In a recent preview for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Daan Koopman of Nintendo World Report revealed that the game does not use the screen on the GamePad in any significant way. In fact, when playing the game on the TV while using the GamePad, the screen remains blank.
While off TV play is an option for the game, if the user switches the screen, the TV will then be blank. That’s disconcerting news about a high profile Wii U game that doesn’t actually use the Wii U’s main feature.
Here’s the quote:
One element that I do have to bring up is how the Wii U GamePad is used. If you are playing on the television, the touchscreen will have nothing displayed on it and it stays blank the entire time. There are no options to quickly select levels or see simple information displayed. If you are going for off-TV play on the GamePad, which you have to toggle before playing, it is the same deal as nothing will be displayed on the television.
If you’re interested in reading the rest of his impressions you can do so here.