Controlled by a group of evil Tikis, the animals on Donkey Kong Island have raided Donkey Kong’s Banana hoard and stolen his bananas, so now he’s on a mission to get them back, accompanied by Diddy Kong, in Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii. Not only did Nintendo announce the game at E3, it also revealed the first screenshots, which we have for you here.

Donkey Kong Country Returns is currently being developed by Retro Studios, and aims to reignite the passion that players had for the Super NES original. Fans can expect to find everything that made the original series great featured in the new game, including barrel cannons and mine carts, only now they also have the added bonus of stunning graphics and new layers of depth to the world and gameplay. Although the action takes place in side-scrolling 2D,* the level environments have been fully rendered in 3D.

For the first time ever, the franchise features the ability of two people to play together at the same time – one as Donkey Kong and one as Diddy Kong. Players can either navigate the levels separately or as one unit. Diddy Kong, who comes complete with trusty backpack, jet pack and Peanut Pop Guns, can ride on Donkey Kong’s back and hop off when he feels like it, enabling novice gameplayers to sit out some of the more difficult sections.

Hidden items, puzzle pieces and other surprises can be found throughout the jungle, and if you can spell out K-O-N-G by the end of each level you’ll earn an extra bonus. As far as the use of the Wii’s unique control system goes, players can move Donkey Kong using the Nunchuk control stick, and can make him thump the ground by shaking the Wii Remote.

It all sounds and looks like mouthwatering fun, and we’ve only got to wait until the holidays at the end of the year for it to be released, so that should tide us over until Zelda!