It’s another round of WPIB, baby! Welcome back. Today I am going to cover yet another one of my favorite games of all time, although it is admittedly quite different than the last game I covered. Rather than the monster wranglin’, turn takin’, handheld definin’ series known as Pokemon, the SNES classic I am speaking about today is a romp through the jungle, forest, snow, and…a factory? A platformer extraordinaire featuring an adorable monkey and Mario’s least favorite ape; that’s right, we are talking about Donkey Kong Country, baby! The first installment in what many people consider one of the best series of games on the console. But let’s say you do not have access to an SNES for one reason or another. That begs the question, when it comes to DKC: what plays it best?
The Super Nintendo is one of those consoles that is burned into my memory. The feel of the unique buttons, the amazing NA color scheme, the top-loading cartridges. To this day it sits near the top of my “favorite consoles” list. I chose DKC because it is without a doubt my favorite game on a console that had SO many great games. And, while I do have an SNES, I am going to of course focus on which handheld devices play this timeless title in the best way possible. The three I have chosen this time are as follows:
1. The Miyoo Mini+ is of course the successor and bigger brother to the wildly popular Miyoo Mini. It adds some features (mainly Wi-Fi) and some bulk, but beyond that is mostly the same. Thanks to the very nice screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and the buttons layout, the Plus makes a compelling argument for why it should be used to play a game like DKC. The buttons are mushy (good), the software is easy to use (good) and as mentioned, the screen is nice as it really pops and brings the game to life (again, good). So… what’s the downside, you may be asking? Well for me, the quality control issues over at Miyoo had me trying out two separate units, with each having flaws right out of the box: first one had screen issues (bright spots, mainly) and the second had a floppy Y button. So my personal experience with using the MM+ to play DKC was a bit tainted. However, it remains on this list as the software experience, mainly OnionOS, is a great boon for the device, and makes using save states (but who would EVER?) a simple process, which some of you may know is a VERY helpful feature for the Country games. Also, I generally prefer vertically oriented devices, so I had to throw one on here! Overall, if you can get yourself a Miyoo Mini+ that’s in fully working shape, it will provide a solid experience for your DKC needs.
2. Right out of the gate, I’ll go ahead and say that the Retroid Pocket 3+ is on this list for many reasons…but the dpad is not one of them. Well, for me at least, though I CAN recognize that some people prefer a clicky pad rather than a mushy one; cannot understand it, but recognize it. The rest of the device really lends itself well to solid SNES gaming, though the screen is 16:9 and thus not ideal for the 4:3 games. The screen is nice and bright and sharp, the face buttons are excellent and mushy, the trigger can be used easily for hotkeys in Retroarch, and the dpad itself is of course up above the analog sticks. As an Android fan, I also love the look and feel of a frontend like Daijisho and the experience that it offers, though that’s just more of an overall thumbs-up for the OS. Plus, having an easy one-button-press Sleep mode is nice for taking breaks. Setting up Android for retro gaming can be a chore in and of itself, and so for that reason, I would not suggest it for someone new to the hobby. But, if you can deal with that and the large black bars on the side of your viewing area, then few things should keep you from playing DKC on the 3+. Unless of course you’re like me and want a proper mushy dpad!
3. The Anbernic 353p/ps are shaped just like an SNES controller. That’s it. That’s all you need to know about this one. Moving on…ah you want details? Well alright, if the shape was not enough to sway you, maybe this will. The 353p/ps sports a 3.5″ 4:3 screen that is arguably one of the best out there for SNES games. Alongside that screen are the amazing, up-top dpad, the great face buttons, and overall ergonomics that really set it apart from the competition in the comfort category. The P model gives you the option to run both Android and Linux, while the PS sticks to the latter. Either way, the OS experience offers a customizable experience, and one that can be very simple and straightforward. As a platforming game, DKC relies on the ability to hit the right buttons at the right time, and the layout and quality of the buttons on this Anbernic device are nothing short of top-notch. The hardware side of things REALLY works here, and provides a comfortable yet effective way to play this challenging classic. Of the three devices mentioned in this article, the 353p/ps line is easily the nicest to hold for long periods. Add that to the aesthetic, the screen, the build quality, and you may have yourself the best device on which to play my favorite SNES game!
Alright, here we go. Which of these three did I decide is the best for playing Donkey Kong Country? Well, I will give you a hint, it is the one that really looks the part. Another hint? You can hold it for hours and not get sick of it. Another?? No no, I will just tell you. My pick for What Plays It Best, DKC edition, is of course the Anbernic 353p/ps! The ergonomics + buttons + screen equation just equals the best overall experience when playing a tough SNES era platformer. If you are looking to fire up DKC or any of its sequels for that matter, and you have a 353p/ps on hand, that’s the one to reach for. If you do not currently have one, but you love the SNES, I strongly suggest picking one up here. As for the other two devices on the list, better luck next time. They are perfectly capable devices and work well enough for DKC, but the offering from Anbernic reigns supreme.
That does it for this edition of WPIB, I hope to see you back here for the next one, where I will be taking us back to an early-90s game on the OG handheld king…stay tuned to see which game it is! And as always, thanks for stopping by.
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