Review: Game & Watch Donkey Kong Jr. (DSiWare)

A rather snappy LCD version of the arcade release

The first thing you'll notice about Donkey Kong Jr. Game & Watch is that it's clearly a lot more playable than many of the other Game & Watch releases. Not only are there more ways to do more, but now you have four-way controls, not to mention a jump button. The vine layout is also something that lends itself to increased playability, especially given the fact that you can only hang onto a vine for a limited amount of time, making navigating your way up to the swinging key a bit more tricky. Each time you successfully grab the swinging key, you'll unlock a section of Donkey Kong's cage. Unlock all four sections and you'll earn yourself 20 bonus points. The faster you make it to the key, the more points you'll score each time. Of course you're going to have to watch out for the steady flow of crocodiles and swarming crows that Mario keeps sending your way in order to do so, which is sometimes easier said than done.

As with most Game & Watch releases, there are two difficulty settings to choose from. Game A tends to be the better starting place as the pace starts out fairly playable for gamers of any skill levels. Of course if you start getting too efficient with Game A you can always switch over to Game B where things are a bit faster and more intense. You'll definitely have your hands full with the increasing speed and number of crocodiles and crows coming your way. You'll constantly catch yourself coming back to the game in an effort to better your previous high score and that's where the majority of the fun is to be had.

From a musical and visual standpoint there's not much to these LCD re-releases. The developers have done a fantastic job of recreating the overlay visuals that were painted on the screens of the original LCD units and the LCD displays are spot-on perfect renditions of the original. Even the little bits of music and metallic sound effects are emulated to perfection, so much so that it can be difficult to tell the difference between this DSiWare release and the original Game & Watch unit. It's nice to see Nintendo put some care and effort into keeping these classic LCD games as accurate as possible, something fans of the electronic games will surely appreciate.


There's no denying the nostalgia factor involved in these classic Game & Watch releases and the DSiWare service is the perfect place to make these available as individual releases for those who've longed to play them again. They're not going to set the gaming world on fire with their playability, but for those who can appreciate them they're really cool and still a lot of fun to sit down with when you have a few minutes to kill. Donkey Kong Jr. is easily one of the more enjoyable of the Game & Watch releases and if you've never tried any of the Game & Watch titles, this one is a great place to start.

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