#583 Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat

Posted: 14th June 2019 by Jeroen in Games
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791st played so far

Genre: Platform
Platform: Gamecube
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher: Nintendo

Donkey Konga gave the world a Donkey Kong-themed music game using a custom bongo controller. Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat took those same controllers, but turned it into a platformer. An actual platformer, not a rhythm game skinned to show a platformers.

Our Thoughts

The control method defines a lot more about the game, but taking that away for a second before we dive into that – Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is a lovely looking game, taking you through a decent variety of 2D platform levels. The progression to unlock different levels gives you quite a bit of content early on, but also requires you to get better at the game (scoring the right level of medals) to continue on through. It meant I didn’t get as far as I maybe could have, as I wanted to see new stuff rather than replay, but it still gave me a decent chunk of levels to play without too much effort.

Maybe that’s also because I felt I got the game quicker than I expected. The rhythm based non conventional controls suit having played both the old style sports games like Summer Games and new rhythm like games with additional gameplay like the Bit Trip series. You tap the bongo tomove left or right, both to jump and clap to interact with the environment. The first are standard controls, although less accurate than you get with conventional controls. The clap stands out as the generic “activate this” button. It has a lot of different uses, such as having a monkey grab you and swing you around or stunning certain enemies, and it feels natural enough to stay fun while also feeling different enough.

The game actually feels more like a Sonic game, with its longer on rails sections and speed through larger levels being the most important. The game rewards control and especially observation, as the hidden passages are hidden really well and tend to be quite rewarding.

The boss fights, on the other hand do rely a bit more on precision in some cases, while the boxing matches feel like they’re from a different game. They’re less succesful for the most part and it feels like they got in the way more often than not.

Final Thoughts

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat‘s controls make it feel like quite a different game – not better, but the variation is so strange that it really makes for a game that’s a lot of fun. It’s not the type of platformer that you might expect from the creators of the Mario games, but as a different, almost Sonic-like feeling it works really well.