Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review (Switch)

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze on Switch is pretty much the exact same game you’ve already played on your Wii U. And that’s exactly as it should be. 

Tropical Freeze was and is one of the best Donkey Kong titles and one of the best platformers released in recent memory. Retro refined and streamlined everything it learned making Donkey Kong Country Returns and added some great new features. 

With Tropical Freeze now releasing on Switch, there have been some minor refinements and some welcome new additions. Being on Switch means it’s playable in handheld mode and with the added power, now displays in 1080p and 60fps when docked. 

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is definitely a worthy addition to any Switch owner’s library.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Switch Review

Just like the Wii U release, Tropical Freeze is a great throwback to the 16-bit Donkey Kong Country games. The gameplay has been updated to cater to modern audiences, but the platforming is tough and unforgiving. 

Every level has its own rhythm and cadence. The platforming and soundtrack align in surprising ways. Difficult sections of a level could be completed by listening to the music and timing my jumps to the beat. I constantly found myself surprised with Tropical Freeze.

Even though I’d already played it on Wii U. It’s just such a great game and playing it again on Switch is an absolute treat.

At first, playing Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is relatively simple, but it grows increasingly more complex and difficult as your progress. Thankfully, Donkey Kong has help from his old pal Diddy Kong and new additions to Tropical Freeze; Cranky and Dixie.

For this re-release, Nintendo has also made Funky Kong a playable character. 

Let’s get Funky

Funky Kong is only available if you opt to play the game in Funky mode. In this mode, you can switch between Donkey and Funky Kong on the map screen. When playing as Funky Kong, players are able to double jump, use Funky Kong’s surfboard to avoid damage from spikes, hover and perform infinite rolls.

When playing as Donkey Kong in Funky Mode, if a level is proving too difficult you’re able to skip it. The level skip feature only comes into effect if you’ve died a number of times in a level. 

If you do choose to quit the current level and move on, you’ll lose all collectables and progress. This means you’ll have to redo the entire level if you want to complete it. On the plus side, it removes the frustration of being stuck at one point and dying over and over.

 Other than the ability to play as Funky Kong and skip levels, Funky Mode doesn’t change the levels or gameplay. It’s perfect for players who are sharing the game with children or younger siblings.

Cranky, Diddy and Dixie

Like the Wii U version, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong are all available as partners for Donkey Kong. Diddy uses his jetpack to make him and DK hover, Dixie uses her pigtails to perform a rising jump and Cranky Kong uses his cane to bounce like Scrooge McDuck.

Each of the support Kongs is playable in co-op mode, but when you play solo they are almost essential. Even though Donkey Kong has his own moveset and abilities, when he’s without one of the support Kongs it’s like he’s missing a limb.

Every time I lost my personal favourite (Dixie Kong), Tropical Freeze suddenly felt ten times harder. Without the safety net of long jumps, hovering or higher bounces, every move feels more life and death. You need to be much more precise with everything you do. I have a feeling that only playing as Donkey Kong is something hardcore platform players do.

Aside from completing the level, each one contains puzzle pieces and the KONG letters to collect. There are secret exits which unlock additional levels and plenty of extra content to unlock after you finish.

As for playing on Switch, it’s even better than playing on Wii U. The visuals are crisper, the sound is sharper and the control scheme is simply better thanks to the redesigned button layout on Switch.

As I said in the beginning, the Switch version is better simply by being portable. It’s the same great game with a few added extras and the benefit of portability.

If you own a Switch, you should grab Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. Even if you’ve played it on Wii U.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was reviewed using a digital code provided by Nintendo.

PowerUp! Reviews

Game Title: Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

  • 9.5/10
    The best Donkey Kong Country now playable on the go - 9.5/10
  • 8/10
    Funky Kong is good for younger players - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    It's still tough as nails - 7.5/10


Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was brilliant when it was released for Wii U and it’s even more brilliant now it’s available on Switch.

It’s visually wonderful, full of character and has an absolutely flawless soundtrack. It also doesn’t shy away from the history of the franchise with Tropical Freeze standing as one of the toughest games in the series.

While there’s not much new for those who’ve already played it on Wii U, it’s still worth playing. As with everything released on Switch, being able to play a game like Tropical Freeze on the go is mind-blowing and a testament to just how worthwhile Nintendo’s latest console is.

User Review
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Leo Stevenson
Leo Stevenson
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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