Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

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This article is about the Nintendo 3DS version. For the original Wii version, see Donkey Kong Country Returns. For the Play Nintendo gallery, see Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Screenshots.
Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.
Developer Monster Games
Retro Studios
Nintendo SPD Group No.3
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS
Release date Original release:
USA May 24, 2013
Europe May 24, 2013
Australia May 25, 2013
Japan June 13, 2013[1]
South Korea December 7, 2013[2]
HK January 24, 2014[3]
ROC January 24, 2014
Nintendo Selects:
USA March 11, 2016
Japan September 15, 2016
Australia May 11, 2017
South Korea December 7, 2017
Europe June 29, 2018[4]
Genre Platformer
ESRB:ESRB's E rating symbol - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO rating A - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
USK:USK 0.svg - All ages
Mode(s) Original Mode, New Mode
Nintendo 3DS:
A picture of a 3DS game card Game Card
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo 3DS:

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a side-scrolling 2.5D platformer title for the Nintendo 3DS released in May 2013. It is a port[5] of the 2010 Wii title Donkey Kong Country Returns, with some additional content, as well as the only entry in the Donkey Kong franchise for the Nintendo 3DS family. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is the 15th best-selling game for the Nintendo 3DS, selling 1.52 million copies worldwide, as of March 31, 2014. It was selected to be one of the 2014 Platinum Reward choices for Club Nintendo members. The eShop version of this game requires 17,668 blocks (approximately 2.1 GB) to be downloaded. Due to the large size of this title, some Nintendo 3DS consoles cannot download this title without a high-capacity SD Card.

Differences and additions[edit]

Gameplay changes[edit]

  • The port features a New Mode which:
    • Adds an additional heart to the life meter, providing three hearts in the normal game, and two in Mirror Mode.
      • However, despite offering an extra heart, Mirror Mode still removes all the hearts from every level, preventing the player from recovering any damage.
    • Adds additional items in Cranky Kong's Shop, including the Green Balloon, Crash Guard, and DK Barrel.
    • The prices are lowered for the other items in Cranky Kong's Shop:
      • 1 Red Balloon costs two Banana Coins each instead of three, 3 Red Balloons cost five Banana Coins each instead of seven, and 7 Red Balloons cost ten Banana Coins each instead of fifteen.
      • Map Keys cost ten Banana Coins each instead of twenty.
      • Banana Juice costs seven Banana Coins each instead of twenty.
      • Heart Boosts cost three Banana Coins each instead of ten.
      • Squawks costs five Banana Coins each instead of fifteen.
    • Up to three items can be used in one level.
      • Banana Juice only protects against five hits instead of ten, because of the raised item limit.
    • If the player loses a life under the effects of Banana Juice, they will restart the level (either at the beginning or checkpoint) with the invincibility intact (whereas the original removed the invincibility upon being defeated).
    • After defeating Tiki Tong, the player can purchase the eight Rare Orbs from each of Cranky Kong's Shops for fifty Banana Coins apiece.
    • Super Guide becomes available after losing five lives, as opposed to eight.
  • Any items that do not get used are returned to the player's inventory.

Level design changes[edit]

  • The game introduces a new world, Cloud, as the ninth and final world with eight additional new levels; the Golden Temple, originally the ninth world in and of itself, becomes the new ninth world's final level.
  • In Mangoruby Run, there are fewer members of the Tiki Tak Tribe watching the battle.

Graphical changes[edit]

  • Upon collecting all the K-O-N-G letters in any level in Mirror Mode, the red star icon will be replaced with a blue star icon next to the chosen level. However, it isn't necessary for 200% completion and it doesn't unlock anything.
  • Presumably due to technical limitations of the 3DS compared to the Wii:
    • The game runs at 30 frames per second (with or without 3D), half the frame rate of the original version.
    • The game models' textures are of slightly worse quality.
    • More loading screens were added.
    • During level/world transitions, the background no longer scrolls.
    • The "DK" logo transition lasts longer than on the Wii version and the logo takes up more of the screen than it did before.

New levels[edit]

A screenshot from Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
The Cloud world
Main article: Cloud (world)

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D has all the levels from the original Wii version, as well as 8 levels exclusive to this version. These levels are all present in the new Cloud world. The Golden Temple stage from the Wii version is also located in this world and is now level 9-9. The new levels are as follows:



This game offers two different control schemes. The default control scheme utilizes the Circle Pad. An alternative control scheme, which utilizes the +Control Pad, can be selected via the game's Options screen.

Solo and co-op modes
Action Default control scheme Alternative control scheme
Walk Circle Pad +Control Pad left or right
Crouch +Control Pad down
Jump A Button / B Button A Button / B Button
Barrel Jet hover
Ground Pound X Button / Y Button L Button / R Button
Roll Attack (while moving)
Blow (while crouching)
Charge (while on Rambi)
Grab L Button / R Button X Button / Y Button
Dismount Rambi +Control Pad down + X Button / Y Button
Pause game Start Button Start Button
Co-op mode only
Action Default control scheme Alternative control scheme
Pick up Diddy Kong (for player 1) L Button / R Button +Control Pad up + X Button / Y Button
Mount Donkey Kong (for player 2)
Dismount Donkey Kong (for player 2) +Control Pad down + X Button / Y Button

Glitches and bugs[edit]

Shine overlap[edit]

Screen capture showing a shine layer overlapping a user interface window, despite not belonging to it.

If players get a shiny gold medal after clearing a stage in Time Attack mode and, at the same time, receive a message window advising them to take a break, the window will appear to separate the medal and its shine sparkles. Additionally, while everything behind the message window is darkened, the sparkles preserve their brightness. This visual bug demonstrates that the layer corresponding to the sparkles was overlapped on the user interface elements.

Perpetual roll[edit]

A level design oversight in Topsy Turvy which causes Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong to be able to roll in one place, midway through a curved slope.

In Topsy Turvy, if Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong attempt to climb the curved slope just beneath the Slot Machine Barrel using a Kong Roll, they will stick to the slope midway while rolling in place.

Nintendo eShop description[edit]

American English version

Donkey Kong™, along with his trusted side-kick Diddy Kong™, makes his triumphant debut on the Nintendo 3DS™ system in this barrel-blasting, rail-riding, ground-pounding adventure. The original Donkey Kong Country Returns has been re-mastered and updated for portable play! Run, jump, climb and defeat enemies through over 65+ levels spanning 8 worlds on Donkey Kong Island. Unlock an all-new 9th world with 8 brand new levels. Select the Original Mode to play the game with the same rules and settings as the Wii version, or try the New Mode that gives you an additional heart, as well as new items to help on your quest to recover Donkey Kong's stolen banana hoard!

British English version

Go ape with the swingin' king of the jungle! Donkey Kong and his simian sidekick Diddy Kong are back for more action-packed platforming antics in Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, an enhanced version of Wii adventure Donkey Kong Country Returns, only on Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL!

Promotional events[edit]

On May 24, 2013, to celebrate the release of the game in North America, Nintendo partnered with the Los Angeles Zoo during the Memorial Day weekend, and held a Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D experience for fans. The day's activities included a visit from Donkey Kong, feedings of the zoo's gorillas, and a place where visitors could play Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. The Campo Gorilla Reserve was officially renamed to "Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D at Campo Gorilla Reserve."

The actor playing Donkey Kong, Parker Mills, would later sue Nintendo on the ground that improper care during the event resulted in severe health problems[6].


Reviewer, Publication Score Comment
Audrey Drake, IGN 8.9/10 "Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a great port of an amazing game. The extra world is a worthwhile addition, and the new easy mode should allow even more people to enjoy the ride. While the 3DS's version obviously doesn't look quite as nice as the Wii's, and the lower framerate is annoying, it's just a hair short (an ape hair, perhaps) of being right up to par."
Christian Donlan, Eurogamer 8/10 "Local co-op returns as well, although as it requires two copies of the game, your chances of seeing it in the wild are probably up there with your chances of seeing a real gorilla wearing a tie and navigating a pulley-system puzzle. The game's precise nature ultimately encourages a solo approach anyway, if you ask me. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a game about falling off things, goring yourself on things, squashing yourself under things and occasionally being eaten by things. So it was in 2010, and so it is now. There are worse ways to spend a weekend."
Tom Mc Shea, GameSpot 7/10 "Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is an uneven update. The core elements that made the original so thrilling are still here, but visual problems turn the satisfying challenge into something that often feels unfair. Multi-card cooperative play doesn't help matters. Throwing anothing player into the mix makes it even harder to see what's going on. However, this is still a good game with tons of levels to explore and collectibles to uncover. Just don't expect to be awed by this aging gorilla."
Chris Carter, Destructoid 10/10 "If you missed out on Donkey Kong Country Returns the first time around, or you disliked the motion-heavy controls of the original, pick up this version. With solid tactile feedback, the 3DS edition of the game has cemented itself as one of my favorite platformers of all time without question."
Compiler Platform / Score
Metacritic 83
GameRankings 83.51%


Main article: List of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D staff


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ドンキーコングリターンズ 3D
Donkī Kongu Ritānzu Surīdī
Donkey Kong Returns 3D[7]
Korean 동키콩 리턴즈 3D
Dongkikong Riteonjeu 3D
Donkey Kong Returns 3D



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Nintendo. 能夠下載的軟體. Nintendo. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  4. ^ Nintendo UK (May 23, 2018). Nintendo Selects - more Nintendo 3DS fun!. YouTube. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  5. ^ East, T. (April 30, 2013). Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D interview - Retro are impressed with the remake. The Official Nintendo Magazine UK. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  6. ^ Rocha, Veronica (December 02 2014). Actor who wore Donkey Kong costume for L.A. Zoo event sues Nintendo. L.A. Times. Retrieved December 03 2014
  7. ^ File:DKCRJ.jpg

External links[edit]