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Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Impressions (Trailer Added)

Retro's next title isn't Metroid as speculated, it's a next-gen sequel to the excellent Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii.

As such, it's a 2D platformer that features the same demanding platforming as DKC Returns. However, the move to Wii U has allowed Retro to add a level of visual fidelity and polish that far exceeds what we saw on the Wii. Donkey Kong looks great in HD, and we witnessed some very impressive fur textures on both him and Diddy Kong. Oh, and we should mention that the pair won't be alone; though we didn't see her, Nintendo did reveal that Dixie Kong will be a playable character in the game as well.

The gameplay is largely identical and seems to be tailored to use a Wii remote and nunchuck, though apparently it can be played with the Wii U controller. However, the controls for pounding the ground and a roll attack are still done by shaking the Wii remote and/or nunchuck. Retro is adding a few new gameplay twists to the mix, like the return of swimming to the series and new rings embedded in the ground that DK can pull up to reveal new platforms or other elements in the environment.

You'll have a new set of enemies to try your moves out on. Although the title suggests a frozen DQ treat, it's actually in reference to the hoard of Vikings and other arctic creatures that are invading Donkey Kong's turf. Walruses, seals, penguins and more are available to be stomped on and thrown.

Two-player co-op is part of the game, with the second player assigned to Diddy Kong.

While the game is still very much a 2D platformer, the power of the Wii U has allowed Retro to use dramatic camera shifts (we saw DK traverse a series of barrels that curled around a huge tree. The game also adds more detail in the backgrounds of levels; we even witnessed a giant Viking ship explode in our gameplay demo. Character animation was also dramatically improved. Coupled with gameplay that felt just as tight and responsive as Donkey Country Returns, it seems to bode well for this sequel.

Visit our E3 News Headquarters for all the stories from the show. This preview was originally published on June 11, 2013.

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