Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Who it’s for: Platform fans of all ages (and skill levels, thanks to Funky Kong)
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Who it’s for: Adults looking for a solid RPG with a lot of racy humor
The success of the Nintendo Switch has resulted in an influx of games — excellent original games, indie games and a healthy dose of ports from other systems. The chorus of “Is it coming on Switch?” is one developers have noticed, and in many cases, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Some woefully underappreciated games from Nintendo’s previous effort, the Wii U, have appeared on the Switch, giving them a new chance at life. The latest, and one of the greatest, “Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze,” makes the system shine.
Originally released in 2014, “Tropical Freeze” gave platform fans a beautiful, challenging game filled with lush levels and over-the-top boss fights. On the Switch, the game has actually improved.
Those who played on the Wii U’s semi-portable screen will immediately notice how much better the game looks on the Switch. The improvement is more modest when connected to a television but still noticeable, as the animations are smoother and the framerate steadier.
Those improvements pale next to the game’s biggest addition: Funky Mode! Getting funky allows players to choose from Donkey Kong or Funky Kong, the surfer ape. Funky Mode ratchets down the game’s difficulty without coddling players like the help modes in later “Mario” games. It makes jumps more forgiving and gives players a chance to learn difficult levels without having to die a million times.
Those who played “Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze” all the way through on the Wii U won’t find enough of a reason to pick this version up (unless Funky Kong is your everything). But everyone else will discover an amazing platform game that is now accessible to players of any skill level. And who can resist another reason to monkey around on the Switch?
A hilarious story
“South Park: The Fractured But Whole” decided to go another, decidedly un-family friendly, direction.
Profane in all the right ways, think of “Fractured” like you would an uncensored episode of the “South Park” TV show. It’s entertaining — indeed, a little titillating — playing such a game on a Nintendo system, and it’s nice to see a Nintendo console with enough adult players to support titles such as this and “Doom.”
Identical to the version released on PS4 and Xbox One last year, “Fractured” picks up where “South Park: The Stick of Truth” left off. This time, Cartman has grown weary of playing medieval-themed dress-up and has talked his friends into playing superheroes instead. Somewhere in town, cats are being kidnapped, and there are rewards to collect for those brave enough to dive into South Park’s nefarious underbelly.
The new genre comes with a new and improved battle system that encourages strategy, both in the encounter itself and in determining the other kids you invite to fight at your side.
The hilarious story draws players in for the long haul, which involves accepting missions, searching for secrets and beating up sixth graders. Variety abounds as you discover new locations and recruit more and more heroes to fight by your side. The game never gets old, even when you delve into the game’s DLC, of which two pieces are available now.
The Danger Deck acts as a separate arena-style battle mode that includes new locations not found in the main game. The fights, organized by your in-game rivals, the Freedom Pals, gives players a great chance to practice their fighting techniques and strategies.
The second piece of DLC, “From Dusk to Casa Bonita,” takes the gang to everyone’s favorite Colorado restaurant for an adventure Black Bart would be proud of.
It’s important to note that the DLC is not included with the main game and must be purchased separately or as part of the season pass, which includes the above and one more story adventure that’s still coming.
Some players have reported problems with bugs, but I encountered only one in my playthrough. Otherwise, “South Park: The Fractured But Whole” is a great addition to the Switch library.