Apple Arcade: A Review of Banana Kong 2

Does Banana Kong 2 live up to the original Banana Kong?
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Our rating: 3.2/5

When I heard Banana Kong 2 was coming to Apple Arcade, I was excited to say the least. Maybe it's because I am a huge '90s kid at heart, a fan of platforming games, and miss the days of Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. I have been known to download a new platformer the day it comes out, and because Banana Kong was a well-liked prequel, I had big expectations.

However, I found myself endlessly comparing Banana Kong 2 to Banana Kong, as well as its retro predecessors, specifically Donkey Kong, because Banana Kong 2 is an unmistakable modern-day attempt at a beloved classic.

The more I played, however, the more I felt like Banana Kong 2 itself is just off in a way Banana Kong isn't. The controls aren't quite right, the game is just a little bit too derivative (though the same can be said for Banana Kong), and not quite up to par with the games that inspired it.

However, for mobile gamers who love platformers and loved the original Banana Kong, there have been some definite changes and enhancements that just might make you love Banana Kong 2 even more, if you can get over the finicky controls.

Developed by

FDG Mobile Games GbR

Platform(s)

  • iPhone iOS 13.0 or later
  • iPad iPadOS 13.0 or later
  • iPod Tough iOS 13.0 or later
  • Mac macOS 11.0 or later (M1 chip or later)
  • Android
  • PC
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In endless runners and retro-inspired platformers like Banana Kong 2, simplistic controls with challenging gameplay is crucial. Things should be moving quickly enough that it provides the players with a real challenge, but should have dependable controls that don't make gameplay frustrating.

In Banana Kong 2, the input lag and clumsy control combos can sometimes make for frustrating gameplay that isn't organic and as enjoyable as it could be. To top it off, it makes gameplay unpredictable, but not in a good way.

Pros

  • Controls are simple, even if combos sometimes lack grace or accuracy.
  • Repeatable tutorial.

Cons

  • Combinations aren't as fluid as to be expected, often feeling clumsily put together, especially important in a runner like this one.
  • Power dashing is glitchy, often resulting in a smashed monkey and no dashing at all.
  • Input lag issues, and as a runner, it cannot afford to have lag issues.

Banana Kong 2 has some input lag and other control issues that greatly impact gameplay. Platformers really depend upon controls and timing to make gameplay fun and challenging, so when controls are out of wack, even slightly, the gaming experience is not up to par.

Unfortunately, that is the case for Banana Kong 2. Combos needed to run in an endless runner are just not fluid enough to make gameplay satisfying. And, isn't the whole point of playing a platformer to have those satisfying moments where everything lines up perfectly without being inhibited by controls that are just always slightly off?

Though, I won't say gameplay is awful, or not fun at times. I just find it flawed, missing a bit of the spirit of the retro-platformers that inspired Banana Kong 2.

Pros

  • Retro-style platforming.
  • Cute graphics.
  • Challenging gameplay.

Cons

  • Combos that don't feel satisfying.
  • Glitchy or laggy controls.

How does Banana Kong 2 compare to the original Banana Kong? To be honest, I didn't notice that much of a difference outside the controls, which aren't better, but much, much worse. Sure, graphics have been improved and updated to be more modern, though some retro-gaming fanatics will wish that the graphics had remained more retro like the original Banana Kong. And, there are obviously new landscapes and platforms to explore.

However, I should acknowledge that the changes that were made in Banana Kong 2, some of the new missions and enhancements, do make gameplay a bit more complex, which is good for gamers that get bored when a game gets just a bit too predictable. In my opinion, however, the only monkey-themed platformer that really felt fluid and limitless was the true inspiration for Banana Kong 2: Donkey Kong; and, I'm not going to be changing my mind on that any time soon. So, I might be just a bit biased.

Yet, I know I cannot be the only one thinking that Banana Kong 2 does not compare to the original, and that the controls seem to have paid the price for updated graphics.

Pros

  • Improved graphics that are more modern.
  • Cute graphics that are more colorful than the original.
  • Additional missions and platforms that provide variety and excitement.

Cons

  • Changes made were small, and the game could've done with a few more original additions.
  • Just doesn't exceed the original inspiration: Donkey Kong.
  • Controls in Banana Kong are much more intuitive.
  • Gameplay in Banana Kong is more fun, more retro-style, and just better overall.

At the end of the day, Banana Kong 2 is a level up from the original Banana Kong, with better graphics, more varied platforms to endlessly run through, and disappointing controls. It's fun and colorful, but a bit unoriginal and derivative. However, the same should be applied to the original Banana Kong, since Banana Kong 2 is only a sequel that builds upon the previous game and its concept. Of course, Banana Kong had better controls, so this complaint doesn't apply there.

The controls for Banana Kong 2 aren't as fluid as the original Banana Kong many of the retro-platformers, like Donkey Kong, that inspired it, and the controls are such a crucial part of a good runner. If, the controls were to be fixed, including the power dashing issues and input lag, gaming could be a home run, and just reminiscent enough of Donkey Kong to make '90s kids like me feel right at home.

I would continue to play Banana Kong, but I won't waste my time on Banana Kong 2.

Pros

  • Cute game.
  • Improved graphics and missions.
  • Retro style inspiration.

Cons

  • Unoriginal concept that wasn't altered much in the sequel and is a bit too derivative of a retro-classic.
  • Controls that have lag issues and aren't as fluid as should be in an endless runner.
  • Controls seem to have been sacrificed for better graphics.
  • Missing that satisfaction factor that makes platformers fun.
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