You'll swear countless times as DK's head hits a crumbling cave ceiling because you stopped paying attention for a split second; the Wii Remote will come within moments of being pelted into the nearest wall when you fail a mine-cart jump for the umpteenth time; your head will be buried in your hands when you lose patience and jump into an attack when a few seconds of patience would have seen you through; but it's all forgivable because you know it's almost always your fault. You can, and I did, let the game finish a level for you. The fact I'm not embarrassed to admit that should tell you all you need to know about how tricky the game becomes at points.
There will be an argument from some quarters that the Wii Remote gestures required to perform certain moves (the roll, hand smash and blow) aren't responsive enough, but only twice did I ever feel like the game had let me down - both times when I wanted to blow a flower but ended up rolling off a cliff edge. There's the option to play with just the Wii Remote (instead of the better Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo), but in an ideal world there would have been no waggling at all and optional Classic Controller support.
The key to good visuals on the Wii, from my point of view anyway, is designing a game that doesn't beg to be on a more powerful system. At no point while playing Donkey Kong Returns did I think to myself, "I wish I was playing this on the PS3". The environments are bold, colourful and packed with incidental details; the characters are fun and well animated; and the bosses don't just rely on being huge. There's a ton of variety too, with everything from jungles to caves and swinging on vines to pirate crabs. It's brilliant stuff, made even more enjoyable by a thoroughly joyous soundtrack that does its best to cement a beat into your head.
Nostalgia often paints over glaring flaws in modern games, but in Donkey Kong Country Returns it simply helps create an even more enjoyable experience. When playing it is hard not to think back to simpler times, when all game information came from monthly mags, DLC was a twinkle in the internet's eye and mascots ruled. Retro Studios has managed to make a game that feels new and old at the same time, appealing to young blood and cynical old-timers who've seen it all before. For that reason, Donkey Kong Country Returns is an essential purchase for anyone longing for a bit of good old-fashioned platforming.