Donkey Kong Wiki
Donkey Kong Country Returns (3D/HD)
North American boxart of the game Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii.
Developer(s) Retro Studios (Wii version)
Monster Games, Inc.[1] (3DS version)
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Main Development Staff {{{devteam}}}
Platform(s) Nintendo Wii,
Nintendo 3DS,
Nintendo Wii U,
Nvidia Shield TV,[2]
Nintendo Switch
Release Date(s) Nintendo Wii
USA November 21, 2010
Australia December 2, 2010
Europe December 3, 2010
Japan December 9, 2010

Nintendo 3DS
USA May 24, 2013
Europe May 24, 2013
Australia May 25, 2013
Japan June 13, 2013
Korea December 7, 2013

Nintendo Wii U (Nintendo eShop[3]) (Wii version)
Japan January 21, 2015
Europe January 22, 2015
Australia January 23, 2015
USA September 22, 2016

Nvidia Shield TV (Wii version)
China July 4, 2019

Nintendo Switch
USA January 16, 2025
Genre(s) Platformer
Ratings ESRB: ESRB E Everyone
Mode(s) Single player,
Multiplayer (2)
Media(s) Wii Optical Disc,
3DS Game Card,
Downloadable Media (Nintendo eShop and Nvidia Shield TV)
Input(s) Wii Remote (and Nunchuk)[4],
3DS Buttons (and Touch Screen),
Nvidia Shield TV Controller

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a platformer game developed by Retro Studios and released for the Nintendo Wii by Nintendo in 2010. It is the fourth game in the Donkey Kong Country series. It is the sequel to Donkey Kong Country 3 and it is also the first Donkey Kong Country-line game in over a decade. The game was announced at the E3 2010[5].

A new version of the game, called Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, was developed by Monster Games[1], and released for the Nintendo 3DS by Nintendo in 2013.

By using the backward compatibility[6] between controllers and media of the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U, Donkey Kong Country Returns was re-released for the latter via the Nintendo eShop[3] in 2015-2016.

Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D were followed up with a sequel titled Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze in 2014.

On July 4, 2019, an emulated version of Donkey Kong Country Returns, known as Donkey Kong Returns, was officially released on Nvidia Shield TV[2], exclusively for the Chinese region.[7]

In January 2025, a high-definition version developed by Forever Entertainment, titled Donkey Kong Country Returns HD, will be released for the Nintendo Switch.


Emerging from the volcano

The Tiki Tak Tribe and Tiki Tong Tower emerging from the volcano.

The story begins as the camera locks at a volcano. After a few seconds of observing it, the volcano erupts. Lava and molten rocks shoot out into the sky. The Tiki Tak Tribe awakes and they emerge from the molten rocks that are still airborne. The eruption continues until Tiki Tong Tower bursts out of the volcano and roars.

That's not gonna work, buddy

Krazy Kalimba trying to hypnotize Donkey Kong.

The members of the Tiki Tak Tribe then go down to Donkey Kong Island to hypnotize the animals there by playing music (namely elephants, giraffes, zebras, and squirrels). The animals start stealing every banana from Donkey Kong Island, only to come across Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong's hut. Diddy Kong jumps out the window and swings down to the ground. He immediately notices that his and Donkey Kong's banana hoard has been stolen once again, and he scowls before chasing after the animals that stole it. Donkey Kong finally steps out of the treehouse just in time to see the banana hoard being taken away by the native animals just before a tiki, known as Krazy Kalimba, comes along a few seconds later and pushes him back into his hut. The tiki uses its music, trying to hypnotize the ape, but he seems to be immune against the hypnosis. The tiki tries again as Donkey Kong squints his eyes at him and smiles before the cutscene ends.

Donkey Kong punches Krazy Kalimba out of his hut and walks outside (in the multiplayer mode, Diddy Kong can double kick the tiki out instead). The Kongs then begin their quest to take back their banana hoard and rid the tikis of Donkey Kong Island.

DKCR World Map

View of Donkey Kong Island from a distance via hacking tools used in the Wii version.

After exploring the Jungle and moving over some obstacles, Donkey and Diddy Kong come across an ancient coliseum arena at the edge of it where Mugly, a large monster, is busy eating some bananas. Kalimba reappears, hypnotizes and possesses the creature in order to fight against the heroes. However, the primates are victorious and are able to push away the Tiki Tak Tribe leader.

Later on in the Beach, the Kongs evade hazards, such as large waves, and many aquatic creatures, including a giant squid called Squiddicus. Eventually, the primates then take on the Maraca Gang, a group of tikis controlling the pirate members of the Scurvy Crew, in order to move past the location, which they succeed in doing.

Donkey and Diddy Kong then follow the Tiki Tak Tribe across the Ruins, where they explore ancient temples full of traps and go through a battle at the sea. At the end of the current world, they discover a big egg sitting next to a golden gong. However, Gong-Oh, other Tiki Tak Tribe leader, also meets them and uses its powers to throw down the primates inside an arena and put the egg inside a golden cauldron. The egg hatches, revealing the large bird Stu which gets possessed by Gong-Oh. The heroes are successful in besting the boss and repelling the tiki.

The Kongs then make their way to the Cave, where they traverse crystal mines by usually riding on Mine Carts while also avoiding bats and mole miners. It is followed by the heroes finding Mole Miner Max and his subordinates loading a steam train with bananas. Banjo Bottom then notices the primates and possesses the large mole boss. After a battle above Mine Carts pulled by the same train on movement, Donkey and Diddy stop Mole Miner Max and defeat the Tiki Tak Tribe leader.

Moving to the Forest, the Kongs traverse over large structures and totems made out of wood. The location also houses flying tikis, carnivorous plants and spiders, including a large swarm of the latter. At the edge of the Forest, the heroes reach a small body of water next to giant wooden wheels. Here, Mangoruby, a large plant-like caterpillar, is rudely awaken and it also becomes another victim of possession by the tiki Wacky Pipes. By avoiding Mangoruby's bites and electric attacks, the primates are able to take down the boss and the Tiki Tak Tribe leader.

At the next location, the Cliff, containing canyons, crumbling terrain and many ancient fossils, Donkey and Diddy face reanimated skeletons of dinosaurs and avoid to sink into tar pits. They are also attacked by cannonballs shot by airships. After a small detour in the way, the Kongs are blasted into Thugly's lair, where the monster is also eating bananas. Then some airships piloted by the Tiki Tak Tribe arrive, and Xylobone uses the opportunity to hypnotize and possess the boss. The heroes are able to defeat Thugly and stop the Tiki Tak Tribe leader.

In the Factory, Donkey and Diddy traverse industrial-themed locations containing smog, many mechanical contraptions and robots. Eventually, they also find three hidden rooms where there are large electric plugs, and the primates activate them in order to reveal a large rocket. In the launch pad, the Kongs ride a Rocket Barrel towards high atmosphere while avoiding colisions against airships, and they reach the final area of the Factory. Here, the heroes realize why the Tiki Tak Tribe are stealing bananas. They witness a bipedal robot, controlled by the chicken Colonel Pluck, mashing bananas and putting them into wooden statues to create new tikis instantly. While the robot ceases of operating briefly, Cordian appears and possesses the pilot. After a battle where the Kongs damage the robot and force a flying vehicle to crash down, Colonel Pluck and Cordian are both bested by the heroes.

Tiki Tak Tribe

Tiki Tak Tribe Leaders.

At the next world, the Volcano, Donkey and Diddy move across many dangerous hazards involving lava, sinking platforms and fiery enemies. Eventually, after a vertical travel by Rocket Barrel, the heroes are able to reach the top of the Tiki Tong Tower. Upon arriving inside the location, they come face-to-face with Tiki Tong, the ruler of the Tiki Tak Tribe, alongside the tiki leaders defeated previously. The large boss takes and eats some of the Donkey Kong's banana hoard, spins it around himself like a blender, and spits it on to the tribe leaders, much to the Kongs' disgust and confusion. The tribe leaders then merge together to turn into two giant hands for Tiki Tong to use. During the final boss battle, the primates destroy the hands by breaking the gems on the back of each hand, while dodging his slap and chop attacks. Tiki Tong then proceeds to try crushing the heroes with his head and spit fireballs at them. The heroes eventually defeat him by smashing his head, causing the large tiki to explode.

Donkey and Diddy Kong are then blasted to the moon due to Tiki Tong exploding. As all hope seems lost (for a brief moment), Donkey Kong then sees the moon below him, grins and uses his incredible strength to punch the moon towards Tiki Tong Tower (alternatively in the multiplayer mode, by Diddy Kong standing alone, he will headbutt the moon instead). It will smash the tower back into the volcano, causing it to disappear. The moon is comically throw back into orbit as bananas erupt from the volcano, bringing an end to the Tiki Tak Tribe's reign. All the animals on the island are also freed from their mind control, and Donkey and Diddy Kong later celebrate their victory over reclaiming their banana hoard.

At the aftermath, a golden temple appears. After the Kongs gather all Rare Orbs from the eight Key Temples, they unlock the doorway to the temple and have access to its secret: a mysterious Golden Banana.


Donkey e Diddy DKCR

Artwork of Diddy Kong mounted on Donkey Kong's back.

The game uses many of the familiar elements from the previous Donkey Kong Country games and even the Donkey Kong Land trilogy. As the main playable characters, Donkey and Diddy Kong both keep their moves from previous games, but their roll attacks lack the continuous momentum for hitting multiple enemies in succession. They can also both use the ground-pound ability and the blow ability to reveal secret items and open paths, as well as make some enemies on fire become vulnerable. In the Nintendo Wii version, these mentioned abilities can only be activated by motion controls moves[8] on the Wii Remote (and Nunchuk).

For the first time in the Donkey Kong Country series, both Kongs are seen to be working together simultaneously. Diddy Kong can climb on Donkey Kong's back, a throwback to the "team-up" ability since Donkey Kong Country 2 (ironically the official artwork of the Japanese boxart of Donkey Kong Country for Super Famicom showed Diddy Kong riding Donkey Kong's back). Diddy can use his rocket pack to give him a jump boost, however the player cannot switch between them like in previous Donkey Kong Country games. Both main characters can also perform the "roll-jump" move to collect items inside pits or jump across large gaps safely.

The two characters can cling to turf-covered walls and ceilings to get around. Also, there are two heart containers for Donkey Kong, and two more heart containers for Diddy Kong (both characters have three heart containers each in the New Mode of the 3DS game version). The heroes can also pick up Barrels and throw at enemies, however, it is no longer possible to put the barrels back on the ground safely after they are grabbed, like in the previous games.

In the multiplayer mode, two players can participate in a level at the same time, with the first player controlling Donkey Kong and the second one controlling Diddy Kong. If both characters are defeated, two extra lives will be always spent, instead of one, when they reappear at the beginning of the level or latest active checkpoint. If a player's Kong moves off screen while it is focused on the other one, after a countdown of three seconds, the character outside will be instantly teleported back next to the current one at the screen. It is possible for the second player's character (Diddy) mount the first player's character (Donkey) and let the first player to control most of the game. The second player controlling Diddy can assist by firing his Peanut Popguns. This way, both players' characters can share effects from items, such as Heart Boosts and Banana Juices. Any player also has the option of summoning their defeated character inside a dropping DK Barrel by spending one Extra Life Balloon at any moment. But the present player's Kong must touch the barrel before it falls below the screen. The dropping DK Barrel will be instantly draw towards the present character by pointing the Wii Remote at the direction of the barrel or by holding the "Y" or "X" button on the 3DS.

After cleared once, every level can also be played in Time Attack mode. In this mode, Donkey and Diddy Kong do not spend extra lives, there are no important items to collect, and Bonus Rooms are inaccessible. Donkey Kong always starts the level without Diddy Kong, but he can find his little friend inside DK Barrels during most of the levels. There are four time rating medals the player can get for each level: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and the elusive Shiny Gold. The times needed for the first three are shown after the the player clears the level, but the time required for the Shiny Gold medal is unknown and can vary as much as one second faster than Gold up to more than twenty seconds faster. It is impossible to play the Time Attack mode in multiplayer.

Collecting Puzzle Pieces and K-O-N-G Letters gives the player bonuses. The Puzzle Pieces unlock game development artwork and dioramas in the Extras menu of the game. After getting all the K-O-N-G letters in each regular level of a world, the player unlocks one secret level in that world called Key Temple. By completing a Key Temple, the player gets a Rare Orb. After all eight Rare Orbs are obtained, the Kongs will able to enter the Golden Temple. Once the Golden Temple level is completed, a mode called Mirror Mode will be unlocked. The Mirror Mode is a harder game mode by allowing to play only with Donkey Kong, having a single heart container, in mirrored versions of the levels and without equippable items. In the same mode, DK Barrels only work as throwable weapons, and hearts inside levels are missing or replaced by bananas. If all the levels in the games are cleared again in the Mirror Mode, the player will unlock more artwork in the gallery. It is impossible to play the Mirror Mode in multiplayer.

The percentage rate of completion of the games displayed in the save files is not affected by collecting Puzzle Pieces nor obtaining Time Attack medals. The rate rises by clearing every single level in the games, including levels locked by Map Keys, and the Key Temple levels, making to collect K-O-N-G Letters in regular levels indirectly required. In all game versions, being in multiplayer or not, by clearing every single level once in the regular difficulty, the percentage rate will reach one hundred percent. By clearing every single level again in the Mirror Mode in single player, the percentage rate will reach two hundred percent.


Kongs and Allies[]

  • Donkey Kong: returns as the main protagonist. He can let Diddy ride on his back and can even roll with Diddy on much like a bowling ball continuously (very similar to how Dixie Kong can roll over Kiddy Kong just after she throws him in Donkey Kong Country 3).
  • Diddy Kong: returns as a secondary protagonist. He retains his speed, flexibility, and agility as well as his rocket pack and his peanut popguns from the Donkey Kong 64. He is Donkey Kong’s nephew.
  • Cranky Kong: is the only other Kong returning in the game. He is a supporting character who runs his shop and often makes cheeky comments about the player's choice of items. He is Donkey Kong's grandfather.

Artwork of Tutorial Pig.

  • Tutorial Pig: is a very intelligent pig (much like how pigs are said to be intelligent). He is another supporting character, as he, along his family, are responsible for giving tutorial of game controls for the Kongs in the background during levels. The Tutorial Pig also uses multiple stalls as checkpoint markers inside levels, and he marks the starting and finishing lines during the Time Attack mode. After losing multiple extra lives in the same level, the Tutorial Pig can activate the Super Guide mode if the player prompts it.
  • Super Kongs: are counterparts of Donkey and Diddy Kong, with white fur and wearing blue clothes. They only appear in the Super Guide mode after the player loses eight extra lives, or five lives in the New Mode of the 3DS game version, in the same level if the player prompts the mode at any Tutorial Pig's checkpoint stalls. The Super Kongs proceed to complete the current level always from the beginning while the player watches and receives no items collected by the characters. It allows the player to skip levels, including boss levels and Key Temples. Pausing the game also allows the player to take control of the Super Kongs. This mode cannot be activated in the multiplayer.

Artwork of Rambi the Rhinoceros.

Animal Buddies[]

  • Rambi the Rhinoceros: makes his return as the one of the only two animal buddies of the game. He is found in a large wooden crate that requires pounding or roll attacks to break open. Rambi is very destructive, as he can smash down blocks with his symbol on them and can charge through hordes of enemies and even break wooden spikes. His weakness is fire, which causes him to dismount Donkey Kong and/or Diddy Kong and walk around, waiting to ride again. When it happens, the heroes will also lose a heart by damage.
Pic dk 2

Artwork of Squawks the Parrot.

  • Squawks the Parrot: makes an appearance in the Cranky Kong's Shop, where the player can purchase him for fifteen Banana Coins or five coins in the New Mode of the 3DS game version. After he is equipped, Squawks sits on a branch at the lower left corner of the screen during a level. If the Kongs get close to a Puzzle Piece or entrance to a Bonus Room, the parrot will get agitated. The closer the heroes get to a Puzzle Piece or Bonus Room, the more he will get agitated and start to squawk. Squawks also serves as world selection marker in the overworld map.


Hypnotized/Domestic Enemies[]


Artwork of Awk.

It is assumed that at least most of the non-tiki enemy types have been hypnotized by the Tiki Tak Tribe into serving them. These enemies are listed below, in alphabetical order.

Tiki Enemies[]


Artwork of Tiki Goon.

All the regular tiki enemies in the Tik Tak Tribe are listed here, in alphabetical order.

  • Char-Chars
  • Flaming Tiki Buzzes- 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.
  • Flaming Tiki Zings
  • Screaming Pillars- 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.
  • Tiki Boings
  • Tiki Bombers
  • Tiki Boulder
  • Tiki Buzzes
  • Tiki Dooms
  • Tiki Goons- 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.
  • Tiki Pops- 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.
  • Tiki Seekers
  • Tiki Tanks- 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.
  • Tiki Torches
  • Tiki Torks
  • Tiki Zings 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.
  • Ultra Char-Chars


In a similar way to non-tiki enemies, most of the bosses are creatures hypnotized and controlled by the Tik Tak Tribe leaders. After Donkey and Diddy Kong have defeated a boss, the creature will pass out and the Tik Tak Tribe leader controlling the boss will leave its body, and the tiki will stay dizzy for a few seconds. The player has the opportunity to jump towards the Tiki Tak Tribe leader, wait for a prompt to appear at the left bottom of the screen, and hit the tiki multiple times (about twenty-two times) by using the pounding move (by shaking the Wii Remote (and Nunchuk) vertically in the Wii version, pressing the "X" and "Y" buttons in the 3DS version or pressing the "X" button in the Nvidia Shield TV version). However, it is entirely optional. The player can allow the Tiki Tak Tribe leader to leave, because the number of hit points does not amount for anything beyond their self-achievement.


  • Background Elements: Background Elements can often contain collectable items in the game, such as Puzzle Pieces, Bananas, Extra Life Balloons and Banana Coins, or hidden means of transportation, such as barrel cannons. The player must ground-pound or blow nearby the elements to reveal their secret contents.
  • Bananas: Bananas serve the same purpose they have had in previous games, being items commonly found. One hundred bananas must be collected for earning one extra life. There are also banana bunches, with regular ones that have five bananas, as well as the big variant that has twenty. There are also mysterious flying bananas that trail up to regular floating bananas.
  • Banana Coins: Banana Coins reappear from Donkey Kong Country 2, and are used to purchase extra lives and other items that Cranky Kong sells in his shops. During levels, it is possible to receive Banana Coins by jumping and bouncing off three or more consecutive enemies. The player can collect a maximum total of 999 Banana Coins in the game.
  • Extra Life Balloons: Extra Life Balloons (or Red Balloons) are the game's main life counters. Oddly, extra life balloons do not have a face on them unlike previous Donkey Kong Country games. There are only red colored balloons that can be collected in levels. If both primates are defeated during a level, Donkey Kong will be dropped by a red balloon at the start or checkpoint. If the player loses all their extra lives, the game will send them to the Game Over screen, where they can pick the option to continue the game from the last saved point or quit the game back to the main title screen. During levels, it is possible to receive extra life balloons by jumping and bouncing off eight or more consecutive enemies. At the Cranky Kong's Shop, the player can also buy one, three or even seven extra life baloons per time. The player can collect a maximum total of 100 extra lives in the game.
  • Green Balloons: Green Balloons save the heroes after they fall into a pit once by making them float up temporarily. The player can steer the balloon to reach safe ground. Green Ballons are exclusive items to purchase for three Banana Coins in the New Mode from 3DS game version and they cannot be used in levels with vehicle sections, such as mine carts and Rocket Barrels.
  • Hearts: Hearts measure Donkey's and Diddy's health. Each Kong has two heart containers or three in the New Mode of the 3DS version. Once all hearts are lost, an extra life is lost. However, if the player uses a Heart Boost, the Kongs gain a temporary extra heart container during a level. Leaving or completing a level will always restore all Kongs' regular heart containers.
  • Heart Boosts: Heart Boosts give an extra heart container to the Kongs only for a single level. It is only one heart container per item, and if the player takes damage and loses a heart, the extra heart container still can be filled during the current level.
  • K-O-N-G Letters: K-O-N-G Letters make a more important reappearance, being unseen since the game DK: Jungle Climber. However, unlike in previous games, they do not give the player an extra life. They unlock additional Key Temple levels in most worlds. Collecting all K-O-N-G letters from a level grants a Red Star Emblem to the player.
  • Map Keys: Map Keys are purchased at the Cranky Kong's Shop and used to unlock locked levels in worlds. They are usually 20 Banana Coins each.
  • Banana Juice: Banana Juice makes the Kongs golden and provides some invincibility in the form of extra hits during a single level. This invincibility being ten extra hits in Donkey Kong Country Returns and the Original Mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, or five hits in the New Mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. The effects are instantly lost if both main characters fall into a pit in both game versions, except during the New Mode of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.
  • Crash Guard: Crash Guard lets a mine cart or Rocket Barrel take two extra hits, instead of it exploding after a single hit. It is an exclusive item to purchase at the Cranky Kong's Shop for ten Banana Coins in the New Mode from 3DS version, and it cannot be used in levels without vehicles, such as Rocket Barrels and mine carts.

Artwork of Puzzle Piece.

  • Puzzle Pieces: Puzzle Pieces are a new type of collectable item that unlocks game development artwork and dioramas in the Extras menu. Sometimes, they are hidden inside objects in the background of levels and they are always the reward for collecting all items within thirty seconds inside Bonus Rooms. These items can be well-hidden inside levels, in secret pathways and in the paths of Barrel Cannons. If the player collects a Puzzle Piece, but after, they lose an extra life, the game still will consider it as collected, even without reaching a checkpoint. However, the player must clear the current level and cannot leave it early, or the piece will not be considered as collected either. Puzzle Pieces are entirely optional items to collect. They are not necessary to rise up the percentage rate of completion in the games.
  • Animal Crates: Animal Crates house the animal buddy Rambi the Rhinoceros much like the previous Donkey Kong Country games. However, the crate is much larger and requires pounding or roll attacks to be open.
  • Mine Carts: Mine Carts are key vehicles needed to get through track-based levels. Mine carts cannot be stopped and are usually found in dangerous locations. Unlike previous games, Mine carts are more fragile - they explode with one single hit, which is instant defeat for both main characters.
  • Rare Orbs: Rare Orbs can open the doorway to the Golden Temple once all eight of them are found at the end of each Key Temple level.
  • DK Platforms: DK Platforms are large circular platforms displaying a DK insignia on them and found between sections inside most of the levels. These platforms are used to open paths, connect foreground and background areas or reveal new structures. The player must use the ground-pound move to activate the platforms and able to progress. There are two types of DK Platforms in the games. The first type resembles a large button. When the Kongs are positionated over it, the player must keep ground-pounding it until the main structure is completely pushed down. The second type is composed by a large suspended plate, resembling a gong. Each time that the primates pound on it, the plate will make a loud echoing sound, throwing the heroes up and affecting the enviroment. This plate must be pounded by the Kongs for a total of three times to be activated, and after they are finished, the center of the plate will become red.



Artwork of DK Barrel.

  • DK Barrels: retain their original purpose, summoning a lost Kong, but its usage is different. In the multiplayer mode, once a Kong is out and the player in control confirms to spend an extra life, a DK Barrel will float down from above and the other player's Kong must jump on it to free the lost character. Pointing the Wii Remote at the direction of the dropping barrel or holding the "Y" or "X" button on the 3DS will draw the barrel towards the present player's Kong, even if the barrel is already below the character. DK Barrels can be used as weapons when they are thrown, and they also restore the both Kongs' lost hearts, even in multiplayer. In the New Mode of the 3DS version, portable DK Barrels can be purchased at the Cranky Kong's Shop for five Banana Coins. After losing a character, they can be thrown by touching the 3DS second screen. In the Mirror Mode, DK Barrels do not restore hearts nor summon an assist character. In this mode, they can only be used as throwable weapons.
  • Wooden Barrels: are basic weapons, throwable against most enemies. They are few and far between compared to previous games, however. They are necessary to open secret entrances for Bonus Rooms and break hanging bags holding items. After they are thrown, wooden barrels will roll across the ground. Defeating multiple enemies in succession will earn Banana Coins and Extra Life Balloons. Unlike the previous Donkey Kong Country games, it is no longer possible to put barrels back on the ground after they are pick up by the Kongs.
  • Barrel Cannons: make their prominent reimagination being used exactly as before, as transportation methods. They demand the player's input to shoot the Kongs. In most of the occasions, the player must use good timing to avoid shoot the heroes at obstacles and enemies, which would make the primates to fall down into pits below, losing an extra life. Barrel cannons displaying skull signs on them explode as soon as the primates are shot, making these barrels for one time use, and the heroes usually unable to return to the section of the levels before the same barrel type. If the player also misses the intended target when shooting, they will not have a second chance to use the barrel cannon again, and the Kongs will probably drop inside some abyss.
    • Autofire Barrels: automatically launch the Kongs at certain direction like regular barrel cannons, but they are capable of launch the heroes in the background and foreground environments. Some autofire barrels will also allow the primates to reach Bonus Rooms.
  • Slot Machine Barrels: are located at the end of regular levels and must be hit to complete the said levels. Similar to Donkey Kong Country 2s End of Stage Target, the barrels will circle through multiple prizes to the player get. The prizes are: banana bunch, Extra Life Balloon, Banana Coin or "DK". In case of picking "DK", the player will get a random prize and can also pound the barrel quickly to multiply their prize until fifteen times.
  • Rocket Barrels: Rocket Barrels are also vehicles used by the heroes to traverse specific levels while avoiding enemies and obstacles. Usually, by hitting any obstacle, the Rocket Barrel will instantly explode and the player will lose an extra life. In horizontal levels, the player can press the "Jump" button to make the rocket to ascend or release the button to make it to descend. In vertical levels, the player can also control the rocket's movement by pressing the "Left" and "Right" buttons, and holding the "Jump" button will make the Rocket Barrel to quickly ascend.

Worlds and Levels[]

DKCR WorldMap

Freelook view of the overworld map of Donkey Kong Island, without depicting the Tiki Tong Tower, as seen in the Wii version.

In Donkey Kong Country Returns, there are eight worlds in total, and one extra world with one level, the Golden Temple, which is unlocked after completing the main game once and collecting all eight Rare Orbs from the Key Temple levels. Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D features the Cloud world, an extra world including eight exclusive levels and the Golden Temple level. This final world is also unlocked by completing the main game once and collecting all eight Rare Orbs. In the world maps of both games, locations are marked by buttons. Red buttons with glowing effects indicate uncleared levels. Blue buttons indicate cleared levels. Hexagonal-shaped buttons indicate the initial level in a world. Star-shaped buttons indicate the boss level in a world. Red flags with the "DK" insignia next to the boss level indicate cleared worlds, except in the Cloud world.


Map of the Jungle in the Wii version.



Map of the Beach in the Wii version.



Map of the Ruins in the Wii version.



Map of the Cave in the Wii version.



Map of the Forest in the Wii version.



Map of the Cliff in the Wii version.



Map of the Factory in the Wii version.



Map of the Volcano in the Wii version.



Map of the Cloud in the 3DS version.

Cloud (3DS version only)[]

Differences between the Nintendo Wii, 3DS and Nvidia versions[]

Nintendo 3DS[]

  • All game inputs are made through 3DS buttons (and touch screen). There is no support to motion controls[8].
    • To characters' movement, the player has the option of using the 3DS circle pad or control pad.
    • Similar to Wii Remote and Nunchuk control scheme (but different to horizontal Wii Remote), there is no dedicated run button. Both Donkey and Diddy Kong always move themselves at running speed.
  • This version possesses two difficulty modes: Original Mode and New Mode. After starting a new game and picking a difficulty mode, the player cannot change it.
    • The Original Mode is not different from the Wii version.
    • The New Mode adds one permanent extra heart container (to the two original ones from the Original Mode, resulting in three in total) for each character (Donkey and Diddy Kong).
      • In single player or multiplayer, each player can equip until three items per level. It also makes prices cheaper and adds new exclusive items to purchase at the Cranky Kong's Shop: Green Balloons, Crash Guards and portable DK Barrels (see Items and Barrels sections above) (see Trailers in the Videos section below).
      • The Super Guide mode can be activated after the player loses five extra lives (rather than eight) in the same level. And all game menus are highlighted in green color instead of yellow.
  • It is no longer possible to add a second player in the game maps. After picking a game file, the player using Donkey Kong must use their file and be the host. The second player must use Diddy Kong and the same player is not capable of interacting with menus and maps.
  • After each thirty minutes of gameplay and clearing any level, the player will receive a message at the result screen advising to take a break. It is due to health concerns regarding the prolonged use of stereoscopic 3D effects[9]. In fact, the operations manual of the Nintendo 3DS states that the player must to take breaks of ten or fifteen minutes for each hour of gameplay sessions even if they do not feel tired.[10]
  • The Nintendo 3DS lower screen has some dedicated functions:
    • At the game files screen, the menu Options appears at the lower screen and they can also be accessed by using touch controls, including the multiple galleries of the Extras menu.
    • In the world maps of the game, the lower screen displays the player's current number of extra life balloons and Banana Coins, and some game controls to interact with the maps.
    • Inside levels, the lower screen displays numbers of player's items: totals of bananas, extra life balloons and Banana Coins, as well as Puzzles Pieces and K-O-N-G Letters collected in the current level.
    • And by the player pausing the game, inside or outside levels, the lower screen will display menu options which the player can also use touch controls to interact with them.
  • At the Cranky Kong's Shop, in the Original Mode of the 3DS version, the Banana Juice item costs only ten Banana Coins, instead of twenty coins like in the Wii version. During the New Mode, the Banana Juice allows the characters to take only five extra hits of damage, instead of ten hits, but its effects will now last even if the Kongs fall into pits. In the same mode, unused Banana Juices equipped during a level are not wasted, and they return to the Inventory menu after the primates leaving the said level. When the item is used inside a level, the Kongs will start to blink between their golden and regular forms after taking three hits of damage in the New Mode, instead of five hits in the Wii version or the Original Mode of the 3DS version.
  • In the Cliff boss level Thugly's Highrise, during the boss fight third phase (Thugly with red-colored skin), it is no longer possible to skip Thugly's "big fireball" attack by taking it as damage. In Time Attack mode, it makes get Gold and Shiny Gold medals even harder.
  • After defeating Tiki Tong, it is possible to rewatch the game credits in the Options menu.
  • There is the Cloud world, an extra world with eight exclusive levels, all based in the previous worlds (see Cloud world in the Worlds and Levels section above) (see 3DS Exclusive Levels in the Videos section below).
    • The Cloud world exclusive levels now precede the Golden Temple level.
  • After going through the door of the Golden Temple and accessing the Cloud world once, the exterior area of the Golden Temple can no longer be revisited.
  • In the Extras menu, there is a Movie Gallery section containing all movie cutscenes (in lower definition compared to the Wii version): game opening, prebattle with Tiki Tong, ending, Golden Temple rising and access to the temple, including all different versions featuring Donkey Kong and/or Diddy Kong.
    • These movie cutscenes are unlocked by collecting Puzzle Pieces in the exclusive levels of the 3DS version.
  • In the Mirror Mode, if the player collected all K-O-N-G Letters again in any level, they will receive a Blue Star Emblem replacing the red one.
  • Music is rearranged, and game graphics and sound effects are scaled down due to the Nintendo 3DS' hardware limitations, when compared to the Nintendo Wii. This game version also runs at thirty frames per second[11], instead of sixty frames per second like in the Wii version.
  • This version can display three-dimensional effects during gameplay which the player can adjust the depth or turn off on the Nintendo 3DS itself.
  • There is a new animation for the puzzle emblem at the result screens of levels. After the player collecting all Puzzle Pieces inside a level once and clearing it, all pieces will assemble at the result screen forming a fruit emblem. The fruit emblem will soon jump, spin twice, return to its original place and turn into a green puzzle emblem. In the Wii version, after all puzzle pieces are assembled at the result screens, the fruit emblems just instantly turn into the green puzzle emblems, instead.
  • Some animations were cut.
    • The loading screen to start or continue a game file from the main menu screen mostly features static clouds.
    • At the loading screen when entering or getting out levels, the background does not have a scrolling effect. There are also five circles that light up, signifying that the next location is loading.
    • Donkey and Diddy Kong no longer stare at interest points and incoming hazards above and below the screen or in the background.
    • The Kongs no longer have idle animations: Diddy, by himself, stretching and yawning or Donkey playing his Nintendo DS while Diddy watches when mounted on his back.
    • Rambi the Rhinoceros no longer tries to catch his breath after being dismounted by the primates.
    • There is no shaking effects on the wooden planks of suspended bridges when the heroes are rolling over or pounding on them, but the weight effects when the Kongs are standing on them remain. The same shaking effects are also missing during the second phase of the battle against Thugly, when the boss moves over similar planks in his arena. However, the shaking effects mentioned are still present on platforms made of wooden planks attached to the background in some levels.

Nvidia Shield TV[2][]

  • This version is known in China as Donkey Kong Returns, the same name used in Japan.
  • The emulated version is very similar to the original Wii version, but the game resolution is upscaled to 1080 pixels (see Nvidia Shield TV Version Gameplay in the Videos section below).
  • The game inputs are made through Nvidia Shield TV controller. There is no motion controls.
  • This version is available only in the Chinese language.
  • Donkey Kong's idle animation displays him playing an iQue DS Lite, instead of a Nintendo DS.[12]



Animal Buddies[]








3DS Exclusive Levels[]

Nvidia Shield TV Version Gameplay[]

Original Soundtrack[]


Donkey kong country returns ost

Donkey kong country returns music


This is a very well made game, and any of the few known glitches are very rare. Here is a list of glitches in the Wii version.

  • In Cranky Kong's Shop, there is a rare glitch where Cranky will be invisible.[citation needed]
  • There is also a glitch with taking damage where the main characters may not be hurt by enemies/obstacles.[citation needed]
  • In the Ruins level Shifty Smashers, there is a part where the heroes must quickly roll underneath an extended block that rises up and down. This is not particularly difficult, but if the player is in Time Attack mode, it may occur, on extremely rare occasions, a glitch when the characters jump up on it, because it may send them underneath it when the player tries and jumps onto the next platform, and it will then crush them before they can escape.[citation needed]
  • Sometimes, at the end of the Cave level Crowded Cavern, if the player crouches very close to the frazzled Mega Squeekly and then rolls, they will be able to go through him, and as far as rock ground extends on extremely rare occasions. The player will soon come to a large crystalline growth (the one that Mega Squeekly bonks his head on). If the player do a flying roll over it (the points will not hurt the Kongs), the heroes will land on the wooden deck. There will probably be large gaps in it from when the primates were dodging Mega Squeekly, because when the player flew too low, the bat smashed through it a little. If it is not cut off completely, the heroes will come to a halt at the large stalagmite with a wooden crane behind it. There is no way to pass beyond it, so the player will have to go back, as there is nothing more to see. The primates cannot go through Mega Squeekly again afterwards.[citation needed]


  • This game pushes many differences from the other Donkey Kong series games in many ways:
    • This is the first Donkey Kong Country series game to not feature King K. Rool as final boss. There are no Kremlings whatsoever in the game.
    • Each main character has health as heart containers, feature first seen in the game DK: King of Swing for Game Boy Advance. The portrait artworks of the playable Kongs seen in the icons and character bars of the game are also similar to the style used in DK: King of Swing. And the bronze, silver and gold DK Medals, found in some levels of DK: King of Swing, are similar in appearance to the medals earned during the Time Attack mode in Donkey Kong Country Returns.
    • The characters' design is similar to the one used in the game DK: Jungle Climber for Nintendo DS. The feature of using Diddy Kong as an assist character to Donkey Kong in the single player mode was also first seen in DK: Jungle Climber. And finally, the feature of unlocking extra levels by collecting items in regular levels was also present in DK: Jungle Climber.
    • Many music themes present in Donkey Kong Country Returns are rearranged themes from the original Donkey Kong Country game.
    • Enguarde the Swordfish is not featured in this game unlike its predecessors, probably because of the lack of underwater levels.
    • Funky Kong is not present in the game though he gets a brief mention.
    • The overworld map can be accessed without visiting a special area.
    • The game autosaves after leaving a level or returning to the main title screen.
    • The Extra Life Balloons no longer represent the face of the main protagonist.
    • In the single player mode, if the two Kongs are present when falling into a pit, only Donkey Kong will return to the beginning of the level or latest checkpoint. It is unlike the previous games, where two main characters would still reappear together after falling into pits.
    • Tutorial Pig's stalls replace Star Barrels as checkpoint markers, and usually, there are multiple checkpoints inside levels, instead of only one.
    • The game no longer exits a level automatically after the player is defeated, losing an extra life (or two in multiplayer), and instead, the main character floats down to the beginning or latest active checkpoint using the extra life balloon. But if the player leaves the level, all progress made until any checkpoint is lost, and the player will start the level from the beginning again after returning to it.
  • The game Donkey Kong Country Returns was developed by Retro Studios, the developers of the Metroid Prime series. This is their first non-Metroid series game.
  • This is the first Donkey Kong Country series game to not feature neither underwater nor ice-based levels. Developers were considering the former enough to where underwater levels were already in development or were already developed, but were excluded due to the slow pace of the levels compared to the rest of the game.
  • If the Wii version game was pre-ordered from GameStop[13], a banana-like case for Wii Remotes would ship with the game.[14]
  • During levels, if Donkey Kong is left still for a while, he will start to play a Nintendo DS in the Wii version (or an iQue DS Lite in the Nvidia version[12]). And Diddy Kong, by himself, will start stretching and yawning.
    • Sometimes, in Donkey Kong's Nintendo DS, it is possible to hear sound effects from the classic Donkey Kong game.
  • In the multiplayer mode, if the second player, controlling Diddy Kong, defeats Tiki Tong alone, instead of Donkey Kong punching the moon, a similar cutscene occurs[15][16], with Diddy headbutting the moon in similar way to his Chimpy Charge move from the game Donkey Kong 64.
  • The system of spending one extra life to summon a dropping DK Barrel and recovering a defeated character, during the multiplayer mode, is like similar feature in the game New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
  • In the game WarioWare: Get It Together! for Nintendo Switch, one of the Nintendo Classics microgames is called "Donkey Kong Country Returns"[17]. During the minigame set in the level Jungle Hijinxs, the player must defeat a Tiki Goon walking back and forward over a large red flower located between the two statues resembling the boss Mugly. If the player is successful in defeat the tiki, Donkey Kong will appear and celebrate by beating his chest.

External Links[]