Donkey Konga 2: More Music, More Monkeys, More Mayhem


I can’t easily explain why I like Donkey Konga 2. I enjoy banging along to songs I know and like, but I certainly don’t feel cool doing it like I do with Guitar Hero. The game was developed by Namco post-Katamari Damacy so it’s got a goofy, irreverent appeal as well. But I think it’s mostly my addictive personality as there are plenty of songs to complete and coins to earn, which let you unlock a large amount of other content.

The main game mode is street performance. This is where you collect coins and get rated on how well you perform the song. There are six levels of difficulty to choose from, but half of those difficulties are actually alternate pattern sets for the songs (which can only be unlocked when you’ve ranked high enough for that song in the corresponding difficulty level). Further, the hardest level of play requires that you unlock the songs individually with the coins you earn by playing the songs.

Besides songs, you can purchase sound sets from the shop. Before each song you’re given the option to change the default bongo sounds made in game when you hit the DK Bongos or clap. You can get anything from classic NES effects to a set of gong sounds. This feature doesn’t really do much for me, because the sound sets are mostly of stuff I would never want to hear (Gigglebox? Kitty Cat? No thank you!).

The last thing you can do with your coins is play the mini-games. You can play Barrel Race or Rhythm Keeper. It will cost you 50 coins to play either of the single-player versions or 100 to play the two- to four-player games. Barrel Race has you pounding your bongos in a set pattern as fast as you can. In Rhythm Keeper – you guessed it – you’ve got to keep the rhythm. I’ve never actually completed the rhythm game, but what can I say, I’m white.

If you do well enough in either of the games, you get the chance to collect badges. Badges are what you use to represent yourself when you get a high score in a song or mini-game. If you complete the short barrel race in less than 16 seconds, you’re given three chances to match the hidden badges in a game of memory. I didn’t think I’d care about the badges until I unlocked Link and Tingle badges and I wondered what other treats were to be found.

One drawback to the game is the shortened songs. Obviously – due to the miniscule size of the Gamecube discs – the entire length couldn’t be included, but I found it disappointing. Other than that, this game’s got plenty to keep you busy (with additional multiplayer modes both cooperative and competitive). Just make sure you or your friends don’t mind sitting around acting like idiots together.