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Friday, May 4, 2018

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is released. Again!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You can still get the game on the Wii U. Though you should have done that four years ago.

I wanted to write something about déjà vu, but it turns out that while we wrote a lot about Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze before its release, and a lot about Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze after its release, we never published a release article for the game on the Wii U. KoopaTV's infamous February 2014 hiatus prevented us from doing that.

Nintendo is generously offering us the opportunity to make up for that unfortunate dark stain on KoopaTV history. So, let's do that.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was released on the Wii U on February 21, 2014 for $50. Fantastic game, developed by Retro Studios and composed by David Wise — David Wise's work won KoopaTV's Best OST of 2014.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is released on the Nintendo Switch today, on May 4, 2018 for $60. It's just as fantastic as four years ago. But NOW it features Funky Mode, which is where all of the marketing for the Switch version is going into. I'll dedicate a whole article to Funky Mode later, since I think it's fascinating.

For now, I want to address two interrelated issues: The game has been removed from the Wii U eShop, and people's general upset reactions.

People are super upset that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is more expensive now than it was on the Wii U. It never really made much sense why it was $50 then to begin with. You can get it even cheaper now if you buy a physical copy of the Wii U game.

I think the $50 price might have hurt Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze's sales. They weren't good, and I was keeping track of them closely whenever Nintendo released financial statements because Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze deserves many millions of people buying it. A substandard price might signal a statement about the game's quality, even though substandard price games are often amazing. (Such as the Ace Attorney series, which sells for $30 when the standard 3DS game is $40.) With Nintendo repricing the game at $60, that might give Tropical Freeze the reputation boost it deserves.

It's true that, if you suddenly now want to buy Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze digitally on the Wii U, that'll be rather difficult. The game isn't removed or deleted from the eShop, but it is unlisted. The Buy Digital button is now gone from the Wii U game page on If you already have the game, you can delete it from your Wii U memory and redownload it at will. If you placed Tropical Freeze on your wishlist, then you can access it there as well.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze data management delete from system memory
Don't be afraid of this Delete button. You can redownload it.
...On that note, digitally downloading Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was one of my biggest mistakes of the Wii U.
It's a huge file.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Nintendo eShop Wii U free download
...And it's there, waiting for me to download it back. (The download was successful.)

It's unknown exactly when Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze became unlisted from the eShop. It's obvious why this would happen: So it wouldn't cannibalise sales of the Switch version. However, games like Mario Kart 8 and Pokkén Tournament are still available for digital download on the Wii U eShop, so this doesn't apply to the rest of the ported games. The inconsistency is a bit troubling, as well as the lack of announcement that they do for things as unimportant as the Wii Shop Channel.

The Donkey Kong Country series has a history of disappearing off Nintendo's digital distribution platforms, such as the three SNES Donkey Kong Country games on the Wii's Virtual Console. In fact, RawkHawk2010 bet that within six months of those games getting on the Wii U eShop, they would be removed. He lost that bet and then disappeared on a... really long hiatus.

Upon hearing that Tropical Freeze was removed from the eShop, I checked. The SNES Donkey Kong Country games are all still there.

Wii U eShop Virtual Console Donkey Kong Country series 2 3 $7.99
See? Three Donkey Kong Country games, still purchasable. (Only Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest is recommended.)

Still, I can't help but wondering how many people are inconvenienced by this. This was always a risk for running a digital distribution-based lifestyle. The company controls your access to your games, not you. I've been warning this for years. But... if you wanted Tropical Freeze on the Wii U in a digital format, wouldn't you have gotten it by now? What excuse could you have for not getting it?

One of the best reasons for having Tropical Freeze on the Wii U at all, the Miiverse integration, no longer exists. Now you can make up for it with the Switch's video capture abilities. That arguably might be as good as the Miiverse stuff.

If the extra $10 in price really bothers you, then you're at the right website. The KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program gives out prizes in $10 increments for your reading participation, and Round 20 JUST started a few days ago! That means the scoreboard is fresh, and if you stick with KoopaTV all month (and read the page on how to participate and get points — it's entirely free and skill-based), you can make up that $10 difference in no time!

Donkey Kong megafan RawkHawk2010 advocates that no one buy the Switch port of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
This is as close to a whole article on Funky Mode as you're going to get.


  1. I got DK:TF as a digital download for Wii U due to a sale you get if you buy a virtual console DKC title. It even worked if you do a transfer from the Wii menu to the Wii U menu so I paid only a dollar to then get a good deal for TF.

    1. And we can assume that you have no desire to re-buy it for the Switch, at no discount.

    2. I have way too much of a backlog of games and I got a 100% file for Tropical Freeze (I got 200% for Returns in the Wii version).

    3. You're sort of implying that if you had nothing else to play, you'd double-dip...?

  2. I had finished playing the game a second time just before the port was announced in a Direct, so I will not be picking it up again. I bought Tropical Freeze at the original price and enjoyed every moment of it. It will more than likely outsell the Wii U version within no time. If there is a third game in the series, I hope that more animal buddies are included as well as the Kremlings.

    1. I can't disagree with anything you said, besides the last bit about the Kremlings. I don't care if they are or ain't in.

      How do you feel about what happened in the eShop?

    2. Considering the physical game is still abudant, at least in my area, I do not really care. However, if video games were to be sold digital only, then I would be vehemently against this practice.

    3. They don't even sell Wii U games on the shelves here anymore, so there's that...


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