Roll Attack

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Artwork of Donkey Kong from Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong performing a Roll Attack
“Here's a tip from my days as a beloved hero: Try rolling off a ledge and jumping in midair. That'll get your blood movin'!”
Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Country Returns manual, pg. 14

The Roll Attack,[1] previously known as the Barrel Roll,[2] is Donkey Kong's signature move in the Donkey Kong Country series and Donkey Kong Land series. It involves him curling up and performing a roll, gaining momentum, and can be used to attack enemies.


Donkey Kong franchise[edit]

The Barrel Roll was introduced in Donkey Kong Country, where Donkey Kong can perform the move when Y Button is pressed. Donkey Kong can use this move on land to attack most enemies, except for Krushas and Zingers. By using the Barrel Roll on a row of enemies, this can prolong the move if done properly and therefore scatter the entire row. Donkey Kong can also use a Barrel Roll to gain some momentum while jumping, usually to cross over gaps. Donkey Kong can also perform the move in Donkey Kong Land if the player presses B Button.

As Donkey Kong is captured in subsequent games, the move is instead used by Kiddy Kong in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, where it is known as a roll.[3] When performing a roll near an edge with water, Kiddy can hop across water by rolling off an edge and bouncing on it; it is sometimes required to reach a Bonus Area, such as in Tidal Trouble and Riverside Race. If Dixie carries Kiddy via teaming up, she can throw Kiddy, who automatically performs a roll. When thrown onto a wall, Kiddy bounces off and rolls back to Dixie. Dixie can jump onto Kiddy while he is rolling, like a Steel Keg. By doing so, Dixie can perpetuate the roll by running onto Kiddy. This way, they can eliminate various enemies with ease throughout their path. In Donkey Kong Land III, since only one Kong appears onscreen at a time, Kiddy can perform rolls only by himself.

Donkey Kong performing a Barrel Roll in Donkey Kong 64.
Donkey Kong performing a Roll Attack in Donkey Kong 64

In Donkey Kong 64, the Roll Attack is one of Donkey Kong's basic moves. To use the move, the player must press Z Button and B Button while he is moving.

The Roll Attack is Donkey Kong's signature move yet again in Donkey Kong Country Returns, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (and its Nintendo Switch port). It can be utilized by shaking Wii Remote or Nunchuk or by pressing X Button/Y Button or L Button/R Button/ZL Button/ZR Button (depending on the game and/or control setup) while moving on the ground. Unlike in previous games, the Roll Attack is faster, but it does not gain or retain momentum upon defeating an enemy, making it so that Donkey Kong can beat only two enemies in a row without any help. In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Cranky is the only partner who can utilize the move (Diddy and Dixie have alternatives that provide the same effect), and in its Nintendo Switch port, Funky is able to perform this move indefinitely. The attack technique involving rolling on the stronger character, which had been used in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, returns as well, and it was given a name: the Kong Roll. A partner, be it Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky, rolls on Donkey Kong, should the player continuously swing the remote or repeatedly press the button on the respective controller. The water skip ability makes a comeback, but it is exclusive to Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games[edit]

In Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Donkey Kong does a rolling move similar to the Roll Attack from the Donkey Kong Country series whenever he uses his Special Dash in Athletics events.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Donkey Kong uses the Roll Attack as his dash attack.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Italian Attacco "a barile rotolante" (Donkey Kong Country)[4]
Ruota (Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!)[10]
Fare capriole (Donkey Kong Land III)[11]
Rotolamento (Donkey Kong Country 3)[12]
Attacco rotante (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze)[13]
"Rolling barrel" attack
Doing somersaults
Rolling attack


  1. ^ Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze quick guide, which comes packed with the game
  2. ^ Donkey Kong Country Returns instruction booklet, page 13
  3. ^ Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! instruction booklet, page 14
  4. ^ Donkey Kong Country Italian manual, pag. 13
  5. ^ Donkey Kong Land Italian manual, pag. 6
  6. ^ Donkey Kong Country European manual, pag. 108
  7. ^ Donkey Kong Country European manual, pag. 104
  8. ^ Donkey Kong Country Returns Italian manual, pag. 18
  9. ^ Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D Italian e-manual, pag. 5
  10. ^ Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Spanish-Italian manual, pag. 42
  11. ^ Donkey Kong Land III Spanish-Italian manual, pag. 40
  12. ^ Donkey Kong Country 3 European manual, pag. 110
  13. ^ Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Italian e-manual, pag. 12