The Donkey Kong series, which launched the line of iconic Nintendo games, has been in limbo since the release of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The closest that the series has come to new content, apart from transferring Tropical Freeze to Switch, is the long—awaited inclusion of King K. Rool in the Super Smash Bros. list. While the titular monkey remains one of the most famous video game characters of all time, his recent appearances have mostly been his must-have spot on the list of additional Mario game characters. As for the games that actually put Donkey Kong on the map, there doesn’t seem to be anything planned on the part of Nintendo.
It seems that the popularity of both old-school platformers and spin-offs similar to crossovers is growing. As a franchise with a rich history in both types of games, Donkey Kong has great potential in the modern era. If Nintendo currently refuses to review a series of platformers, it may be due to either limited internal interest in such a project, or a lack of ideas. There is one potentially effective way to entertain Donkey Kong fans, as the gap between the release of Tropical Freeze and the announcement of the next platformer is getting bigger. Indeed, Nintendo could revisit the concept of a Donkey Kong-themed racing game.
Modern racing game Donkey Kong
The name Donkey Kong is not alien to the racing genre. Donkey Kong himself has been in every Mario Kart game except Super Mario Kart, which has Donkey Kong Jr. on its list. Ironically, the monkey in the tie has yet to play a major role in his own traditional karting. Instead, Diddy Kong got his own racing game on the cards in the Nintendo 64 era and just a couple of years after its introduction.
The Donkey Kong racer was planned for the GameCube, but it was eventually abandoned. Donkey Kong Barrel Blast for Wii was the first real attempt of the franchise to gather all the regular players of the series to participate in races, but the public rejected it as mediocre due to useless management. Since then, there has not been even a hint of anything related to racing in the conversations about the future of Donkey Kong. Additionally, the kremlings featured in Barrel Blast have since been reduced to minor episodes in subsequent appearances.
The new Donkey Kong racing game just needs to get back to basics. When the Wii came out, motion control was a novelty, and it was necessary to integrate it into every game on the console. Now, while Nintendo still implements at least some form of motion control in its latest systems, there’s no need to impose them on games that don’t need them, especially because of the Switch’s compatibility with so many controllers. The future Donkey Kong racer will not have to repeat what Barrel Blast tried to do. He can defend his own direction and feel fresh.
As for the characters, the Donkey Kong racing game should simply collect all the major Congas from the Super Nintendo and Donkey Kong 64 series, as well as important kremlings such as K. Rule, regular Critters, Klump and Crash. One of the notable things made by Donkey Kong Barrel Blast was the return of Lanky Kong. Another racer could easily relate to little-known Congas such as Chunks and Swankies. In addition, with the advent of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze, countless opportunities for stages and items have appeared. Starting from the legendary levels with the trolleys of the original Donkey Kong Country and ending with the memorable stage of the Returns silhouettes, the Donkey Kong racer will not be limited to the famous Jungle Japes.
In general, Donkey Kong, as a character, does not need to rely on Mario and his buddies to enjoy racing. In his own series, there are many characters, bonuses and decorations to work with. Whether Nintendo wants to implement this idea or not, it’s nice to know that if Donkey Kong returns without a platformer, the racing game may keep fans busy in the meantime.
No famous Donkey Kong game is in development.