A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an upbeat platform game and a remake of an older GameCube game. It has no profanity, sex, or illicit substances, and only mild cartoon violence. Donkey Kong uses his big hands to pummel a variety of enemies, fruits, and environmental obstacles, and his foes try to arrest his progress by biting, stinging, and charging at him. Some hurl objects, such as melons charged with electricity.
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What's it about?
The third entry in Nintendo's new series of classic GameCube games re-released for the Wii and reworked to make use of the console's motion-sensitive contols, NEW PLAY CONTROL! DONKEY KONG JUNGLE BEAT swaps out the original's bongo bashing for a bit of Wii remote and nunchuk wagging. The nunchuk's control stick is used to make our furry hero run around two-dimensional environments and the A-button makes him jump. Most other actions, such as a clap attack that generates a sound wave, swinging around plant stems, and pummelling giant fruits with Kong's fists, are accomplished via quick and rapid controller shakes.
Everything else about the game is virtually unchanged. Players work through a wide variety of themed levels, leaping over gaps, swinging on vines, defeating enemies, and collecting bananas en route to a series of clever boss battles. It's best summed up as traditional platform gaming with a quirky control twist.
Is it any good?
Like the GameCube original, the new Jungle Beat for Wii can be a lot of fun. Players are always kept on their toes. In the space of just a few moments, you'll see Kong ride a bronco, get shot out of barrels, be tossed high into the air by monkey helpers, and use his thunderous clap to organize floating bits of fluff into temporary platforms. And, thanks in large part to the new joystick-based navigation, the Wii control scheme makes Jungle Beat even more accessible than it was on the GameCube.
The only real issue is that it's a short play; around four or five hours from start to finish. That time can be increased significantly should players choose to replay each kingdom stage with an aim to earn a higher score (which will also unlock a few bonus levels), but this is the sort of challenge that typically only appeals to hardcore platform game lovers. The bottom line is that it's fun but brief. Even with its relatively low price tag, the new Jungle Beat might make a better rental than purchase.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference in control between the original GameCube game, which required a plastic bongo controller, and the new Wii version, which uses the Wii remote and nunchuk as an analog for drums. Do you prefer one over the other? Do you think that the new controls alone make this game worth purchasing if you already own the GameCube edition?
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