Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 34
  2. Negative: 19 out of 34
Buy On
  1. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    The on-rails steering mechanic will be an insult to your gaming ability. [Apr 2008, p.79]
  2. Nintendo Power
    To Barrel Blast's credit, it looks like there was a concerted effort to make the game look better--a smooth frame rate and some nice effects spruce up an otherwise mundane racer. [Nov 2007, p.99]
  3. n-Revolution Magazine UK
    Decent but unspectacular, Donkey Kong Jet Race can be fun in spite of its many flaws. Wait for it to land in the bargain bins. [Issue#19, p.76]
  4. games(TM)
    Despite all of its problems, you’ll almost certainly have a great deal of fun playing Donkey Kong Taru Jet Race. [JPN Import; Sept 2007, p.118]
  5. 58
    Does the idea of a lipstick-wearing gorilla in a tight shirt and cut-offs who blows you a kiss from in front of a pink heart frame when you beat a challenge turn you on? If the answer is yes then this may be the game for you.
  6. A strange beast full of half-baked ideas and poor controls, yet it contains deceptively clever level designs.
  7. Had Barrel Blast come out just after the Wii’s launch, it would be forgivable, if still not a very good game. But at this point in the system’s life cycle, releasing long-delayed GameCube games with Wii controls grafted onto them is a no-no, especially when said game is published by the system’s manufacturer itself.
  8. The Wii remote and Nunchuk simply don't work well at all, forcing you to constantly build up speed and perform frustrating motions to do even the simplest of maneuvers like dodging on-track objects and jumping. Avoid this bottom of the barrel release.
  9. While it is short and somewhat disappointing, Barrel Blast did make interesting use of the Wii's motion-sensing controls.
  10. With poor gameplay and too-strict rules for unlocking new races, this is one game Nintendo should've let die. Instead, it'll just kill you to play it.
  11. The lack of online racing and leaderboards makes this game even more useless. If you want arcade racing on the Wii, dust off your copy of Excite Truck or just wait it out for Mario Kart.
  12. While it’s understandable that Nintendo would want to showcase one of their signature characters in a Wii game, it quickly becomes obvious that Donkey Kong Barrel Blast should not have made the jump from the Gamecube.
  13. After a mere couple of hours, players will feel as if they're beating a dead horse rather than a pair of bongos -- which isn't even an option in the first place despite the clear theme of drums and the obvious Gamecube controller ports.
  14. Jet Race isn't for everyone. There are some weak points that will irritate some players to no end, like the grading level design and lack of Bongo-controller support. There's nothing better than Mario Kart, but if you can see through the negatives, you might find some entertainment here.
  15. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    The alternative found for the lack of the bong drum support fails for being so imprecise. And the sense of speed is always missing. It’s likely will keep accelerating without realizing your already at top speed. [March 2008]
  16. 45
    Controls aside, the gameplay itself is nothing to be excited about. The courses are clumsily designed, the races are repetitive, and the characters are unmemorable. In short, Barrel Blast is offensive to all the senses. It feels wrong, looks awful, and it isn't a treat for the ears, either.
  17. If the inconsistent controls aren't enough to steer you away from this fifth-rate Mario Kart clone, the frustrating AI and total lack of personality probably will.
  18. 45
    If DK Barrel Blast would have released well over a year ago on GameCube like it was supposed to the title might have had a chance at being remotely entertaining. After some seriously basic motion control, the removal of bongo support (even for those that already invested in the accessory), and some quick Mii integration the game has become a garbled mess of slow racing, shallow gameplay, and an overall boring experience.
  19. Not very appealing, with impractical and tiresome controls, excessive repetition of scenery and short lifespan, Jet Race is way far from Nintendo’s standards.
  20. Although Nintendo and Paon must be applauded for trying to do something innovative, a racer like this simply does not work with a rhythm based control scheme. Those Wii owners looking for a quality racing title would be better off waiting until next year for Mario Kart Wii.
  21. Judged against what's already available for Wii for those with access to the Virtual Console, it's hard to imagine anyone choosing Barrel Blast over the superior Virtual Console game.
  22. Nintendo Gamer
    A game so bad, it brings shame upon Donkey Kong and his entire family. [JPN Import; Oct 2007, p.60]
  23. 40
    In plenty of cases, the system has done a great job at reducing the barrier of the controller, making it easier to interact with games thanks to simple motion controls. In a game like Barrel Blast, however, it's added a whole lot of complexity -- not to mention physical exhaustion -- to what would otherwise be simple steering controls.
  24. Barrel Blast is an abortive and uncannily anachronistic attempt at a character racer with impossible controls, dreadful, imbalanced AI and boring design. It's not even worth the hour of your time that it takes to get completely sick of it.
  25. Games Master UK
    Quite simply the worst game to bear the Nintendo logo in a generation or two. [Feb 2008, p.78]
  26. The fairly generic presentation and cheating AI could be overlooked if the core gameplay was great, but it's not. The motion sensitive controls are fiddly and at times completely broken, making Jet Race mildly fun for about an hour at most.
  27. Donkey Kong was Nintendo’s original big baddie. He’s now been reduced to an inanity-grunting, tie-wearing corporate wuss, shilling lacklustre knock-offs of games his mortal adversary in Mario aced the market with. It’s time to stand up and fight! Don’t support this emasculation of a – perhaps THE - classic arcade bad dude.
  28. 39
    It's impossibly hard to like Donkey Kong Barrel Blast; it's fundamentally flawed from the start. The Wii-waggle controls hope to compensate for what is otherwise a poorly designed Mario Kart wannabe, but it all backfires – they're the game's leading failure.
  29. 35
    Donkey Kong Jet Race is yet another example of the uneventful consequences of uninspired motion controls.
  30. 30
    Sense of speed is way too slow; items are useless; racing is clumsy.
  31. 30
    Graphically the game would have been very impressive, if it was a launch game for the GameCube.
  32. 25
    If you belong to that weird subset of racing game fans who feel their life won't be complete till there's a game that enables you to race around the sky using a control method inspired by a love of percussion instruments then you may possibly eek an evening's worth of entertainment out of this, if you're forgiving. For the rest of us there's nothing to see here, keep on walking, someone will be along soon to sweep up the mess.
  33. 20
    Level design is bland, weapons are bland, control is a novelty at best and irritating at worst. As a free Wii launch pack-in meant to familiarize people with Remote/nunchuk controls, this game might have gotten a pass. Right now the only thing it gets is a big thumbs-down.
  34. As the slacker par excellence, Donkey Kong would seem to be more suited to the casual gaming era than any other character in the Mario pantheon. Instead, as with any aging slacker, he’s simply a frustrating bore.

Awards & Rankings

#62 Most Discussed Wii Game of 2007
#54 Most Shared Wii Game of 2007
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 28 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 28
  2. Negative: 7 out of 28
  1. Jun 5, 2014
    We cannot understand all the negative reviews for this game in my house. My son, wife and I play this more than any other racer on the WiiWe cannot understand all the negative reviews for this game in my house. My son, wife and I play this more than any other racer on the Wii (and we have nearly all of them). Tight, fun controls and a lot of hidden depth. After a few play sessions I realized that if I can time my banana fueled turbo boosts to hit a few barrels in a row the turbo boost is extended for example.

    There seems to have been an agenda to hate on this game at the time of its release. Picking up a Wii and this game in 2014 and it is clearly better than most other racers on the system. Reviewers say the on rails mechanic is an insult. It is hardly on rails- you will just slowly go around the track bumping into things if you go afk.

    Comparing it to the apparently untouchable Mario Kart Wii this racer does not have the ridiculous "give constantly overpowered items to the guy at the back" programmed in. You win your races due to skill and timing.

    It is also a great little workout at times as you pump the num chuck and remote to get up to full speed- Once at max speed you can focus on maneuvering.

    So, all in all, a criminally underrated game imo. And for me Mario Kart Wii is just the opposite.
    Full Review »
  2. JimU.
    Jun 17, 2008
    Personally i think game reviewers need to get off their high horses. Sometimes a game, is just that - a game! It's not all about high Personally i think game reviewers need to get off their high horses. Sometimes a game, is just that - a game! It's not all about high level graphics and "AI". These types of reviews - which is every review - are very misleading for the general public. Anyone considering this game should have a look in the store and ignire this lame reviews by so-called "gamers". These nerds only know about Splinter Cell and Halo. Donkey Kong Jet Race is fun for all. Full Review »
  3. DanielY.
    Jan 27, 2008
    This game is simply under-rated. It does not deserve the poor scores it has been given overall. Gameplay is fun and there's plenty to This game is simply under-rated. It does not deserve the poor scores it has been given overall. Gameplay is fun and there's plenty to do. It may not offer the Wii's best graphics but, to be honest, i don't think it's trying to. It may not be a 'hardcore game' but it's a great family game and is best enjoyed with more than one player. Full Review »