I’m finally back after a bit of an unplanned hiatus. Long story short: The latest Windows 10 update straight-up killed my last computer, and getting a working replacement up and running has been a surprisingly long and twisted process. But now things are up and running again, and this week, it’s time to play catch-up!

On October 8th, the folks over at Playtonic Games released a follow-up to their inaugural title, Yooka-Laylee, called Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. Unlike that 2017 release, however, this was intended less as a spiritual successor to 3D collectathons such as Rare’s Banjo-Kazooie, and more in line with their earlier 2D outings with the Donkey Kong Country series. And to that end, it includes a neat little Easter Egg as a throwback to that partnership with Nintendo.

Image via USgamer

One of the many items you can collect in the game is a Tonic called “GB Colour,” which provides a filter for the game which calls back to the original Game Boy, including a lower resolution and that iconic green hue. However, it’s more than just a simple callback to the 8-bit handheld, as the translation of Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair‘s visuals calls back to a specific trilogy of games, or at least one in particular.

Released in June of 1995, Donkey Kong Land was Rare’s first experiment with attempting the same style of pre-rendered graphics they’d used in Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on much weaker hardware — and hardware that could only grant them four colors, at that. The initial results were simultaneously impressive to see in action, yet a bit muddy as well.

Donkey Kong Land is often looked down upon as being a mere downgraded port of its Super NES big brother, and while that’s the case to varying degrees for its two follow-ups (Donkey Kong Land 2 attempted to be more faithful to Diddy’s Kong Quest, whereas Donkey Kong Land 3 chiefly borrowed the cast and premise), the reality is that it’s a wholly original game. It features an original story about the oft-meta Cranky Kong challenging Donkey and Diddy to retrieve their banana hoard on a less-powerful system, and the adventure features some unique settings and characters, not the least of which is the urban world of Big Ape City (seen at right, above) — stated to be the setting of the original Donkey Kong, decades before Super Mario Odyssey decided to revise Nintendo history.

While “classic” might be a strong word for it, the new material nevertheless makes Donkey Kong Land worth a look (and, if we’re being honest, maybe a remake as well), and you can check it out for only $3.99 USD on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

David Oxford David Oxford (112 Posts)

Lover of fine foods and felines, as well as comics, toys, and... oh yeah, video games. David Oxford has written about the latter for years, including for Nintendo Power, Nintendo Force, Mega Visions, and he even wrote the book on Mega Man!