Yooka Laylee & the Impossible Lair – Kong & Tonic

Impossible, huh? Pffftt, I’m a skilled gamer! Just a bit of platforming? No problem. Hey, these platforms are moving pretty fast. That’s a lot of spikes. Okay, there’s nowhere to land. Guess I’ll die. No more lives? … I’ll be back later.

Imagine a spiritual successor to Donkey Kong Country came out without anyone noticing? That’s what we have here. After years of hype for Playtonic’s debut 3D platforming game Yooka-Laylee, it received quite a bit of backlash for not being the best game ever made. It was pretty much what people asked for, a Banjo successor that revived open 3D platforming, but unreasonable expectations developed over the years. Playtonic took a completely different approach to Impossible Lair, announcing it and launching it very quickly in the same year. All they really needed to sell this game was a trailer with new David Wise music, roll-jumps and barrels.

Instead of purely catering to kickstarter backers demands, Impossible Lair is a passion project that takes advantage of the 2D platforming genre to fix all the problems the original game had. The “empty” and “unfocused” level design of a 3D wasteland becomes very focused and tight when you can only move left and right. I recently finished all 40 levels and the Impossible Lair itself, and I really have to commend this game. I’m a huge fan of Donkey Kong Country and especially Tropical Freeze, and I’m bursting to talk about this. Impossible Lair is the real deal.

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Achievement Unlocked – Tropical Freedom

Recently it has been discovered that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has an achievement system buried inside the game, something that was never implemented in the final release. The Cutting Room Floor dived into the game’s coding and retrieved this list of achievements from a file relating to the Miiverse. As someone who has played this game to death I found this very interesting, and I’ve done pretty much all of those on my own. However, I’m writing this article to emphasise how glad I am they were removed. I’ve spent 120 hours on this masterpiece so far and I never expected that coming in, but the game continually impresses and engages me with new layers of depth. Would I have embraced the game’s design so much if there was an anti-fun tracker hovering over the screen? Probably not.

tropicalachievement

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King of the Jungle

It’s 2 am.

We just held a party at this house. Pre-drinks included some sort of Wii Fit Plus championship. It was Ok. Obviously I didn’t take part because Wii Fit Plus is an uncool, casual, kiddy extravaganza, and any fun the party guests were having was just hollow, fake fun, compared to the hardcore gaming experiences they could be having. Their laughter, hollow, fake laughter. Obviously such shallow gameplay couldn’t hold them so we had to walk to the pub to continue the night. We arrived at the pub and they said they were closing, the bottleshop was still open so we bought a couple more cartons and walked home, knowing only the despair of Wuhu Island awaited us.

Upon returning, the unwashed masses returned to their Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus, gleaming whatever hollow enjoyment they could out of the household’s two Wii boxes; the second Wii, purchased by my casual gaming housemate, symbolising the kind of callous opulence Australians lived in during the naive days of Emperor Rudd and his economic stimulus packages. The other hardcore gamers and I discussed hardcore subjects like international communism, capitalist-anachronism, and the scourge of democracy in holding back this society from ideological purity. But as the beer and goon ran dry, so too did the crowd thin out, the short lived thrills of Wii Basketball running thin. Desperate for companionship, and the cheeseburgers retrieved from the mainstream, 24 hour Mcdonalds, the hardcore gamers and I went back to the living room.

“What silly game are the bongo drums for?” asked the most beautiful girl in attendance. I glanced over at the gimmicky, novelty plastic drums and fished out the game so desperately attached to them, so obviously strangled at the design stage and shoehorned with ridiculous sound based controls.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

There are so many ways you could demean this game.

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