Donkey Kong Country Returns

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This article is about the 2010 Wii game. For the Nintendo 3DS version, see Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. For the microgame from WarioWare: Get It Together!, see Donkey Kong Country Returns (microgame). For the Nintendo Switch version, see Donkey Kong Country Returns HD.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Offical American boxart of Donkey Kong Country Returns.
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Retro Studios
Nintendo SPD Group No.3
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Wii, Wii U, Nvidia Shield TV (Mainland China only)
Release date Original release:
USA November 21, 2010[1]
Australia December 2, 2010
Europe December 3, 2010
Japan December 9, 2010
HK December 9, 2010
ROC 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 23, 2015[3]
USA March 31, 2016 (My Nintendo)
USA September 22, 2016 (public)
Nvidia Shield TV:
China July 4, 2019[4]
Language(s) English (United Kingdom)
English (United States)
French (France)
French (Canada)
Spanish (Spain)
Spanish (Latin America)
Simplified Chinese1
1 - Only in the Nvidia Shield TV version.
Genre Platformer
ESRB:E - Everyone
PEGI:3 - Three years and older
CERO:A - All ages
ACB:G - General
USK:0 - All ages
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer cooperative
Optical disc
Wii U:
Digital download
Nvidia Shield TV:
Digital download
Wii U:
Nvidia Shield TV:
Serial code(s) RVL-SF8E-USZ (U.S.)

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a side-scrolling 2.5D platform game developed by Retro Studios and released for the Wii in 2010. It is the fourth game in the Donkey Kong Country series and a reboot. The game stars Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, who must recover the banana hoard from a new group of villains, the Tiki Tak Tribe. In 2014, a sequel was released for the Wii U, titled Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

In 2013, the game was ported to the Nintendo 3DS, titled Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. The original Wii game was later released for digital download on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U on January 21, 2015 in Japan and on January 22, 2015 in Europe. 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 digital re-release was eventually removed from the Wii U eShop worldwide after its discontinuation on March 27, 2023, making it no longer possible for players to purchase the game. However, players who purchased the title before this date can still play it as long as it is on their Wii U device.

On July 4, 2019 at approximately 9 pm UTC+8, the game was silently released on the Chinese Nvidia Shield TV store without any prior notice from Nvidia's Chinese website or its social media accounts. Unlike the other Wii/GameCube ports, this game was never advertised by Nvidia and was only known to exist by approval information from government websites. Nvidia eventually posted about the game on July 12 at 3:13 pm UTC+8.[5]

A remaster, Donkey Kong Country Returns HD, is scheduled for release on the Nintendo Switch on January 16, 2025.


“Can't a tired old ape take a nap around here?? A bunch of shifty-eyed musical miscreants just kicked our volcano into overdrive and took over Donkey Kong Island! Enough with the noise, already! These rhythmic rabble-rousers are up to no good. They've been putting some kind of musical mojo on all our animal buddies and toting off every banana in sight. And get this: they've even gone after Donkey Kong's secret hoard! Nothing burns that boy's biscuits like someone messing with his precious bananas! Just what do they want with all those stolen bananas? Back in my day, I'd take care of this mysterious predicament without breaking a sweat, but Donkey Kong and his little pal Diddy Kong are all worked up and ready for action. If anybody can run, jump, cling, and swing to the bottom of all this banana burglary, it's those two!”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country Returns manual
Animals stealing Donkey Kong's bananas in the intro for Donkey Kong Country Returns
The animals are hypnotized into stealing bananas.

One day on Donkey Kong Island, a large stream of lava erupts from a volcano, sending out small boulders. A tower emerges from the eruption as members of an evil force known as the Tiki Tak Tribe burst from the boulders. The Tikis drift down into the jungle, where they hypnotize the wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, and squirrels. The Tikis' minions steal every banana from the banana hoard and load them onto large leaves pulled through the jungle and then taken onto an airship soon after. Diddy looks out of a window from DK's Tree House and spots the animals with the stolen bananas in the distance. Diddy goes down to check the banana hoard and realizes no bananas are left, and then angrily chases the thieves. Donkey Kong awakens and opens the tree house door, noticing the last few loads of bananas being stolen. Donkey Kong shakes his fist in anger. One of the Tikis' high-ranking members suddenly appears and pushes Donkey Kong back into his tree house. It attempts to hypnotize Donkey Kong multiple times, but he remains unaffected by it for unknown reasons. Donkey Kong punches the Tiki and sends it out the front door, Donkey Kong then jumps down from his tree house and starts his new adventure. Diddy joins along once Donkey Kong frees him from a DK Barrel.

After traversing the island's many regions, the Kongs come face-to-face with Tiki Tong, who turns the stolen bananas into juice and spews it on each high-ranking member of the Tiki Tak Tribe to transform them into a pair of hands. After defeating Tiki Tong, a resulting explosion sends the Kongs into outer space. The Kongs panic and realize they are about to crash into the moon. Donkey Kong puts Diddy on his back, and with the help of the Barrel Jet and his wind-up punch, the Kongs send the moon down to earth, which destroys the Tikis' base. The bananas are released in a explosion, which sends the Kongs and the moon flying out of the volcano. With the Tiki Tak Tribe defeated, the animals on Donkey Kong Island are freed from their hypnosis. Donkey Kong and Diddy land back on the island and celebrate their victory as the bananas 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 can access the Golden Temple.


Donkey Kong Country Returns plays similarly to the earlier Donkey Kong Country installments. The player controls Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, who can use various moves such as jumping and rolling to defeat enemies and progress in a level. Some abilities were newly introduced in the game. The Kongs can perform clinging to move across green surfaces. The Ground Pound move involves Donkey Kong hitting the ground, which he must do on certain objects, such as switches, to progress in the level.

Unlike the previous Donkey Kong Country titles, Donkey Kong and Diddy each have two hearts to represent their health status. If both Kongs are together, the health counter has a total of four hearts, two per Kong. When a Kong touches an enemy or spikes, they lose one heart. If the Kongs lose all of their hearts, they lose an extra life. If the Kongs crash into an object while riding a Rocket Barrel or a Mine Cart, get hit by waves in the level Tidal Terror, or fall into a pit, water, or lava, they instantly lose a life. If Donkey Kong and Diddy lose all of their lives, the player gets a Game Over.

The Kongs can get an extra life if they collect 100 bananas or a Red Balloon, or by jumping on eight consecutive enemies in a row (just like the Super Mario series). Banana Coins are another common item throughout the levels, and they allow the Kongs to purchase items from Cranky Kong's Shop. K-O-N-G Letters also return in every level, and they are mandatory to collect for a perfect completion score. The game introduces Puzzle Pieces, a few of which appear in every regular level. If the Kongs collect every Puzzle Piece in a level, the player unlocks something in the Extras menu.

The level checkpoints are each represented by a Tutorial Pig at a booth, with some levels having more than one checkpoint. If the Kongs lose eight lives in a level, the Tutorial Pig gives them the option of using Super Kong, who automatically plays through the level. However, none of the collected items are added to the inventory, and when Super Kong completes a level, it stays red from the overworld unless Donkey Kong and Diddy complete it themselves, causing it to turn blue.


1 Player[edit]

In 1 Player mode, the player controls Donkey Kong. If he is by himself, Donkey Kong can throw a DK Barrel to release Diddy, who hops Donkey Kong's back. When Diddy is with Donkey Kong, he can briefly make them hover in midair by using his Barrel Jet. He can also use Donkey Kong for the Kong Roll ability, allowing them to roll into many enemies and go through a straight plain in a level quicker. If the Kongs take two hits while Diddy is on Donkey Kong, the player loses Diddy.

2 Players[edit]

In 2 Players mode, the second player controls Diddy Kong. They can control him independently from Donkey Kong, or keep Diddy on Donkey Kong's back. When independent, Diddy can still use his Barrel Jet and also has the ability to cartwheel and use his Peanut Popgun to stun enemies. Diddy has his own version of ground pounding, the Popgun Pound. Diddy is slightly faster and is more agile than Donkey Kong. In the mode, both players share the same stash of balloons, meaning if one of the players survives and the second player runs out of lives, they can only be brought back by a DK Barrel.

The 2-Player Cooperative Mode allows Diddy to be present without Donkey Kong.

Mirror Mode[edit]

Jungle Hijinxs in Mirror Mode.
Jungle Hijinxs in Mirror Mode

The treasure of the Golden Temple is a mirror, which unlocks Mirror Mode. In this mode, level layouts are completely mirrored, and players cannot use inventory items or Diddy Kong. As a result, no multiplayer feature is available during this mode. 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.

Time Attack[edit]

A Time Attack run at Jungle Hijinxs.
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 completed the level. Shiny gold medals require an even faster time than normal gold medals, and their required time is not shown in the game.

The Kongs do not 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.


Main article: List of extras in Donkey Kong Country Returns

Images, music, and dioramas can be unlocked if players perform certain tasks within the game, such as collecting all Puzzle Pieces in levels, defeating bosses and beating Key Temple stages.


It has been requested that this section be rewritten and expanded to include more information. Reason: Nvidia Shield controls

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.

Wii Remote & 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 onto grass 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

Wii Remote (horizontal)[edit]

Solo & Co-op[edit]

  • One Button: Grab barrels, vines, and cling onto grass 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]

Character Description
Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong
  • The main playable character and the one who can be controlled independently.
  • He can perform usual actions like jumping, rolling on a short distance, and ground pounding.
Diddy Kong with his jet pack
Diddy Kong
  • The secondary character. He cannot be controlled independently except for multiplayer sessions, when he can perform the same actions as DK.
  • Using his jetpack, he can hover in midair shortly, allowing him to fly an extra distance after jumping.
  • With his Peanut Popgun, he can shoot enemies with peanuts and stun them for a brief moment.
  • He can be used to perform the continuous Kong Roll.

Supporting characters[edit]

Character Role
Cranky Kong
Cranky Kong
Runs a shop in each world of the game, except for the Golden Temple. He sells various items in exchange for Banana Coins. Like in the previous Donkey Kong Country games, Cranky starts making snide or contemptuous comments as soon as the Kongs enter his hut.
Tutorial Pig
A character that pops up from the background to offer indications on how to perform certain actions, such as blowing and rolling. He also runs the checkpoint booths.
Rambi the Rhino
A very strong and rideable Animal Friend, surpassing the powers of Donkey Kong. Rambi can use his horn to defeat enemies and crush solid blocks depicting his face. Rambi's weakness is fire, and by touching fire, Rambi runs away.
Artwork of Squawks the Parrot from Donkey Kong Country Returns
Available for hire in Cranky Kong's Shop. He warns the player about nearby Puzzle Pieces.
Super Kong (Diddy Kong version)Super Kong
Super Kong
A silver guide available after eight consecutive deaths in a level.


Each world of the game ends with a boss battle. Normally peaceful creatures, the first seven bosses display hostility towards the Kongs once hypnotized by the higher-ranking members of the Tiki Tak Tribe, employed to guard portions of the banana hoard. The eighth and final boss is the leader of the tribe himself, Tiki Tong.

Boss battles may be sequential, meaning the boss will become more aggressive as it takes more hits. After receiving the final hit, the creature will faint, and the Tiki that possesses it will reveal itself in a dizzy state, allowing the Kongs a chance to knock it out with repeated punches. However, if ignored for some time, the Tiki will regain consciousness and leave the fight scene, abruptly ending the level, although this has no influence on the game's progress.

Image Name Tiki possessor Description Level appearance
Artwork of Mugly from Donkey Kong Country Returns Mugly The Kalimba Tiki's artwork for Donkey Kong Country Returns
Mugly scurries across the battle arena with his mouth open in an attempt to swallow the Kongs. The boss is normally covered with retractile spikes, making jumping on the enemy dangerous. Mugly will slow down as it runs if the Kongs simply jump over it. This causes the boss to retract its spikes, leaving its rear side open for a jump attack. Mugly will also jump high in the air, trying to thump the Kongs. Mugly's Mound
Scurvy Crew Scurvy Crew The maraca Tikis
Maraca Gang
The Scurvy Crew's main tactic is digging themselves in the sand and resurfacing one at a time to attack the Kongs. As they lunge their weapons to impale the primates, they can be jumped on to make them raise their claws above their bodies, leaving their sides open for a ground pound or roll attack. Doing either of these will flip the enemy upside down and allow the Kongs to attack its underside, the vulnerable spot. After each member of the crew receives damage, they will return under the ground and slowly spawn from the sand in a tower formation, chasing the Kongs and trying to hurt them. In this formation, they will eventually raise their claws and leave their sides unprotected. The Kongs should now roll into them to scatter each individual upside-down, then proceed stomping on every one of them. Pinchin' Pirates
Artwork of Stu from Donkey Kong Country Returns Stu Gong Tiki.png
Stu uses its cauldron to hoard explosives. His definitory strategy is tossing bombs at the Kongs, which can be picked up as their fuse burns and thrown back at Stu to explode and damage him. At several points in the battle, Stu will draw a bulky missile with the entire floor as its explosion range. Occasionally, he will also drop a Tiki Pop. Ruined Roost
Mole Miner Max gets hypnotized. Mole Miner Max The banjo Tiki
Banjo Bottom
After traversing three sets of mole-infested wagons driven by the Mole Train, the Kongs arrive at the locomotive, where they face Mole Miner Max. The boss simply pops out of the remaining wagons attached to the locomotive, and uses a pickaxe to attack. He will faint once he receives four jump hits. The Mole Train
Mangoruby Mangoruby The flute Tiki
Wacky Pipes
Mangoruby's body is segmented into six electrified spheres, meant to prevent jump attacks. However, Mangoruby will lose its power if the Kongs press on the switches scattered on the battle arena. While electrically charged, Mangoruby will give chase and try to stop the Kongs from pressing those switches. Losing its power makes the creature flee away from the Kongs and enables them to stomp on its body, breaking two of its segments with each attack. During the final two hits, the Mangoruby will release electrical energy that moves around the spheres. Mangoruby Run
Thugly Thugly The xylophone Tiki
As a relative of Mugly, Thugly uses similar tactics during the fight. These include running across the stage and quivering belly flop attacks. Thugly will slow down if jumped over, folding his incandescent shell due to inertia and leaving his rear side open to a jump attack. He will attempt to ram its horn into the Kongs, but will crash into the wall and fall dizzy on his back, offering a chance to attack his belly side. After three hits, Thugly will morph into a second phase, when he starts spewing trails of fire, along with using the other tactics. After another three hits, Thugly will become angrier and add a fireball-spitting attack to his repertoire of attacks. Three more hits defeat him. Thugly's Highrise
The Stompybot 3000. Colonel Pluck The accordion Tiki
Fought on a motionless conveyor belt, Colonel Pluck controls his bipedal robot, Stompybot 3000, used to slam the Kongs. As he slowly walks across the area, he will sometimes suddenly turn red and walk hurriedly for a brief moment. The Kongs can slip past Stompybot 3000 when it raises its feet to walk. Stompybot 3000's vulnerable spot is on its underside, inaccessible due to spikes. However, Colonel Pluck will perform some brisk movements that will reveal the robot's vulnerable zone, which can now be clung to and pounded repeatedly. If done three times, the machine heats up and is eventually destroyed, leaving Colonel Pluck in a flying cockpit. During this phase of the battle, Colonel Pluck will drop BuckBots as it soars across the screen, and will also attack the primates by swooping down on them. When close to the ground, the Kongs can attack him with a jump to inflict damage. Three stomps are needed to defeat Colonel Pluck. Feather Fiend
Tiki Tong.png Tiki Tong N/A The head of the Tiki Tak Tribe. Using a serum prepared with bananas and the combined efforts of the other Tikis, Tiki Tong empowers himself with a pair of hands. He uses them in several attack methods, such as laying them flat and sweeping them across the arena, slamming them on the ground, and powerfully clapping them to squash the Kongs. Stomping two times on a hand's back side will destroy it. After losing his hands, Tiki Tong will head into battle using only his main body, raining down fire tikis and swooping to attack. After a while, he will thump full-force into the ground. This creates shock waves, but also unveils the red button on his head. The Kongs must attack this portion three times to vanquish Tiki Tong. Tiki Tong Terror


The Tiki Tak Tribe has invaded a large portion of Donkey Kong Island, scattering its members throughout all the 9 worlds and mixing them with the indigenous population of enemies. The lower-ranking members of the tribe typically resemble bongo drums, the rest being designed after other traditional instruments (kalimba, gong, xylophone etc.), particularly those that possess the boss enemies.

Most of the enemies from the island's natural fauna are specific to certain worlds, though they might briefly appear in other locations. For example, Rawks, which are common in the Jungle world, can be also encountered in Damp Dungeon, a level from the Ruins world, as well as the Golden Temple, the last area to be explored in the game.

Tiki Tak Tribe
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
A Tiki Goon Tiki Goon Grunt-level enemies, slowly moving back and forth on platforms. Although harmful if simply touched from one side, as they bite, Tiki Goons can be destroyed using any form of attack, such as stomping, rolling, barrel throwing, or Rambi's strike. Jungle Hijinxs Red Red Rising
TikiDoom.png Tiki Doom A larger variant of the Tiki Goon. While its behavior remains unchanged, slowly traversing patches of ground, it can be taken out with three stomps, as opposed to one. A single roll attack is also decisive. Tree Top Bop Golden Temple
Close-up of a Screaming Pillar Screaming Pillar A stone totem, initially found sleeping. As soon as it hears the Kongs, it wakes up and screams, toppling on the path. Screaming Pillars can crush the protagonists, as well as any other creature standing right below them. However, after collapsing on the ground, they become harmless and can be jumped on and cracked open with a ground pound. Jungle Hijinxs Five Monkey Trial
Close-up of a big Screaming Pillar Screaming Pillar (big) A colossal Screaming Pillar. It ploughs down into the abyss, destroying the Kongs in one hit. Canopy Cannons Canopy Cannons
A Tiki Buzz Tiki Buzz An airborne Tiki that flies on predetermined paths, ranging from straight lines to circles. Its lateral and bottom sides are dangerous to touch, but it can be defeated using any attack technique. Crazy Cart Golden Temple
A Tiki Tork from Donkey Kong Country Returns Tiki Tork A gargantuan equivalent of Tiki Buzz. Three stomps on its body are necessary to defeat it. Alternatively, the Kongs can use any other attack technique once to achieve the same result. Prehistoric Path Golden Temple
Flaming Tiki Buzz Flaming Tiki Buzz A blackened Tiki Buzz set on fire. While burning, it can only be defeated with a thrown barrel; touching one in this state is harmful. However, a blow will dissolve its flames, leaving it dizzy and as vulnerable as a standard Tiki Buzz. Crazy Cart Red Red Rising
Tiki Torch Tiki Torch An enemy that is constantly covered in red flames, walking back and forth on the ground. It is dangerous to make contact with a Tiki Torch shrouded in fire, and while in this state, it can only be attacked from distance with a barrel. The Kongs are able to put out the fire engulfing a Tiki Torch using a short blow. While extinguished, Tiki Torches become confused and open to any kind of attack. Peaceful Pier Red Red Rising
Uncommon variant of Tiki Bomber that drops fireballs in an arc
Tiki Bomber A variant of the Tiki Torch that emits blue flames. Apart from being harmful to touch whatsoever while flaming, it can attack by shooting small fireballs from their lateral sides. Blue Tiki Bombers discharge fireballs in straight lines, while brown Tiki Bombers, which are normally found on elevated platforms, shoot them in arc-shaped lines. A blow will extinguish them, allowing the Kongs to defeat them just as Tiki Torches. Wonky Waterway Furious Fire
Tiki Boing Tiki Boing A Tiki with a coil-wound body. It moves with rhythmical bounces, enabling it to attack the Kongs in the process. Tiki Boings can be defeated using any form of attack. Jagged Jewels Tippy Shippy
A Tiki Tank Tiki Tank A sturdy Tiki reinforced with stone. Roll attacks and normal stomps do not have effect on it. Instead, the Kongs can pound the ground near a Tiki Tank to flip it over, uncovering its bottom side and allowing them to destroy the enemy with a stomp. Alternatively, a Tiki Tank can be immediately defeated with a barrel or with Rambi. Button Bash Red Red Rising
Model of Tiki Zing from Donkey Kong Country Returns Tiki Zing A rotating disc with razors. Some Tiki Zings can be found floating in one place, other fly on set patterns, tracing straight lines and circles in the air, and might group themselves in miscellaneous formations, as seen in Clingy Swingy. They are harmful and invulnerable to many of the Kongs' attacks, including barrel tossing, but Rambi is able to break them. King of Cling Five Monkey Trial
Tiki Zing (big) Tiki Zing (big) An uncommon, larger variation of Tiki Zings. It moves considerably slower and is just as harmful. However, these Tiki Zings cannot be defeated by any means of attack. Platform Panic Blast & Bounce
Fireball Fireball A Tiki Zing variant shrouded in flames. It spins and rotates in circles, being harmful even for Rambi. Fireballs are indestructible. Precarious Plateau Precarious Plateau
Model of Giga Goro Ball Giga Goro Ball A large, spherical Tiki that tries to crush the Kongs by rolling over them if they are too slow. Giga Goro Ball is indestructible. Crumble Canyon Crumble Canyon
Tiki Pop Tiki Pop A Tiki with a bowl-shaped head, carrying a flashing bomb. Tiki Bombs walk slowly in one direction on the ground; they will self-destruct moments after spawning from Stu's cauldron. They will explode earlier if the Kongs make contact with them, and their combustion is dangerous. Ruined Roost Ruined Roost
TikiSeeker.png Tiki Seeker Small Tikis peeking from black portals in the background. They cannot be interacted with, but will produce short blades that can hurt the Kongs. They launch the said blades towards the current position of Donkey Kong, before retreating into the portal. Golden Temple Golden Temple
Tiki Pilot Tiki Pilot The Tiki responsible for transporting part of Donkey Kong's banana hoard using his airship and a rope net. Tiki Pilot is briefly seen in the first level, Jungle Hijinxs. Jungle Hijinxs Jungle Hijinxs
General enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Frogoon Frogoon A green frog enemy that attacks by simply jumping in one place. Every time it jumps, the Frogoon stays airborne for a brief moment by inflating itself. Frogoons can be flown away by any means of attack. Jungle Hijinxs Muncher Marathon
Hopgoon.png Hopgoon A yellow species of frogs related to Frogoons. Instead of jumping in one place, Hopgoons use jumps to move along a path. They can be overcome with any attack. Tree Top Bop Muncher Marathon
Chomp Chomp A spiky carnivorous plant affixed to a stretchy stem. After munching air two times, Chomps will dash in the direction they are facing to attack, repeating the process afterwards. They are not very vulnerable, as the Kongs cannot attack them with any direct move, such as stomping or rolling, but can be taken out with a barrel. King of Cling Flutter Flyaway
A Snaggles. Snaggles A voracious shark enemy that attacks by jumping out of the water. Every part of its body is dangerous to touch and will damage the Kongs upon direct contact. Snaggles can only be defeated with a barrel. Poppin' Planks Damp Dungeon
A yellow Snaggles. Yellow Snaggles A relative of Snaggles. It jumps out and drops back into the water just like regular Snaggles. However, Yellow Snaggles will attempt a second, quick immediate attack without warning the player. These enemies can be defeated with a barrel. Poppin' Planks Damp Dungeon
The Squeekly family Squeekly A species of stout bat enemies. They fly in a straight line across the screen, their mouths being wide open. They attempt to attack by flying into the Kongs and are also able to pass by solid walls, whereas other characters are not. Squeeklys can be knocked out with any attack technique. Tumblin' Temple Bobbing Basalt
Buzzbite Buzzbite A short, rash enemy traveling on walls and ceilings. To move, it spins its sharp feet around the body, damaging the Kongs upon contact. They can only be destroyed with a barrel. Jagged Jewels Five Monkey Trial
Jungle enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
An Awk Awk A flightless blue parrot and a basic enemy. It walks down a path, being harmful if simply touched from behind or front. It can be defeated using any attack technique, such as stomping, rolling, barrel throwing, or Rambi's charge. Jungle Hijinxs Canopy Cannons
Rawk.png Rawk A red-feathered variation of Awks. It will charge into the Kongs as it spots them in an attempt to attack. However, Rawks can be defeated just like Awks. Jungle Hijinxs Golden Temple
Giant Chomp Giant Chomp A large type of Chomp. It behaves the same, but takes less time before it attacks. It is more resistant than the regular Chomp and cannot be destroyed. King of Cling King of Cling
Mimic Mimic A mysterious enemy under the guise of a bush. It mimics the scenery, waiting for the Kongs to approach, then attacks by charging towards them. Mimics can be taken out using any attack method. Sunset Shore Sunset Shore
Beach enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Snaps Snaps An orange crab enemy crawling back and forth on the ground. Snaps usually appear from underground, drilling outwards through the sand. They are only able to hurt the Kongs if they come into contact with their lateral sides. Despite being armed with claws, Snaps do not use them. As a result, they can be defeated by all signs of attack, including a roll attack. Poppin' Planks Tippy Shippy
A Pinchly Pinchly A relative of Snaps that makes use of its claws and wears a protective pirate bandana. With its claws, the enemy lunges towards the Kongs in an attempt to injure them. If stomped on, Pinchlys will raise their claws upwards, leaving their lateral sides discovered and open for roll attacks. Pinchlys can also be defeated by flipping them over with a ground pound, then stomping their underside. Poppin' Planks Tippy Shippy
Squidly Squidly A mollusk projectile flying along an horizontal path in the air. Its pointy head is covered with a conical, harmful shell that can pounce the Kongs. However, Squidlys can be defeated with a stomp or a thrown barrel. Sloppy Sands Five Monkey Trial
Electrasquid Electrasquid An electrified type of Squidly which cannot be stomped on. The only way to destroy an Electrasquid is by using a barrel. Sloppy Sands Tippy Shippy
Squid Shot Squid Shot A stubby turret machine, operated from inside by an unseen creature. Most times, Squid Shots are the origin of Squidlys and Electrasquids, shooting them in differing patterns. Squid Shots cannot be destroyed, but can be walked on or touched safely. Sloppy Sands Five Monkey Trial
Jellybob.png Jellybob A jellyfish foe protected by electricity. It regularily leaps from the water and slowly floats back down in a straight line. It cannot be touched anyhow, but can be defeated from distance with a barrel. Cannon Cluster Blowhole Bound
Squiddicus Squiddicus A giant kraken-like octopus that creates an obstacle course using his large, spike-covered arms. The Kongs cannot beat the enemy, but are able to avoid his intervening limbs. Stormy Shore Stormy Shore
Ruins enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Stilts Stilts A clumsy, white turkey enemy walking on stilts, hence its name. It also uses them as defense, kicking and hurting the Kongs with them. Upon getting stomped or rolled under, the enemy loses its stilts (as well as plumage) and starts running aimlessly on the ground, during which it can be defeated by any attack. Wonky Waterway Damp Dungeon
Two Humzees Humzee A species of hummingbird enemies. They attempt to attack the Kongs by repeatedly charging towards them in flight. Although small in size, Humzees can be defeated with a stomp or a roll attack. Button Bash Button Bash
A giant Snaggles. Giga Rangwi An enormous Snaggles charging out of the water at regular intervals. There is only one of its kind and cannot be defeated. Damp Dungeon Damp Dungeon
A Toothberry Toothberry A noisy furball enemy that moves by hopping on the ground. It can bite or land on the Kongs to hurt them. However, Toothberries can be defeated using any attack method. Itty Bitty Biters Clingy Swingy
Cageberry Cageberry A Toothberry isolated and protected by a thorny cage. To move, the enemy pushes its cage in the desired direction, possibly ramming into the Kongs and hurting them. Cageberries cannot be destroyed, but can be turned upside down and stunned with a close ground pound. The cage can then be anchored into the ground by pounding its bottom surface. After a short time, the Toothberry inside the cage will forcefully pull it outside, propelling the Kongs in the air. Itty Bitty Biters Itty Bitty Biters
Ack Ack A bigger variation of Toothberries showing the same behavior. Two stomps are needed to destroy an Ack, but it can be taken out immediately using a roll attack or a barrel. Itty Bitty Biters Itty Bitty Biters
AckStack AckStack A stack formation of brown Acks. After they spot the Kongs, they will collapse and toss themselves towards the protagonists in an attempt to hurt them. They will fixate their teeth into the ground, remaining there until receiving a stomp. Itty Bitty Biters Itty Bitty Biters
Cave enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
MoleMiner3.png Mole Miner Mole enemies, mostly found in vehicle riding levels and appearing in various stances. Some of them are seen traveling on rails in mine carts, and can be defeated by stomping or simply crashing with them, though the latter will cost the Kongs a life. Other are using pickaxes as mining tools and also weapons, and can be knocked out by crashing into them. Mole Miners also aid Mole Miner Max in his battle and must be stomped on in order to proceed through the boss fight. Crazy Cart The Mole Train
Mole Miner riding on a Minecart Mole Guard A small dispatch of mole enemies using bombs to destroy the track in front of the Kongs during mine cart rides. Since Mole Guards appear in the foreground, they never come in direct contact with the Kongs. Bombs Away Bombs Away
3D model of Chū Komorin in Donkey Kong Country Returns. Chū Komorin A larger, blue variant of Squeeklys. They only appear in a Rocket Barrel stage and attack by flying up or down, trying to block the Kongs path. Crowded Cavern Crowded Cavern
Big Squeekly Big Squeekly An enormous Squeekly guarding the cavern. It appears in a Rocket Barrel stage, during which it tries to impede the Kongs in different ways. This includes chasing them down while shooting powerful sonic waves at the primates. Crowded Cavern Crowded Cavern
Forest enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Hungry plant Hungry plant An enormous blue type of Chomp hiding in the canopy leaves, facing downwards. If the Kongs grab onto its vine-looking tongue, the hungry plant will suck it back inside its mouth, along with the characters. Should they end up in the mouth of a hungry plant, the creature will chew and injure them. Hungry plants cannot be defeated. Vine Valley Wigglevine Wonders
Yellow Chomp Yellow Chomp A yellow Chomp lookalike. Just as its red cousin, the Yellow Chomp lunges upwards trying to injure the primates. However, it takes four consecutive chomps before it attacks, as opposed to two. Yellow Chomps can be defeated with a barrel. Vine Valley Flutter Flyaway
Shooting Chomp Shooting Chomp A yellow, completely stationary type of Chomp. Its body is covered with pores that emit poisonous particles. Ground shooting Chomps can be defeated with a single stomp attack. However, many shooting Chomps are stuck to the ceiling and require a barrel toss to be destroyed. Clingy Swingy Tippin' Totems
Cling Cobra Cling Cobra Similarly to Buzzbites, Cling Cobras are able to stick to any kind of grassy surface. They will hurt the Kongs if they run into them, but can be taken out with any attack technique. Clingy Swingy Clingy Swingy
DKCR Purple Skittler.png Skittler Spider enemies, coming in purple and orange colorations. Purple Skittlers remain stuck to a thread until getting stomped on, after which they will either greet defeat or just fall and crawl on the floor unharmed. Orange Skittlers plunge onto the ground and start walking directly. Walking Skittlers can be defeated using any attack. However, hanging Skittlers are dangerous to run into with a roll attack. Flutter Flyaway Muncher Marathon
A singular image of a Bopapodamus from Donkey Kong Country Returns. Bopapodamus A big hippopotamus enemy perched on a high wooden pole. It is completely inoffensive and can be collapsed with four stomp attacks. Tippin' Totems Springy Spores
Green Chomp Green Chomp A green pigmented version of Chomps, standing with their mouths wide open in the air. Their tongue mimics a bouncy mushroom, which the Kongs can use to reach higher areas. Upon bouncing on their tongue, green Chomps immediately close their mouths in an attempt to snatch the Kongs. Jumping on their tongue is safe, but if the Kongs fall directly into the mouth of a green Chomps, they will get trapped there and lose hearts. Green Chomps cannot be defeated. Longshot Launch Wigglevine Wonders
A Wigglevine. Wigglevine A strange, pear-shaped enemy. It can fly using two rotor leaves, which are sharp and harmful. Normal-sized Wigglevines can ferry the Kongs above vast abysses using short vines attached to them. Small Wigglevines, on the other hand, are not able to sustain the Kongs with their vines and will self-destruct after a short time. Wigglevine Wonders Wigglevine Wonders
Skittler Pillar Skittler Pillar A solid wooden structure ornated with a Skittler carving. It is vertical and moves up and down, powerfully striking the ground. The Kongs can only avoid being squashed by a Skittler Pillar, without being able to destroy it. Pairs of Skittler Pillars that face each other and slowly move at the same time are also encountered; these are completely harmless, but may delay the characters' race to escape the horde of Munchers. Muncher Marathon Muncher Marathon
Muncher Munchers A massive population of small arachnids, invading the forest area after hatching from their eggs. They pursue the Kongs and are impossible to defeat. Muncher Marathon Muncher Marathon
Cliff enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
A Skellirex from Donkey Kong Country Returns. Skellirex An undead reptile skeleton patrolling a ground area back and forth. It is dangerous to simply run into a Skellirex, but a basic attack will crumble its body, leaving its skull skipping on the floor. The skull can also be destroyed with a basic attack. Tumblin' Temple Clifftop Climb
Skullyrex.png Skullyrex Merely smaller variations of Skellirex skulls, jumping on the floor while chomping air. They can be defeated with a stomp, roll attack, or a barrel. Sticky Situation Crumble Canyon
Bonehead Jed Bonehead Jed Small dinosaur skeletons traveling by small carts, pushing their wheels to move forward. They are able to extend their spine and elevate their heads, creating an impediment for the Kongs. Bonehead Jeds can be defeated using any means of attack, except rolling. Sticky Situation Boulder Roller
Firehead Ned Firehead Ned A variation of the Bonehead Jed that can spit fireballs. It otherwise behaves the same, using a cart to move and periodically extending its head. It can also be defeated like a Bonehead Jed. Sticky Situation Boulder Roller
Two Robobī. Robobī A robotic, bee-like insect that flies around in pursuit of the Kongs. They will give off a harmful electric shock if touched. They cannot be destroyed. Perilous Passage Perilous Passage
Firebite Firebite A flaming variation of Buzzbites. They quickly move around walls and platforms, leaving a short trail of fire behind. They are dangerous to touch and cannot be destroyed. Perilous Passage Perilous Passage
Factory enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
DKCR Tiki Zing Factory.png Tiki Zing (Foggy Fumes) A jagged disc object grinding its way on the ground. It will hurt the Kongs upon contact and cannot be destroyed. Foggy Fumes Foggy Fumes
Pogobot Pogobot An electrified robot resembling a pogo stick. It hops back and forth down the alley, alternating from short to high jumps. While dangerous to come into direct contact, Pogobots can be defeated from a distance using a barrel. Foggy Fumes Cog Jog
PyrobotY.png PyrobotR.png Pyrobot A cylindrical robot containing a flamethrower, making it capable of shooting flames. Yellow Pyrobots can be wrecked with three basic stomp attacks, but the red models are resistant and require a barrel or a Buckbomb to be destroyed. Handy Hazards Treacherous Track
A BuckBot BuckBot A robot designed after household chickens. It patrols a single platform back and forth and can be taken out by any signs of attack. Slammin' Steel Feather Fiend
A BuckBomb. BuckBomb A reddish variation of the BuckBot. It can be destroyed immediately with a roll or a barrel attack. However, if stomped, it will start ticking, exploding shortly after. Before they go off, BuckBombs can be picked up and hurled into other enemies. Handy Hazards Music Madness
An Electroid in Donkey Kong Country Returns Electroid Small, animated balls of plasma following a set path in the air. Some of them are solitary, while other form electrical bonds with each other. Most of the time they can only be avoided. However, sometimes, Electroids might float in front of red and blue blocks, which can push them off the screen. Slammin' Steel Switcheroo
Volcano enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Charchar.png Char-Char An incandescent rock, usually displaying a grinning face. This type of Char-Chars can jump from the ground in an arc shaped path; even though they are harmful if touched directly, they can be put out with a blow or a barrel. A faceless variety also appears in this game. Some of these act like lava bubbles, quickly emerging from lava and plunging back into it; others float slowly towards the ground and die out upon impact. Faceless Char-Chars cannot be destroyed with a blow, only with a thrown barrel. Furious Fire Moving Melters
Rentamaguma Rentamaguma Larger Char-Chars floating in the air, covering a wide portion of the screen with their fire tails. They cannot be defeated. Furious Fire Furious Fire
Fireball Fireballs Powerful concentrations of fire. In Hot Rocket, fireballs appear from behind and soar across the screen. They destroy Donkey Kong's Rocket Barrel if they hit it. In Roasting Rails, larger, heavier balls of fire emerge from lava. They are also capable of wrecking DK's vehicle, or just damaging the Kongs if they are on foot. Neither type of fireball can be destroyed. Hot Rocket Roasting Rails
Leaping flame Leaping flame Invincible serpents made of fire. They come from lava and circle around the Kongs as they fly with their Rocket Barrel. Hot Rocket Hot Rocket
Golden Temple enemies
Image Name Description First level appearance Last level appearance
Kowalee Kowalee An overgrown koala enemy riding a helicopter-like carriage. It flies in one position and tosses bombs at the Kongs. Before they detonate, the bombs can be thrown back at the enemy to knock it out. Golden Temple Golden Temple

Items and objects[edit]

The adventure is littered with noteworthy objects that can be used or manipulated in various ways or purposes. Below is a table that comprises all collectables, projectiles, vehicles, and miscellaneous objects found in the game.


Image Name Description
Artwork of a Banana from Donkey Kong Country Returns Banana Bananas, the most common items in the game, are normally found floating in the air and arranged in rows and other patterns. They are very frequent in the main level space and in Bonus Areas as well. Upon collecting 100 of them, the Kongs receive an extra life.
Artwork of a Banana Bunch from Donkey Kong Country Returns Banana Bunch Banana Bunches are less common than singular bananas, and they represent five or ten bananas.
A Banana Coin Banana Coin Returning from Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Banana Coins are the currency of the game. Many of them are found throughout the levels, and are used to purchase items in Cranky Kong's Shop. Banana Coins are usually encountered floating in the air, and the Kongs can often find them in Bonus Areas. Sometimes, they will spawn after collecting a certain set of bananas.
Heart Heart A common item that refills one space of the health counter. It can be found along the way during normal play and Time Attack, but never during Mirror Mode.
Red Balloon Red Balloon An item that gives the Kongs an additional try if they lose all of their hearts. Red Balloons are sometimes found floating in the air; they start ascending just as the Kongs enter their screen, and should be grabbed quickly. The Kongs start off their adventure with four Red Balloons. If all the current balloons are lost, the player receives a Game Over.
K-O-N-G Letters as seen in Donkey Kong Country Returns and the 3DS remake. K-O-N-G Letters This set of four letters is found in each level (excluding temple and boss levels) in this order. Should all K-O-N-G Letters in a world be collected, access will be granted to the said world's hidden temple stage. As a result, K-O-N-G Letters do not appear in any of the hidden levels. All letters in the game need to be collected in order to fully complete the game.
A Puzzle Piece Puzzle Piece A precious item found in all except boss levels. They are most often encountered in hidden places, though some will spawn after collecting a certain set of items, like bananas and Banana Coins. Puzzle Pieces are also the objective of Bonus Areas. A level contains either five, seven, or nine Puzzle Pieces; if all the Puzzle Pieces in a level are collected, they will unlock a piece of artwork in the Extras section in the game's file menu.
The green Rare Orb, found in Platform Panic Rare Orb A valuable object needed to unlock the gateway to the Golden Temple. Rare Orbs appear at the end of every Key Temple stage and replace Slot Machine Barrels in the said stages.


Image Name Description
A Barrel Barrel A wooden object that is sometimes found lying on the ground. Barrels can be heaved and carried, and can be hurled at enemies to attack them from distance – this is especially useful for enemies like Tiki Torches, Snaggles, and Jellybobs, which are harmful at any kind of direct contact. Upon getting thrown, barrels start rolling along a path, clearing the way of any enemies and breaking when they knock into a wall.
A DK Barrel DK Barrel When Donkey Kong travels alone and encounters a DK Barrel, he can break it to free his partner, Diddy. If they are already teamed up and find a DK Barrel, it can be broken to replenish their health counter. Just as regular barrels, DK Barrels can also be used for purposes of attack. However, they break upon contact with any element.
Two types of Barrel Cannon Barrel Cannon A floating, barrel-shaped cannon. Upon command, the barrel launches the Kongs across long distances. The barrel is usually marked with a white arrow, but certain Barrel Cannons display a skull and crossbones, indicating they self-destruct as soon as they shoot the Kongs.
A regular and a skull Blast Barrel Blast Barrel A type of barrel similar to Barrel Cannons, it is marked with a white explosion symbol. This barrel automatically shoots the Kongs as they enter it. Self-destructing Blast Barrels, showing a skull symbol inside an explosion, also exist.
Slot Machine Barrel.png Slot Machine Barrel The goal in most levels of the game. When hit, the Slot Machine Barrel will reward the Kongs one of the prizes displayed on the barrel's roulette.


Image Name Description
A gourd
A container from the RuinsA container from the Volcano
Containers These objects have an identical purpose, but might change appearance to fit the aesthetic of the environment. They contain items, ranging from bananas to Puzzle Pieces. They are located in the immediate background, and even though they cannot be interacted with directly, the Kongs can pound the surface in front of them to release the item inside.
A trapdoor from the Forest
A trapdoor from the Jungle
A trapdoor from the Beach
Trapdoor A thin platform hidden amongst ground. If pounded, it will spin for a short time, allowing the Kongs to fall beneath it. This usually leads to secrets, such as Bonus Areas.
Bag Bag An object hanging with a rope from above. It displays a bull's-eye and contains a valuable item, such as a Puzzle Piece. A bag can be destroyed with a barrel.
Bowling birds from Donkey Kong Country Returns Bowling birds Pin-shaped dodos resting around the checkpoint in Blowhole Bound. The Kongs can collapse a flock of bowling birds with a Roll Attack, which produces an item.
Rambi Crate Rambi Crate A spacious crate containing Rambi. It has a rhino head emblem on its side. To destroy the crate and free Rambi, the Kongs can ground pound near it or roll into it.
A swinging vine Vine A thin plant hanging from the forest canopy. It can be either stationary or swinging, and appears in various lengths. Vines are used to sway above chasms or climb atop higher areas. Hungry plants have a vine for a tongue, and use it to attract prey into their mouths.


Image Name Description
A Minecart Mine Cart A vehicle used to travel on rails which cannot be walked on. If empty, the Kongs may take full control of it. However, sometimes, mine carts are occupied by ore, and the Kongs would have to jump from one to another in order to progress. If the mine cart crashes into an element, the Kongs lose a life.
Rocket Barrel DKCR.png Rocket Barrel A barrel-shaped device used to fly. As it moves through the air, the Kongs can control it by ascending and descending to avoid obstacles. As with the mine cart, if the Rocket Barrel crashes, the Kongs will lose a life.

Worlds and levels[edit]

The game is divided into eight main worlds and an extra level, the Golden Temple. With the exception of boss levels, all levels in the game contain a number of Puzzle Pieces that unlock concept artwork. Every world has one unlockable level and alternate paths to take between levels.

In each world, the Kongs can come across Cranky Kong's Shop, where Cranky sells various items that can be used in the course of the game.

Below is a table listing all levels in the game, along with the number of Puzzle Pieces each one has (five, seven, or nine), as well as the music theme playing there. The soundtrack of the game features various rearrangements of past Donkey Kong melodies, with the other tunes being new. Tunes followed by an asterisk (*) have been given a title in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Worlds and levels
Level number Level name Puzzle Pieces 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 rearrangement 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 Puzzle Pieces Music theme(s)
2-1 Poppin' Planks 5 "Poppin' Planks"
2-2 Sloppy Sands 7 "Poppin' Planks"
"Sloppy Sands"
2-3 Peaceful Pier 5 A rearrangement of "Poppin' Planks"
"Mine Menace"
2-4 Cannon Cluster 7 "Mast Blast"
2-5 Stormy Shore 5 Stormy Shore theme
2-6 Blowhole Bound 5 "Aquatic Ambiance Returns"
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 Puzzle Pieces 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 Puzzle Pieces 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 "Mole Patrol"*
4-5 Crowded Cavern 5 "Mine Menace"
4-K Jagged Jewels 5 Temple theme
4-B BOSS LEVEL: The Mole Train 0 Mole Train theme
Level number Level name Puzzle Pieces Music theme(s)
5-1 Vine Valley 7 "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-2 Clingy Swingy 5 "King of Cling"
5-3 Flutter Flyaway 7 "Tree Top Rock Returns"
5-4 Tippin' Totems 7 "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-5 Longshot Launch 7 "Tree Top Rock Returns"
5-6 Springy Spores 7 "King of Cling"
5-7 Wigglevine Wonders 7 "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-8 Muncher Marathon 5 "Tree Top Rock Returns"
A rearrangement of "Forest Frenzy Returns"
5-K Blast & Bounce 5 Temple theme
5-B BOSS LEVEL: Mangoruby Run 0 "Mangoruby Rush"
Level number Level name Puzzle Pieces Music theme(s)
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 arrangement 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 Puzzle Pieces Music theme(s)
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 rearrangement 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"
"Mole Patrol"
7-K Treacherous Track 5 Temple theme
7-B BOSS LEVEL: Feather Fiend 0 Feather Fiend theme
Level number Level name Puzzle Pieces Music theme(s)
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 rearrangement 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 Puzzle Pieces Music theme
9-1 Golden Temple 5 Golden Temple theme

Jungle Hijinxs
The Jungle
Poppin' Planks
The Beach
Wonky Waterway
The Ruins
Rickety Rails
The Cave
DKCR Vine Valley 2.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]

It has been requested that more images be uploaded for this article. Remove this notice only after the additional images have been added. Specific(s): Donkey Kong Chocolate Banana Shake, Donkey Kong poster, Kong's banana hoard sign, t-shirt

The promotional stickers
The promotional stickers
The promotional stickers

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.[6] 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.[7] Shortly before the game's release in North America, Nintendo tried to trademark the pop culture phrase "It's on like Donkey Kong!"[8] 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.

The Wii Remote banana pouch

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.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]


“I'll never forget as we were wrapping up our conversation with [Shigeru Miyamoto] in Kyoto, he said in English, 'Please take care of DK. He is my friend.'”
Bryan Walker

After the completion of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, employees of Retro Studios felt "franchise fatigue" and considered creating a Donkey Kong game next, although the studio went on to create a third Metroid Prime installment to showcase the Wii's motion controls at Satoru Iwata's suggestion.[12] The development of Donkey Kong Country Returns started after several core developers of the Metroid Prime series left Retro Studios, which made several executives skeptical of whether the company could continue making high quality games.[13] 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.[13]. The game's director Bryan Walker further opined that after multiple senior developers of the Metroid Prime series left Retro Studios and another key developer passed away, it "did not feel right" to immediately continue the Metroid Prime series. Following internal conversations, the studio wanted to specifically revisit the Donkey Kong Country series due to the success of the games,[12] making it the first game developed by them not to be of the Metroid Prime series.

Development started out slow, with the developers creating only two of the game's eight bosses during 2009.[13] The pace fastened around 2010 as the team increased in size, and after E3, Retro Studios and Nintendo eventually agreed on how the levels should be designed.[13]

Bryan Walker explained that early in development, the team struggled to get an idea of the game's aesthetics, mentioning how early art mockups looked "like something you would see in Metroid Prime – very sullen, dark, edgy, menacing palm tree".[12] The team, however, "learned very quickly" and soon made tweaks with more appropriately whimsical designs.[12]

Kensuke Tanabe, who had worked on the localization of the original Donkey Kong Country, as well as his assistant Risa Tabata, supervised Retro Studios during the game's 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 more from Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.[13]

As a producer, Shigeru Miyamoto gave extensive feedback and mentorship throughout development.[12] Other inputs included requesting that the music be unchanged.[13]

In a 2021 interview, Kynan Pearson, a former member of Retro Studios who had worked on the game, revealed that the silhouette levels were inspired by the aesthetic of Frank Miller's Sin City comic series.[14]


Release Reviewer, Publication Score Comment
Wii Chad Concelmo, Destructoid 10/10 "With a ton of incredible levels to conquer; gorgeous, perfectly designed graphics (wait until you see the first sunset level!); retro-inspired music; and smooth, flawless gameplay, videogames don't get much better than Donkey Kong Country Returns. I can't recommend this game enough. If you have a Wii, BUY THIS GAME. You will not be disappointed. And please hurry. There are so many memorable parts I want to talk to you about. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a perfect videogame experience, from start to finish."
Wii Ellie Gibson, Eurogamer 9/10 "You could argue that it doesn't move the series forwards much. There are a few new twists in here, but nothing which fundamentally changes the game or represents a significant departure from the tried and true formula. But who cares? DKC fans who just want to remember the good old times won't, and nor will newcomers to the series. This game has the potential to win over a whole new generation, and to do so without eliciting any whinges from those of us old enough to remember the taste of a McRib washed down with Tab Clear. If you fit into either of those categories, and you're looking for a bit of fun, old school escapism this Christmas, pick up a copy of DKC Returns. It's great to be back in the old Country."
Wii Tom Mc Shea, GameSpot 8.5/10 "Donkey Kong Country Returns doesn't hide behind any gimmicks. This is a traditional take on 2D platformers, and it excels because the brilliant level design makes old obstacles seem new again. Every level hides a new surprise, and you'll replay them over and over again not only to nab every hidden collectible, but also because they're exquisitely entertaining. Fantastic visual design and a catchy soundtrack complement the core gameplay beautifully, making it a pleasure to enjoy the aesthetic aspects. It's a shame there are some control issues, but you usually have only yourself to blame when you fall into a bottomless pit. Donkey Kong Country Returns is another great game for Nintendo's furry mascot, and it's a must-play for anyone craving an old-school platformer."
Compiler Platform / Score
Metacritic 87
GameRankings 87.87%


Main article: List of Donkey Kong Country Returns staff


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.[15] This can sometimes be fixed by entering and exiting the Home Menu.[16]

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.

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 media[edit]

Donkey Kong playing with a Nintendo DS Lite
  • 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. When Donkey Kong pulls out a Nintendo DS Lite during his idle animation, sound effects from this game play.
  • 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.: Collecting a Banana plays a sped-up sound effect of kicking a Koopa Shell from this game.[17]
  • 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 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.
  • Super Smash Bros. series: The wind-up punching move used by Donkey Kong at the end of the game is very similar to his standard special move, the Giant Punch.
  • Donkey Kong 64: Diddy's jetpack ability and Peanut Popgun originated here.
  • 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.
  • Nintendo DS Lite: After standing idle for enough time, Donkey Kong pulls out a Nintendo DS Lite.
  • Mario Kart Wii: Several of Donkey Kong's and Diddy Kong's voice clips are reused 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.

References in later games[edit]

Pre-release and unused content[edit]

Concept art from Donkey Kong Country Returns of Donkey Kong controlling a Ferndozer.
Concept art of a Ferndozer as seen in Donkey Kong Country Returns

In the concept art gallery for the game robotic creatures called Ferndozers are shown, in which they are the only dumped concept characters whose official names are shown. Ferndozers look like monstrous tanks with a Barrel holding a giant chainsaw and a robotic arm. In a second concept art from the gallery it is shown that Ferndozers would appear in the Factory, many of them deforesting the Factory's surroundings. The concept art also showed Donkey Kong in the corner, controlling it with a remote control.

Nintendo eShop description[edit]

Donkey Kong Island has been taken over by the musical Tiki Tak Tribe! Jump, swing, and blast your way through over 65 levels spanning eight worlds. There are many hidden items to uncover in each level, and collecting them all will unlock something special! Invite a friend to take control of Diddy Kong for two-player cooperative play!


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


For a complete list of media for this subject, see List of Donkey Kong Country Returns media.
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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

Chinese (simplified) 森喜刚 归来[18]
Sēnxǐgāng Guīlái
Donkey Kong Returns

German Donkey Kong Country Returns


  • The save data description is "Get bananas back from the Tikis!"


  1. ^ Donkey Kong Country Returns. GameSpy
  2. ^ Philips, Tom (January 14, 2015). Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid Prime Trilogy headed to Wii U eShop. Eurogamer. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
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  6. ^ GoNintendo: Official PR - Chiquita and Nintendo team up for Donkey Kong Country Returns cross-promotion, dated 1/26/11; retrieved 1/27/11
  7. ^ GoNintendo: Johnny Rockets starts 'Donkey Kong Chocolate Banana Shake' promo contest, dated 11/14/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  8. ^
  9. ^ Official Nintendo Magazine: Fans buy Donkey Kong Country Returns with bananas, dated 12/3/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  10. ^ GoNintendo: Nintendo of Australia - Be The First To Play Donkey Kong Country Returns, dated 11/18/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  11. ^ Aussie-Nintendo: That's a lot of bananas - Sydney's DKCR launch event, dated 12/4/10; retrieved 1/27/11
  12. ^ a b c d e Kiwi Talkz (October 2, 2021). "Bryan Walker Interview (Metroid Prime Trilogy, Donkey Kong, Mario Kart 7, Project Management)". YouTube. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Iwata Asks: Donkey Kong Country Returns (accessed March 08 2012)
  14. ^ GameXplain. (November 13, 2021). Ex-Retro Dev on Metroid Prime World Design, Ignoring the Kremlings, & Sin City x DKCR?! + More! YouTube.
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External links[edit]