New Play Control Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Hands-On

We trade in our bongos and try to keep the beat in Nintendo's upcoming New Play Control offering.

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Nintendo's latest New Play Control has targeted Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, a GameCube game from 2005, which is really not that long ago but it seems that the age of playing with bongos is over. Part of the appeal of playing the original Jungle Beat was that you used the peripheral from the rhythm game Donkey Konga to platform your way through the banana-infested kingdoms. In New Play Control Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, you trade in your cylindrical percussion for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and instead of keeping a beat with your hands, it's morphed into a simple platformer in which you run, jump, and shake the controllers like a pair of maracas.

Vent your frustrations with the Wii Remote.
Vent your frustrations with the Wii Remote.

As the big ape with the power-red tie, you travel through kingdoms collecting as many bananas as you possibly can. The controls are obviously very different, so instead of tapping on bongos and clapping your hands, you're using the Nunchuk to move, the A button to jump, and you shake the Wii Remote to clap. The Z or B button can be used to do backflips and ground-pounds in conjunction with the A button, but swinging from vine to vine requires that you shake the Wii Remote, which can wear down your enthusiasm when playing for long periods of time. Frequent reminders will appear to tell you that you could use a break, given that there is a fair bit of waggling in this adventure, especially when you face a boss.

The game is also harder this time around because you have a health meter and a limited amount of lives. You can't just prance around the jungle without the worry of dying. Considering that you have more control over DK with the new controls, you need to put more effort into pummeling enemies and avoiding getting hit. You're no longer protected by collecting an enormous amount of bananas, but grabbing lots of the potassium-rich food source is still valuable because it gives you a health advantage when it comes time to face the boss at the end of each stage.

Combos are still included; if you string a number of moves, such as a backflip onto a series of wall jumps, you'll gain even more bananas when DK claps his hands happily over his head. Pressing A twice will let you gather the surrounding bananas in midair, and aiming with the Nunchuk while shaking the remote aims your sonic clap. It'll take a few levels to get into the swing of things, but we found that after each stage, your arms are going to require a break from all that shaking.

Do what DK does best--hunt for bananas.
Do what DK does best--hunt for bananas.

Visually the game still looks as great as it did when it originally came out on the GameCube. Jungle Beat may have appeared only four years ago, but there's a new and growing audience now that can experience this simple but endearing platformer on the latest Nintendo system. Look for New Play Control Donkey Kong Jungle Beat when it is released on May 4.

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