Anime and Manga

No Donkey Kong? No Problem!

DK used to be a bread winner for Nintendo and had a fairly great run. But for some bizarre reason, outside of ports and obligatory cameos, our favorite monkey really took a backseat after a mere two games in the last 11 years. Leave it to a pissed as shit rabbit and a lizard to pick up the mantle. Here’s two fantastically made Donkey Kong inspired 2D platformers to push that classic style forward.

First is Kaze and the Wild Masks.
A stubby rabbit girl with a dire case of resting bitch face in her fight against homicidal vegetables. It’s as fucking incredible as it sounds. Certain levels she will encounter special masks giving her the power of their visage to take on uniquely tailored challenges. There’s a lot of well placed collectables to pick up that incentivize replaying levels to unlock secrets and each level comes complete with leaderboards for any competitive types who appreciate a good time trial. It’s deceptive in how much replay value there is from a seemingly short game as it really tests and rewards devoted completionists. And these levels are all fun enough, with exactly the tolerable length that you’d want to retry them. The cherry on top is precision movement as simple and expertly crispy as Mega Man.

Second is Yooka-Laylee’s grossly overlooked sequel.
Dropping a dimension, Playtonic really redeemed Yooka-Laylee with this game after it’s incredibly mediocre (at best) 2017 debut installment. But, they didn’t completely remove the spirit of 3D action adventure they attempted in the original game. Impossible Lair has a twist, surprisingly in the world map of all things.
In a stroke of genius the world map is less of a dot-to-dot literal map and more of a miniature classic style Legend of Zelda overworld. You actively explore this overworld/map hybrid uncovering more areas to progress. Here, Yooka can enter caves, meet new and old characters, solve puzzles, find secret enhancements, and open special paths. You’ll even manipulate the 2D platforming levels with environmental overworld triggers. It doesn’t pad itself out or waste your time to get to the rewarding 2D stages. It’s sick and surprisingly balanced.

I own both and really strongly recommend them equally. They’re masterfully crafted 2D adventures by developers that really understand the era of their inspiration (though to be fair to Yooka, it’s literally made by the people who helped define it).

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