It was nearly a year ago when the unthinkable game crossover was released on Nintendo Switch. Before its big E3 2017 reveal, fans slammed (I’m being nice when I say that) the leaked concept of a Mario and Rabbids game. Yet through strong showings from E3 up to its release in August 2017, Ubisoft proved that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle could really work. When the game was released, it became a surprise hit to everyone. Critics loved it, Switch owners loved it, and I even consider it one of the best Switch games made. That’s why I got excited again when Ubisoft announced the new single-player DLC for Mario + Rabbids, Donkey Kong Adventure. Let me tell you, Donkey Kong Adventure is absolutely an awesome experience you won’t want to put down.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was released as a Nintendo Switch exclusive in August 2017 and immediately grabbed people’s attention for its great gameplay, comedy, and excellent music. In our review of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, we said “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a fantastic strategy game which collides two worlds to great effect and is constantly funny thanks to the Rabbids’ mischievous antics. A must own for the Switch.” You can read our full review here. For this review, we’re focusing on the new Donkey Kong Adventure DLC.
In Donkey Kong Adventure, the story begins with a comical scene where Rabbid Peach tries plugging her phone into a highly dangerous, very unstable washing machine. This action causes her and Beep-O to be pulled through time and space to a very tropical world. It’s not long before they run into Donkey Kong and Rabbid Cranky, who join them in seeking all the parts to the washing machine so they can go home. Yes, the story is a bit crazy, but Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle did extremely well with making odd storylines work.
As the DLC name suggests, this DLC is all about Donkey Kong. I don’t just mean this game stars him, rather the whole DLC is designed around his character’s strengths and weaknesses. DK can move around the stages with ease, sometimes to a crazy extent. He can swing from platform to platform using a “DK Space” on the board, which allows him to swing to far off points on the map. On top of this, DK can pick up teammates, enemies, and environments and take them with him through the stage. This makes each battle so uniquely different from the last. I can use DK to pick up an enemy, swing across the map, throw said enemy at another enemy, causing both enemies to sustain damage, and I still have the option to attack as DK as well. Does it feel over-powered at times? Maybe, but that’s not a bad thing in this game.
The game looks and plays extremely well on Nintendo Switch. The beautiful design on the game and wonderful animation make it an experience you’ll love looking at. As someone who was raised on classic Donkey Kong adventures like Donkey Kong Country on SNES and Donkey Kong 64 on N64, I loved the constant references to these classic titles. Small things like the sounds made when you collect objects in the world to the big orchestral renditions of great DK tunes, Donkey Kong Adventure completely nails down the DK feeling. Another wonderful thing about this game is the length. This isn’t a small DLC add-on, it’s a 10-hour addition. That’s right, this DLC adds-on another 10 hours to an already surprisingly long game. The main story adventure will take you in the 7-8 hour range, with additional challenges, puzzles and collectible areas taking another couple of hours to complete. In short, paying the money for this DLC isn’t just a smart choice, it’s a fantastic deal for the amount of content you’re getting.
One major difference from the main adventure and Donkey Kong Adventure is the inability to choose your team. In the main game, switching characters was often a welcomed, even necessary, plan of action before each battle. In Donkey Kong Adventure, you only remain with the three main characters for this story (DK, Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Cranky). While this is no doubt great for you to learn your team’s strengths and weaknesses fast, it takes away some of the fun of having your team exactly the way you want it to be like in the main game. The one thing I have mixed feelings on is how separate this experience is from the rest of the main game. You have to choose the Donkey Kong Adventure DLC from the main menu rather than the content being in-game somewhere (like an added world). While it’s nice to have a separate game save and new skill tree to unlock in the game, it also feels like a missed opportunity to connect the experience to the main game. It’s a great experience, a must buy DLC for fans of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, but it still feels like a separate experience that almost could have been a sequel game.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: June 26th, 2018
For more information on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure, click HERE