Donkey Kong Country Returns

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Donkey Kong Country Returns
Developer(s) Retro Studios
Nintendo SPD Group No.3
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Wii, Wii U
Release date Original release
USA November 21, 2010[1]
Australia December 2, 2010
Europe December 3, 2010
Japan December 9, 2010
Nintendo Selects
Europe October 18, 2013
Australia August 27, 2015
USA March 11, 2016
Wii U (digital download)
Japan January 21, 2015
Europe January 22, 2015[2]
Australia January 22, 2015
USA March 31, 2016 (My Nintendo)
USA September 22, 2016 (public)
Genre Platformer
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO A.png - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer cooperative[3]
Media CD icon.png Optical disc
Wii U:
Media DL icon.svg Digital download

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a side-scrolling 2.5D platform game developed by Retro Studios for the Wii. It was released on November 21, 2010 in North America, December 2, 2010 in Australia, December 3, 2010 in Europe, and December 9, 2010 in Japan. It features Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, who travel across the island to retrieve the Banana Hoard, which has been stolen by the Tiki Tak Tribe. This game is also the sequel to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game, Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. It is the fourth game in the Donkey Kong Country series. A sequel named Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze was released for the Wii U in February 2014.

A remake was later made for the Nintendo 3DS under the name Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, released in 2013. In addition, a port of the game was later released for digital download on the Nintendo eShop for Wii U on January 21-22, 2015 in all regions excluding North America. On March 31, 2016, the digital re-release was made available in North America exclusively for My Nintendo users. The game was later made publicly available on the North American Wii U eShop on September 22, 2016.


The game's title screen.

On one peaceful day, the volcano of Donkey Kong Island erupts and reawakens the Tiki Tak Tribe from their slumber. For mysterious purposes, the Tikis hypnotize the local wildlife ranging from elephants, giraffes, zebras and squirrels by using their music to bring them every banana in sight. Under their control, Donkey Kong is robbed of his Banana Hoard. Inside DK's Tree House, Diddy Kong notices the Tikis with the bananas. He looks upon the cavern beneath the house and notices that there are no bananas, then angrily chases after them. Donkey Kong then emerges from the house and sees the animals stealing his bananas. However, a Tiki forces him back into the house and attempts to hypnotize him as well, but he is somehow immune to the hypnotic powers of the Tikis. He punches the Tiki through the front door and out of the tree house and immediately sets off for adventure. Donkey Kong reunites himself with Diddy Kong and the two simians head off through the island to recover their precious bananas.

Donkey Kong Island

After traveling through various parts of Donkey Kong Island, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong soon encounter the leader of the Tiki Tak Tribe, Tiki Tong. After they defeat him, Tiki Tong's explosion launches them into space. While there, the Kong's knock the moon down to earth, which crushes the Tiki base inside the volcano. This releases the bananas, which sends them and the moon flying out of the volcano. With the statue destroyed, the effects of the hypnosis on the creatures of the island are undone. DK and Diddy are able to land before they crash onto the island, and cheer as their bananas continue to rain from the volcano.

After the credits, a Golden Temple appears on the island. If the Kongs get all the Rare Orbs from the eight Kong Temples, they'll have access to the Golden Temple and its secrets.


Donkey Kong Country Returns is a platformer game. The two playable characters are Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong. The animal buddies are Squawks the parrot and Rambi the rhino. Squawks helps find puzzle pieces and Rambi can destroy most enemies and hazards simply by charging into them.

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong can be fired further forward or further back in levels from Barrel Cannons. It is harder to see what is going on when the apes are fired further back.

If the Kongs get hit by an enemy or hit spikes, they will lose some health. If they lose all their health, get hit by waves in the level Tidal Terror or fall into a pit, they will lose a life. If they lose all their lives, it is Game Over.

Time Attack[edit]

Jungle Hijinxs, in Time Attack mode.

The Time Attack mode is accessible when any level has been completed at least once. In this mode, the player can earn one of four medals by finishing it in the fastest time possible. The level is always started with only Donkey Kong, even if players have Diddy Kong with them. When the Tutorial Pig finishes the countdown and waves the green flag, the timer and level will officially start. If the Kongs reach the end of the level and hit the Slot Machine Barrel with a checkered flag on it, then the Tutorial Pig will wave it to stop the timer. Then, the player's total time is recorded and a bronze, silver, gold, or shiny gold medal is awarded, depending on how fast the player did in the level. Shiny gold medals require an even faster time than normal gold medals, and their required time is not shown in the game.

Players don't lose lives in Time Attack mode. However, the timer does not reset if players are taken out by enemies, obstacles, or an abyss.

Time Attack mode does not affect the game clear percentage, nor unlocks anything in Extras; as a result, this game mode is completely optional.

Mirror Mode[edit]

Jungle Hijinxs, in Mirror Mode.

The treasure that's found in the Golden Temple is a mirror, which unlocks Mirror Mode. In this mode, players can't use inventory items or Diddy Kong, as a result, there's no multiplayer feature. To add to the difficulty, Donkey Kong only gets one hit point, and as such, all recovery hearts are removed. Clearing all the levels in Mirror Mode will unlock some bonus images in the Image Gallery and is necessary for 200% completion.


This game utilizes two different control schemes, which are the Wii Remote by itself, and the Wii Remote with the Nunchuk Attachment, which serves as the primary control scheme.

Wiimote & Nunchuk[edit]

Solo & Co-op[edit]

  • A Button and B Button: Start Game (At title screen)
  • A Button: Jump, Ascend (while using the Barrel Jet)
  • Nunchuk Z Button or B Button: Grab barrels, vines, cling patches, Dismount Rambi
  • Plus Button or Minus Button: Pause
  • Nunchuk Control Stick: Walk, Run, Crouch
  • Shake: Ground Pound, Blow (while crouching), Roll (while walking/running), Charge (while walking/running on Rambi)

Co-op only[edit]

  • B Button or Nunchuk Z Button (Donkey Kong): Carry Diddy Kong
  • B Button or Nunchuk Z Button (Diddy Kong): Ride Donkey Kong; Dismount Donkey Kong

Wiimote (horizontal)[edit]

Solo & Co-op[edit]

  • One Button: Grab barrels, vines, and cling patches
  • Two Button: Jump; Ascend (while using the Barrel Jet), Start Game (At title screen)
  • Plus Button: Pause
  • Minus Button: Pause
  • +Control Pad left or right: Walk, Run (while holding One Button)
  • +Control Pad down: Crouch, Dismount Rambi (while holding One Button)
  • Shake: Ground Pound, Blow (while crouching), Roll (while walking/running), Charge (while walking/running on Rambi)

Co-op only[edit]

  • One Button (Donkey Kong): Carry Diddy Kong (while holding +Control Pad up)
  • One Button (Diddy Kong): Ride Donkey Kong (while holding +Control Pad up), Dismount Donkey Kong (while holding +Control Pad down)


Main characters[edit]

Promotional artwork of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong.



Tiki enemies[edit]

Jungle enemies[edit]

Beach enemies[edit]

Ruins enemies[edit]

Cave enemies[edit]

Forest enemies[edit]

Cliff enemies[edit]

Factory enemies[edit]

Volcano enemies[edit]

Golden Temple enemies[edit]



Items and objects[edit]

Worlds and levels[edit]

Worlds and levels
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
1-1 Jungle Hijinxs 9 "Jungle Hijinxs"
1-2 King of Cling 7 "King of Cling"
1-3 Tree Top Bop 5 "Jungle Hijinxs"
1-4 Sunset Shore 5 "Palm Tree Groove"
1-5 Canopy Cannons 5 "King of Cling"
1-6 Crazy Cart 5 A remixed version of "Mine Cart Cruise"
1-K Platform Panic 5 Temple theme
1-B BOSS LEVEL: Mugly's Mound 0 Mugly's theme
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
2-1 Poppin' Planks 5 "Poppin' Planks"
2-2 Sloppy Sands 7 "Poppin' Planks"
"Sloppy Sands"
2-3 Peaceful Pier 5 A remixed version of "Poppin' Planks"
"Mine Menace"
2-4 Cannon Cluster 7 "Mast Blast"
2-5 Stormy Shore 5 Stormy Shore
2-6 Blowhole Bound 5 "Aquatic Ambiance Returns" (DKCR version)
2-7 Tidal Terror 5 "Tidal Terror"
2-K Tumblin' Temple 5 Temple theme
2-B BOSS LEVEL: Pinchin' Pirates 0 Pinchin' Pirates theme
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
3-1 Wonky Waterway 7 "Ruin Rhapsody"
3-2 Button Bash 7 "Voices of the Temple Returns"
3-3 Mast Blast 7 "Mast Blast"
3-4 Damp Dungeon 9 "Ruin Rhapsody"
3-5 Itty Bitty Biters 7 "Voices of the Temple Returns"
3-6 Temple Topple 5 "Voices of the Temple Returns"
3-K Shifty Smashers 5 Temple theme
3-B BOSS LEVEL: Ruined Roost 0 "Savory Stu"
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
4-1 Rickety Rails 5 "Rickety Rails"
4-2 Grip 'n' Trip 5 "Mine Cart Cruise"
4-3 Bombs Away 5 "Rickety Rails"
4-4 Mole Patrol 5 A version of "Red Rockin'" that lacks the chorus
4-5 Crowded Cavern 5 "Mine Menace"
4-K Jagged Jewels 5 Temple theme
4-B BOSS LEVEL: Mole Train 0 Mole Train theme
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
5-1 Vine Valley 7 "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-2 Clingy Swingy 5 "King of Cling"
5-3 Flutter Flyaway 7 "Treetop Rock Returns"
5-4 Tippin' Totems 7 "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-5 Longshot Launch 7 "Treetop Rock Returns"
5-6 Springy Spores 7 "King of Cling"
5-7 Wigglevine Wonders 7 "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-8 Muncher Marathon 5 "Treetop Rock Returns"
A cover of "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-K Blast & Bounce 5 Temple theme
5-B BOSS LEVEL: Mangoruby Run 0 "Mangoruby Rush"
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
6-1 Sticky Situation 9 "Sticky Situation"
6-2 Prehistoric Path 5 "Clifftop Concert"
"Prehistoric Path"
6-3 Weighty Way 5 "Boulder Roller"
6-4 Boulder Roller 7 "Clifftop Concert"
An upbeat cover of "Sticky Situation"
6-5 Precarious Plateau 5 "Boulder Roller"
6-6 Crumble Canyon 9 "Clifftop Concert"
6-7 Tippy Shippy 5 "Clifftop Concert"
6-8 Clifftop Climb 5 "Sticky Situation"
6-K Perilous Passage 5 Temple theme
6-B BOSS LEVEL: Thugly's Highrise 0 Thugly's theme
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
7-1 Foggy Fumes 7 "Palm Tree Groove"
7-2 Slammin' Steel 5 "Factory Friction"
7-3 Handy Hazards 7 "Factory Friction"
7-4 Gear Getaway 7 "Factory Friction"
"Mine Menace"
7-5 Cog Jog 9 "Life in the Mines Returns"
7-6 Switcheroo 5 A remixed version of "Life in the Mines Returns", with cyber-punk beats added
7-7 Music Madness 5 "Automatic Action"
7-R Lift-off Launch 0 "Factory Friction"
7-K Treacherous Track 5 Temple theme
7-B BOSS LEVEL: Feather Fiend 0 Feather Fiend theme
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
8-1 Furious Fire 5 "Burnin' Bop"
8-2 Hot Rocket 5 "Mine Menace"
8-3 Roasting Rails 5 "Lava Blitz"
8-4 Smokey Peak 5 A remixed version of "Palm Tree Groove"
8-5 Bobbing Basalt 7 "Burnin' Bop"
8-6 Moving Melters 5 "Burnin' Bop"
8-7 Red Red Rising 5 "Burnin' Bop"
8-K Five Monkey Trial 5 Temple theme
8-B BOSS LEVEL: Tiki Tong Terror 0 "Red Rockin'"
"Tiki Tong Song"
Golden Temple
Level number Level name Number of Puzzle Pieces in the level Music theme
9-1 Golden Temple 5 Golden Temple theme

The Jungle
The Beach
The Ruins
RicketyRails Better 65.png
The Cave
09 DKCR.png
The Forest

Representative pictures of each world in the game
The Cliff
Representative pictures of each world in the game
The Factory
Representative pictures of each world in the game
The Volcano
Representative pictures of each world in the game
The Golden Temple
Representative pictures of each world in the game

Marketing and release[edit]

One of the two promotional stickers of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong.
The other promotional sticker for the game.

To promote the game, Nintendo partnered Chiquita to cross-promote the game for a limited time by having Donkey Kong promotion stickers on their bananas. In addition, an online contest was set up asking people to upload three photos of themselves doing the "Donkey Kong dance" for a chance to win one of thirty-one prizes.[4] Nintendo also partnered with Johnny Rockets to rebrand their Chocolate Banana Shake as the "Donkey Kong Chocolate Banana Shake" for a limited time. In addition, the promotion ties in with a sweepstakes for a chance to win a copy of the game.[5]

In the United Kingdom, select Game and Gamestation stores were chosen to promote the game at launch by trading a handful of bananas in exchange for the copy of the game. The first twenty customers that arrive at the store are guaranteed to get the game.[6]

Nintendo of Australia promoted the game before launch by having game demo in two locations: The Nintendo Connection at Myer department store, Sydney City in November 27, and The Nintendo Experience at EB Games, Swanston Street, Melbourne in November 28. The first two-hundred people who sampled the game received a special Donkey Kong Poster.[7] They celebrated the launch of the game by holding an event in Circular Quay, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in the afternoon. It featured a tower of bananas with a sign next to it saying "Kong's Banana Hoard", along with a variety of banana-based foods. The staff kept the public entertained with trivia questions; answering them correctly will be rewarded with a free Donkey Kong shirt. At night time, the main event began with the showing of the video game from the projector; giving people a chance to play the game.[8]


Donkey Kong Country Returns development started after several core developers of the Metroid Prime series left Retro Studios, which made several executives skeptical of whether the developer could keep making high-quality games.[9] At the same time, Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to make a new Donkey Kong Country game and suggested Retro Studios as its developer. Since many Retro Studios employees were fans of the series, the suggestion was welcomed enthusiastically by them.[9]

Development started out slow, with the developers creating only two of the eight bosses during 2009.[9] The pace fastened around 2010, as the team increased in size and after E3, as Retro Studios and Nintendo eventually agreed on how the levels should be designed.[9]

Kensuke Tanabe, who had worked on the localization of the original Donkey Kong Country, and his assistant Risa Tabata supervised Retro Studios during development, giving their opinions on the level designs and requesting enemies to be changed. Tanabe also asked for the creation of a multiplayer mode to distinguish the game from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.[9] Shigeru Miyamoto also gave input, such as requesting that the music not be changed.[9]

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

The game was remade for the Nintendo 3DS titled as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Aside from the graphical change, the remake features additional new content, such as an easier mode and all-new levels.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Donkey Kong Country Returns.


Main article: List of Donkey Kong Country Returns staff


Diddy and Damaged Donkey Kong[edit]

The player must go to an area in a level with a DK Barrel and at least one enemy without Diddy Kong. The player must grab the DK Barrel and wait the enemy to approach Donkey Kong. When the enemy is almost touching him, throw the barrel so that it breaks before Donkey Kong gets damaged. If done correctly, Diddy gets on Donkey Kong's back and two extra hearts appear in the health HUD, but one of the main hearts is empty, while it naturally would refill when the barrel breaks.

Cranky Kong's Shop Glitch[edit]

When visiting Cranky Kong's Shop, the game may freeze during transitions, such as when buying items or even entering the shop.[10] This can sometimes be fixed by entering and exiting the Home Menu.[11]

Official soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong Returns Original Sound Track

An original soundtrack that is based on the game is released only in Japan for Club Nintendo members. It has twenty-five songs from the game.

References to other games[edit]

  • Game & Watch series: Mr. Game & Watch can be seen in one part in the background of Foggy Fumes.
  • Donkey Kong: The original 25m level can be seen in one part in the background of Foggy Fumes. Some temple levels also feature cave paintings based on the level. Also, in the level Wonky Waterway, a statue of Donkey Kong with his appearance in this game holding a Wii Remote can be seen. Moreover, in some secret temple levels, some pillars and platforms have paintings that resemble the stages of the arcade game, and at the end of each temple level, sprites of Donkey Kong's head from this game can be seen in the background during the "Level Clear!" screen.
  • Donkey Kong Jr.: The music of the sky area of the Golden Temple is a remix of the title and stage themes.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2: A piece of concept art based on the overworld levels in this game can be unlocked in Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • Donkey Kong Country: The main theme of Donkey Kong Country Returns, as well as other pieces, are remixed versions of this game's themes. Also Cranky Kong is seen sitting in a rocking chair as he does in this game plus some of his quotes were of those that originated here. Just like in the original, Returns features bonus stages in levels in certain areas instead of Bonus Barrels and players have a one shot chance at beating them also like in the original.
  • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat: Some sound effects are borrowed from this game. Also, DK's finishing beating of the world's Tiki after a boss fight is reminiscent of some battles from this game.
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii: The level pads look identical to those from this game, even using the same colors. Also, both games have Super Guide. Worlds 5, 6, 8, and 9 of these two games are respectively similar and have the same theme.
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest: Ship levels and volcano levels in the series were first seen in this game. Banana coins make a return. Returns' End of level barrel has a similar function to this games' End of Level Target in that they both release prizes depending on what a player chooses.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble: Diddy getting on Donkey Kong for the continuous roll attack might have been inspired from Dixie getting on Kiddy Kong and riding him around. Also the concept of Rocket Barrels originated from this game although they were used a little differently.
  • Donkey Kong 64: Diddy's jetpack ability originated here. Additionally, when in multiplayer facing either Mugly or Thugly, the player can have Diddy shoot peanuts at them, making them eat the peanuts and be distracted.

References in later games[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ドンキーコングリターンズ
Donkī Kongu Ritānzu
Donkey Kong Returns
German Donkey Kong Country Returns


The Wii Remote banana pouch.
Donkey Kong, playing with a Nintendo DS Lite.
  • At the game's release, those who pre-ordered Donkey Kong Country Returns at GameStop in the United States or Canada received a special banana-shaped Wii Remote pouch with the game's logo printed on it.
  • If Donkey Kong does nothing for a long time while standing, he will look around, and sit to play what appears to be a Nintendo DS Lite. While he is playing, button sounds and a sound effect from the first Donkey Kong arcade game can be heard. Moments later, he throws the DS behind him, and it quickly fades away.
  • Shortly before the game's release in North America, Nintendo tried to trademark the pop culture phrase "It's on like Donkey Kong!"[12]
  • Unlike the first two Donkey Kong Country games and Donkey Kong 64, Diddy cannot be controlled in single player. His purpose is allowing Donkey Kong to hover for a while, as well as providing two extra hit points.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns is one of the Puzzle Swap panels in the StreetPass Mii Plaza app for the Nintendo 3DS.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Philips, Tom (January 14, 2015). Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Prime Trilogy headed to Wii U eShop. Eurogamer. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ GoNintendo: Official PR - Chiquita and Nintendo team up for Donkey Kong Country Returns cross-promotion, dated 1/26/11; retrieved 1/27/11
  5. ^ GoNintendo: Johnny Rockets starts 'Donkey Kong Chocolate Banana Shake' promo contest, dated 11/14/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  6. ^ Official Nintendo Magazine: Fans buy Donkey Kong Country Returns with bananas, dated 12/3/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  7. ^ GoNintendo: Nintendo of Australia - Be The First To Play Donkey Kong Country Returns, dated 11/18/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  8. ^ Aussie-Nintendo: That's a lot of bananas - Sydney's DKCR launch event, dated 12/4/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  9. ^ a b c d e f Iwata Asks: Donkey Kong Country Returns (accessed March 08 2012)
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]