Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast

Common Sense Media says

Donkey Kong flying game takes a nosedive.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Up to four players can race against each other in friendly competition.

Violence & scariness

Very mild and cartoonlike. You can punch stuff and blow up your fellow racers with barrels of TNT.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of Nintendo's popular Donkey Kong franchise.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a simple kart-style racing game that swaps out traditional wheeled vehicles for flying bongo harnesses. It features plenty of Donkey Kong characters kids are likely to recognize, including an alarmingly ample-bosomed ape named Candy. The game features only mild violence of the variety the kiddy-racing genre is known for; namely, cartoonlike assaults on other racers using goofy items like explosive barrels and short-lived tornadoes. The biggest hurdle for kids will be growing accustomed to the unintuitive motion-sensitive controls, which are touchy and don't provide for precise steering. Up to four players can race at once, but both Wii remote and nunchuk controllers are required for all players.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's it about?

There are no karts in DONKEY KONG: BARREL BLAST, a racing game in which flying bongo harnesses replace more traditional vehicles, but its basic design is sufficiently similar that it qualifies as a kart racer in spirit. Players spend their time zooming around more than a dozen courses in wildly varying locales picking up special items like pineapple launchers and explosive barrels to slow up their opponents while avoiding goofy obstacles like windmill blades and octopi tentacles.

The shtick is in the motion-sensitive controls: Players shake their remote and nunchuk controllers to beat their bongo skins and accelerate, shift them left or right to turn, and move them up quickly to jump.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The controls unfortunately make the game difficult to enjoy. There's a good chance you may accidentally jump while making the motions for acceleration, or turn when making the motion to jump. This makes racing a fundamentally aggravating activity until you train your hands and wrists to move in extremely precise fashion. It requires an inordinate amount patience and practice to become skilled enough to race with confidence; so much, in fact, that most players will probably give up after the first few races.

And the pity is that even if you do have the fortitude to plod through and master the finicky controls, you won't be rewarded with much other than a few new characters and difficulty levels. The career mode lacks even a hint of narrative, and Candy's Challenges -- the only other real mode in the game, aside from multi-player -- does little to persuade people to keep playing (unless they really, really have a hankering to punch a few more barrels or collect a few more bananas).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about kart-style racing games, comparing and contrasting them. Do the recognizable characters typically featured in these games make them more fun? Do you like the motion sensitive, bongo-like controls in this game, or do you prefer the more traditional controls of other kart racers? Which power-up item in Barrel Blast is your favorite? Which is your least favorite? Which of Candy's challenges did you enjoy the most?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:October 8, 2007
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes (Nintendo Wii)

This review of Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv March 11, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

UGH!

This is why they should not make racing games for the WII. The controls are the worst EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not Reccommeneded.
Kid, 8 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Parent of a 9 and 9 year old Written byprofoundtruths April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Fun for the whole family

Initially rented as a lark, the whole family gets right into this game. It's one of the more physically active wii games, which really increases the fun (and decreases the lazy video game playing guilt). I really appreciate that our 9 year old twins, my husband (a VERY avid gamer) and myself (up until we had the wii my video game playing was windows solitare) can all play and have a good time playing this game together.

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