Things are getting Funky. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is heading to the Nintendo Switch, and one of its most notable new features is taking Funky Kong and bringing him to the forefront. He is being brought in as a means of making the game, which does offer a challenge for those who want it, a little more accessible. What is interesting is how Funky Kong’s history has set him up for this role.
Funky Kong initially established himself in the series as someone players could count on. In Donkey Kong Country, he debuted as owner of Funky’s Flights. This is a free service that lets you go to spaces Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong have already completed. While this is not having a major impact on difficulty, it establishes him as a trustworthy face that can aid the player. This continues in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, where the Biplane Barrel can be rented for coins, and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble, where Dixie and Kiddy Kong can have him create vehicles or give him DK Coins to get the Gyrocopter. This appears to translate to Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, where he becomes a reliable, playable character.
We have also been able to see Funky Kong as the “fun” Kong in past games. But not because of his laid back attitude. Games have taken care to connect him to minigames, tying him to brief, enjoyable respites in the middle of games that might otherwise be rather trying. The Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance versions of Donkey Kong Country offered people Funky’s Fishing, where you had to collect specific sorts of fish within a certain amount of time. Donkey Kong Country II: Diddy’s Kong Quest on the Game Boy Advance included a different Gyrocopter challenge in each of the seven locations. Not to mention, Donkey Kong Country III: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble Game Boy Advance port had four minigames that were spiritual successors to Cobra Triangle. His selling Capsule Toy Machine items in the Nintendo Wii U version of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze too helps cement this concept.
It is in Donkey Kong 64 that the focus of his shop changes. While his early incarnations helped people get around, it was this entry that made his shop more about things that could help you in the game. He would sell weapons and accessories here, as well as provide free ammunition. In this way, you could consider him helping you out and making the game a little more manageable. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze had him doing the same, providing balloons, Crash Guards and Heart Boosts, all things that give players a little more leeway and make it easier to survive. This again points to his reliability and suggests why it is fitting for him to be a more accommodating character in the Nintendo Switch version of the game.
It is only fitting that the Nintendo Switch version of Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze continues to establish Funky Kong’s character. By making him the slightly easier character, we see the culmination of a pattern. Funky made traveling easier in the earlier games, allowing us to swiftly return to places we had been. He offered us minigames to enjoy. In later games, we could buy weapons and items or pick up free ammo at his store. By implementing his playable character in this fashion, players are once again shown the kind of creature he is.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will come to the Nintendo Switch on May 3, 2018 in Japan and May 4, 2018 in North America and Europe.