If rumors are to be believed, it seems that the Mario Kart and Splatoon titles heading for the Nintendo Switch aren’t entirely new entries, but enhanced ports of their Wii U editions.
This may come as a disappointment to some, but I think there’s a bright side to this. It’s true that the ports may be done to get some quality titles onto the Switch early on, but I think it’s also something of a testament to both the longevity of Nintendo’s titles, and the quality the Wii U brought to Nintendo’s franchises (seriously, the games were great! Why didn’t they sell more?). I’ve long since stated that Mario Kart 8 is the best entry in the long-running series, and if Nintendo fixed the battle mode and added some better character selections, it would pretty much be perfect. So if the Switch Mario Kart is just that, I’ll have no complaints.
Point being, while I would like to see some sequels to a number of Wii U games on the Switch, I’m also all for enhanced ports, provided they make some meaningful changes to the titles. But there is one Wii U game I’d love to see get an enhanced Switch port more than any others.
No, it’s not Super Smash Bros. It’s not Xenoblade Chronicles X. It’s not Pikmin 3. Those are all great games, and seeing them ported to the Switch would also be great. But the Wii U game I most want to see get an enhanced port on the Switch is none other than…
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze!
Pretty much anyone who knows me or reads anything I write should know that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is my favorite Wii U game, and one of my favorite Nintendo games of all time. Retro Studio’s Donkey Kong Country Returns was a fantastic return to form for DKC, but Tropical Freeze cranked everything up to all new levels.
The level design was some of the most creative ever seen in any game of any genre, the gameplay additions (such as Dixie and Cranky) were terrific and meaningful, and the soundtrack (composed by the legendary David Wise) is one of the finest in gaming history. Simply put, it was one Hell of a platformer.
Despite its quality, Tropical Freeze was only a modest success. Perhaps partly due to the Wii U’s overall lackluster sales, and partly due to Nintendo fans (astoundingly) being disappointed at the game’s initial reveal, instead wishing for a new Metroid title from Retro Studios (because apparently one DKC from Retro was enough, but three Metroids weren’t???). No matter the case, the game sold decently enough, but doesn’t even rank as one of the Wii U’s 10 best-selling games. And despite getting strong reviews upon its release, it basically went under the radar from there, winning very few awards and rarely ranking nearly high enough on lists of best Wii U games.
This is a crying shame, not just because of the game’s immense quality, but also because it all but ensured that it never received any DLC or significant updates in a generation when Nintendo finally embraced such concepts.
Granted, a fantastic game stands on its own merits, and doesn’t need any additional content (just look at all the SNES greats). But considering that the Wii U was the console that saw Nintendo regularly update titles, often with significant additions (such as with Mario Kart 8, Splatoon, and Super Mario Maker), this really felt like a missed opportunity.
Though Tropical Freeze was a substantial improvement on the already-great Donkey Kong Country Returns, it still stands at being two whole worlds shorter. Once again, I prefer quality to quantity, and would prefer a shorter game with more polish and creativity than a lengthier one that features less in those departments. But how great would it have been to see additional stages, or even additional worlds, added to Tropical Freeze? What about extra modes, more secrets, or additional animal buddies?
Looking back, it seems like Nintendo and Retro Studios could have done something for the game post-release.
Now, I would absolutely love to see what Retro Studios could do if they were to make a third Donkey Kong Country title of their own. But since they’ve already announced that their next game (sadly) has nothing to do with DK, that’s off the table (hopefully we’ll get another DKC down the road at some point).
So if we won’t be seeing a new Retro Studios DKC anytime soon on the Switch, the next best thing would be for Tropical Freeze to make its way onto the console/handheld hybrid with some additional bells and whistles. This may not be entirely likely (again, the game was only a modest success), but if there’s one Wii U game I’d want to revisit on the Switch above all others, it’s definitely this one (okay, I suppose Mario Maker has a ton of potential, but Tropical Freeze was my favorite, okay?!).
Maybe with Retro working on another title, a different studio could handle a potential port, while adding new features to the process? Or perhaps Retro could cook up some brand new stages for the game as a side project? I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas. All I know is I would absolutely love for this to happen.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is one of my favorite Nintendo games of all time. And you can never have too much of a great game. If Nintendo is really going to enhance some of the Wii U’s best games and bring them over to the Switch, it would be a perfect opportunity to make one of their greatest releases in recent memory all the more special.
They may have missed the opportunity to add more levels, bosses and gameplay additions to Tropical Freeze with DLC or updates. But hey, better late than never, right?
While we’re at it, can we also get the Tropical Freeze soundtrack on CD or something? That would be wonderful.