Review Review - DK: King of Swing (GBA)

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Nov 22, 2003
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Donkey Kong: King of Swing

Donkey Kong: King of Swing is one of the more original games on the GBA. Nintendo, with no lack of imagination, and surely not a lack of ideas, has created a vertical platformer, where Donkey Kong rolls from peg to peg using his hands. He does not move typically left to right like a standard platformer, but instead, goes up and to the top, using pegs. The most unique part of this game is that Donkey Kong now uses the L and R buttons of the GBA to control his left and right hand respectively. It’s not really like the original Donkey Kong of the Super Nintendo days, but it does keep some sort of platforming element alive.

The gameplay is, in one word, short. The whole game is short. This could be bad or good. For some people, a short game means less gameplay, and that is a bad thing, but for others, it means that it’s faster to complete and those who play in short bursts know that a short game is meant to be played in short bursts. When playing Donkey Kong, you notice right away that there are many pegs. You cannot jump with the standard A B buttons, but rather, by holding down the L and R buttons to hop up using a charge shot. You then latch onto pegs in the map, and swing around them, going from bottom to top of the map. There are several more things to grab on to, including gears and cranks and handles of the sort, but ultimately, all take you the top of the level, the very end and your destination. To attack, you would hold on to two pegs opposite your arms, and charge a shot up, then release a shot at enemies nearby, like floating birds. Of course, there are those pesky Zingers, but those always hurt, even in previous games. It’s a simple concept really, swinging from peg to peg, and collecting bananas. Unlike previous games however, the A and B button are now freed up. This allows for Donkey Kong to use the A and B buttons as powerup buttons. Once DK collects 20 bananas and presses A, he can temporarily go invincible and destroy all of the enemies, including those pesky Zingers. 10 bananas and pressing B will heal DK one heart in his health bar. The levels are varied enough for somebody to be justified to play through each world and actually complete the game without feeling gypped as if the game were too bland or too much like a minigame.

The graphics are definitely downgraded, or upgraded, depending on how you look at it, but they have changed from the previous Donkey Kong games. From before, the series had a rendered 3D model look for Donkey Kong, but now Nintendo has given him a flat cartoony image, one that is more 2D, fitting to his new GBA game. A new game with new concepts should deserve a new mascot, especially since a new concept would equal a new design idea or even team. The whole game has shifted from a “realistic” view to a more cartoon style, and the new concept of a game warrants this shift.

The sound is typically like a Donkey Kong GBA game. Not much has changed beyond a few remixes of the original songs. The sounds are the same, and haven’t changed much from the original series, keeping the effects of enemies dieing and Donkey Kong’s screams. It can’t really be enjoyed on a mono or even stereo set of the DS speakers, so headphones are definitely a must.

Lasting Replay
The lasting replay of this game is limited in a way. The only thing that could keep somebody to this game would have to be the multiplayer, but other than that, after beating this very short game, a person might be hard pressed to go back and collect all of the secrets. It’s a decent game, just kind of short, and not much worth a second playthrough.

Donkey Kong: King of Swing is a decent game, though not exactly one that has much gameplay in it. The levels are designed decently, but there aren’t enough levels for a great game. Overall, it feels like Nintendo definitely hit a new concept that is fresh and original, but they could make the game longer and maybe add some more design concepts. The DS should be perfect for this series, seeing how most levels are vertical and that the DS, with 2 screens, can accommodate better graphics, sound, and even have more memory. Here’s to hoping that Nintendo can make a decent DS version for release later on in this year.




Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Lasting Replay - 7/10
Overall - 8/10 (Not an average)
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