far and my Weaver isn’t far behind. Seeing as I never really enjoyed the whole Ishgard crafting grind I’d rather opt into leveling my crafters this way, slow and steady wins the race right?
I also need to find a new sort of “daily” routine when I don’t have any more battle jobs to level. I think I may just stick to doing ex-roulette for now and the weekly clears next to the crafter dailies. I want to gear up my jobs and the only way to do that is to get through the latest content. I may do a bit of level roulette on my tanks for the achievement but I’ll see when I get there.

Next to completing a long standing goal in FFXIV, I’ve also been making more progress towards filling up my Pokédex in Pokémon Sword. I’m now down to needing only 38 more Pokémon for the base dex completion and I’m going over to my best friend tomorrow who owns Shield and trade a bunch of version exclusives with him. Which then leaves me with only a handful of Pokémon I still need to catch on my own. Yay! After that I’m going to turn my attention to the Isle of Armor and the Pokémon there so I can get my awesome crown and be ready for the Crown Tundra DLC that’s not too far away now either.
If I manage to complete this Pokédex it will be the first time I’ve completed a Pokédex in a Pokémon game ever. The closest I came to achieving this feat was when I was still a kid and playing my copy of Pokémon Blue. I was up to 146 Pokémon caught for the dex but for some reason I resetted my game after that, much to my regrets. Afterwards I’ve never come close to completion again, with the best try on Pokémon Black but that were just so many Pokémon.. That I basically gave up after over 70 hours played.
In Sword I’ve clocked in around 65 hours now, making it the game I’ve put the most hours in on my Switch by far. I dare take it even further and say that if I cross the playtime I had on my copy of Pokémon Black with Pokémon Sword it will be the single player game that I have spent the most time on of all time.

Finally I’ve been slowly working through my backlog again. The latest title that I’m working on is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Me and my best friend both own a copy of this game, me on my WiiU and he on his Switch. I figured it would be nice to go through the game at the same time so we can share our triumphs and frustrations. Little did I know that he would be way more frustrated than me. Even so frustrated that he has switched from normal mode to Funky Mode so that the game was doable for him. I don’t have this luxury on the WiiU and as such I’m playing the game on the original difficulty level. I’ve made it up to the boss of the fourth world, meaning I only have two more worlds to go after I defeat it. I’ve not really been doing a completionist run so there are a lot of levels that I have yet to unlock and a lot of collectibles to get. However my main goal is to just see the credit roll so I’m not really fussed about skipping these. I just want to stripe another game of my backlog. And with the tempo I’m going that should be doable by the end of the week aswell.

All in all it feels nice to be completing so many things at once. It’s mentally rewarding and it gives me the chance to set new fresh goals afterwards! But first it’s time for some much needed sleep.

End of April – Gaming Goals

We are almost 5 months into 2016 and I’ve decided to look back at the Gaming Goals I’ve set in January and how far I’ve come so far.

In FFXIV I’ve been making steady progress. I’ve leveled up my Bard to 60 and have turned my attention to some other classes aswell. Most notably my Astrologian made it up to level 52 and my Monk will probably sit very close to level 35 today after I’ve done my level and guildhest roulette.
In the old relics department I only really need Scholar. Monk and Warrior done still, which isn’t much at all. I’m planning on picking up Scholar somewhere this week and then it just depends on which classes I level up first to get those last two relics.
Next to my battle classes I’ve also leveled up my Botanist to 52 and I’m slowly but surely leveling up my crafting classes. I expect all of them to be atleast level 20 by the end of the weekend, with currently only Armorsmith and Blacksmith sitting sub level 20. Ixali dailies help a lot with this!

In Blizzard games I’ve opened up another wing of Naxxramas on Hearthstone and I’ve been commited to getting all the card backs for this year, not having missed out on one so far!
I’ve been barely playing Heroes of the Storm though and am unsure if I can make the goal of battling up to rank 1 (or as close as possible).

As far as all the other games go, I’ve only made real progress in Donkey Kong and Mario on my 3DS with finishing the first world in both of those games. All the rest have more or less fallen off the radar since I’ve been purchasing new games that have drawn my attention, like The Division and Ratchet and Clank.

So, what’s in store now?
For this week I really want to finish up a few things on mostly FFXIV. As  said in my previous post I want to get both my Monk and Machinist up to 35, but seeing as that goes a lot faster than I thought I’m adding a bit more gaming goals for this week to close out April with a bang! So here’s a small list of the things I want to work on this week:

  • Level Monk to 35
  • Level Machinist to 35
  • Level Armorsmith to 20
  • Level Blacksmith to 20
  • Complete Scholar Zenith Relic (2.0)
  • Get to and defeat the second Gym in Pokémon Blue (this will be my train game!)

As you can see, enough to do, but not too much for a week. I really hope I can accomplish this all before May 1st, but seeing as I expect to be able to level both the Monk to 35 and the Armorsmith to 20 this weekend it should be more than doable.

 

Platforming and Why I Never Finish Games

A week or so ago I finally managed to get my hands on Donkey Kong Country Returns for my 3DS. Being an avid Donkey Kong fan ever since childhood I was kind of hyped they finally brought out a new game on a handheld, since it’s been quite a while since I have seen a DK game that wasn’t on a console.
Going way back to the Gameboy era I really loved DK way more than Mario. The games itself looked much better and I felt like there was much more to do in the games. Like finding the “kong” letters hidden around every level. It was really hard to actually 100% those games and it seems like they made it just as hard in this new game that has come out.

One of my favourite levels so far has been the one depicted at the top, Sunset Shore, where you basically play with shadows against a sunset. The level itself is quite beautifully designed and in 3D it looks amazing. All of the levels look quite good in 3D and the gameplay is such that you feel like you actually move around in more dimensions than on a normal platform game. All in all I’m very happy with my purchase and it’s keeping me quite busy. I play on the train to and from work, and I manage to do about a level every time so I’m currently in the second world of the game.

Never really finished
The downside to a game like this, is that it’s evolved beyond merely making your way through the levels. I remember when I was very young and playing on my SEGA that the hard part about the game was actually beating it. You would find your way through every new level and engage a boss every now and then. I remember being stuck for very long on a boss in the Lion King before finally figuring out how to beat it, granting me passage to the last few levels of the game.
This was also an era where save games weren’t a thing, so if you shut down your console for the day it would mean that you had to start over from the start the next day. Ofcourse everytime you beat a level it became easier and getting to the point where you would get stuck previously wasn’t as big of a chore anymore.
These days however, simply beating the game is just not a thing anymore. I look at my Playstation 4 games and see all the thropies you can earn with those. Some are earned simply by playing the game and beating the mainstory, but others require you to do special things… which usually require more than one playthrough of a game. The same goes for Donkey Kong. You can simply make your way through the levels and consider the game “finished” when you have played through the entire story. However…
In every level there are puzzle pieces to find along with the letters K-O-N-G. Getting all of those, plus beating certain times on levels will earn you points towards 100% completion of the game.
Since I’m a perfectionist, and a completionist, it can be very frustrating for me to play these type of games because I actually do want to 100% them… But that will probably take me forever on some games (mostly my PS4 ones). So I’m trying to tell myself that it’s ok if I just finish the mainstory and I can always come back later to earn trophies or really “finish” the game… Which just makes me not play anymore at all after a while. I really want to play through my games though. I usually like the stories and want to see how it ends, so this year I want to push myself to finish story modes… And then I can always come back to 100% it later if I want to.

Minor tweaks
I did a minor tweak on my blog. I found it a bit too narrow for reading so made my two sidebars into one. This should hopefully provide for a nicer reading experience overall, I’m happy with the current design and layout atleast 🙂