Fighting to stay relevant in the holiday PS4 vs Xbox One chatter, Nintendo today dropped what the company considered to be a Wii U knowledge bomb. Gamers will for the first time in franchise history be able to play as Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. According to Nintendo, the cranky one is a long-time franchise favorite. News to me. What’s not as surprising is that doing so will require a separate controller, something Nintendo is notorious for doing.
For the first time in the Donkey Kong Country series, players will be able to assume control of the fan-favorite Cranky Kong. Cranky joins Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong as one of Donkey Kong’s partners in the game. The bearded Cranky Kong is very spry for his age, using his cane to bounce on dangerous objects like spikes. This ability helps him access areas other characters can’t reach.
During single-player mode, Cranky rides on Donkey Kong’s back. In co-op multiplayer, a second player can control Cranky, Diddy or Dixie directly. An additional controller, sold separately, is required for multiplayer play.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze lets players embark on an original adventure with Donkey Kong and partners Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong. The Kong team will battle The Snowmads, who have invaded and frozen Donkey Kong Island. Players will jump from island to island as they explore a huge variety of new environments, from lush mangroves to burning savannahs and Donkey Kong’s frozen island.
The game introduces a number of new features, such as the ability to swim, a dynamic camera that adds dimension and depth to the gorgeous on-screen action, and the ability to play the full game on the Wii U GamePad controller in off-TV play. But the big question, particularly as Nintendo fights for all those next-gen console dollars, is whether gamers will actually be so excited to play as Cranky Kong that they’ll be willing to pony up the extra money for that additional multiplayer controller.