This is Co-Opinion, where two Joystiq editors play a game and discuss their experience.
Dave Hinkle: As far as piggy back rides go, I think I've had the best one of my life in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freezeon Wii U. You made me feel safe during our E3 demo, Jordan. You protected me.
Jordan Mallory: Well it's Donkey Kong's responsibility to protect the well-being of his little nephew Diddy, Dave. There are a lot of dangerous viking walruses and perilous pits around this tropical paradise.
Dave Hinkle: This is true. An army of invading animals are after Diddy and DK's stash of nanners – at least, I assume they are. Who knows? But Tropical Freeze has some great co-op features. We can play independently, or at any time (as Diddy) I could hop on your back and let you move us through the level. While on your back, Diddy has full access to his pellet pistols, which stun guys for easy dispersal. I can't speak to Donkey Kong, but Diddy felt great in a support role.
Jordan Mallory: Donkey Kong felt as large and in charge as is historically expected, with a satisfying bounce attack and a pretty legit Wiimote-waggle-ground-pound. Having a monkey on your back is pretty beneficial for DK, though, since piggyback Diddy gave me the ability to jetpack glide over gaps that would have been too big otherwise.
David Hinkle: Usually having a monkey on your back is a detriment, not a benefit! And as good as using the two together felt on traditional platforming levels, I think – and I hope you'll agree – that the best example of co-op in this game was the on-rails (literally) level where Donkey and Diddy were stuck in a mine cart.
Jordan Mallory: Agreed, this mine cart level did a lot of really interesting things from a platforming perspective. I thought the coolest thing was that we could both control when the cart jumped, depending on whether we entered the cart seperately or as a unit.
Dave Hinkle: Right, it's useful, as the demo taught us, in that if one player is having a tough time with a particular jump or section, the other player can just do it for the group. I think most co-op platformers tend to be dragged down by the worse player, because there's no way to help them make those tough jumps unless you physically grab their controller and do it for them. And nobody wants to do that. It's embarrassing.
Jordan Mallory: You know what else is embarassing? Taking the heart when your co-op partner desperately needs it. I still feel bad about that, Dave.
Dave Hinkle: Well, it happens. In the heat of the moment, when you're trying to avoid giant evil walruses and bird things, your partner's health isn't a priority. Also I still think you did it on purpose – like, you wanted to watch Diddy die and that's not cool.
Jordan Mallory: At least we had more health than normal – this game seemed really difficult, even by Donkey Kong standards. The build we played gave us three hearts each instead of the normal amount of two, so it could have been worse. And by "worse," I mean I would have had to steal more hearts from you more frequently.
Dave Hinkle: I just hope that you learn to share before Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze launches in November.