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This article is about the fourth world in Donkey Kong Country Returns. For the Subspace Emissary stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, see The Cave.
Map of Cave in Donkey Kong Country Returns
Game Donkey Kong Country Returns (3D)
Level(s) 7
<< List of worlds >>
“I've been trying to figure out just what they mine in those mines, but I've got nothing.”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country Returns

The Cave is the fourth world of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. As the name suggests, the levels take place in the caverns. Excluding the secret level, Jagged Jewels, every level in this world either involves the Kongs riding in Mine Carts or Rocket Barrels. In both level types, the main enemies are Mole Miners and Mole Guards, who often change the Kongs' surroundings and attack them often. The Cave shares similarities to Chimp Caverns from Donkey Kong Country. When asked if they were the same location, senior designer Kynan Pearson approved of the idea.[1]

The world's boss is a mole named Mole Miner Max, who attacks from his Mole Train.


Donkey Kong Country Returns Cave Icon
Cave icon.

The cave, as its name suggests, takes place underground, and all its levels appear as such. From the world map, the cave is rather small, featuring five main levels, the boss level, the secret level, and Cranky's Shop. Strangely, it appears to not be underground at all, as if the player uses the "Free Look" option on the map and positions the camera like a bird's-eye view, it has no visible ceiling, likely so it is easier to see. It also appears to be the home world of the Mole Miners, as various houses can be seen in Bombs Away and Mole Patrol. A crystal mine also serves as the setting of Bombs Away, where various collapsing crystals appear.


Code Name/Screenshot No. of Puzzle Pieces Description
4-1 Rickety Rails
Rickety Rails
5 A stage where the Kongs have to trek a series of fragile railways inside a minecart.
4-2 Grip 'n' Trip
Grip 'n' Trip
5 A level where the Kongs journey from minecarts to large locomotives that hold metallic girders, which ferry the Kongs over abysses.
4-3 Bombs Away
Bombs Away
5 A minecart stage where the Kongs venture inside a crystal mine. A Mole Guard throws bombs onto the railtrack in an attempt to hinder the characters.
4-4 Rocket Barrel Ride DKCR.png
Mole Patrol
5 The second Rocket Barrel stage of the game, weaving through a mine populated by moles.
4-5 Crowded Cavern
Crowded Cavern
5 The third Rocket Barrel stage, located inside the home of the Squeekly family.
4-K Jagged Jewels
Jagged Jewels
5 The fourth temple stage of the game, featuring various spike mechanisms.
4-B The Mole Train
The Mole Train
0 The fourth boss stage in the game, taking place on a series of banana-filled minecarts. After fighting three waves of Mole Miners, the Kongs face their leader, Mole Miner Max.


One of the eight dioramas, from Donkey Kong Country Returns.
The Cave diorama, unlocked after collecting all Puzzle Pieces in Jagged Jewels and defeating Mole Miner Max

The following is extra content that can be unlocked in the Cave. The unlockables can be seen in their respective galleries after selecting the "EXTRAS" option in a file's menu. For a full list of extras in the game, see here.


Images are unlocked by collecting all Puzzle Pieces in certain levels. All images that can be unlocked in the Cave are listed below, along with their titles and the levels wherein they can be unlocked (mentioned in parentheses).


A soundtrack selection for this world can be unlocked after beating Mole Miner Max.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese どうくつエリア
Dōkutsu Eria
Cave Area
Spanish Cueva Cave


  1. ^ KynanPearson (August 12, 2021). Tweet by Kynan Pearson (Archived). Twitter. Retrieved January 30, 2022.