Donkey Kong Country Returns
Developer(s): Retro Studios (Wii)
Monster Games (3DS)
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Platform(s): Wii, Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: Wii
Flag of USA November 21, 2010
Flag of Australia December 2, 2010
Flag of Europe December 3, 2010
Flag of Japan December 9, 2010

Nintendo 3DS
Flag of USA May 24, 2013
Flag of Australia May 25, 2013
Flag of Europe May 24, 2013
Flag of Japan June 13, 2013
Genre Platformer
Ratings ESRB: ESRB E Everyone
Mode(s) 1-2 players
Media Optical Disc
Input Wii Remote

Donkey Kong Country Returns 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 Country-line game in over a decade. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a 2D platformer developed by Retro Studios for the Wii, and was announced at E3 2010. It uses many of the familiar elements from the original DKC games and even the DK Land trilogy. Donkey and Diddy Kong are once again the main playable characters. There is a remake of Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo 3DS, called Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. It would be followed up with a sequel titled Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze 4 years later.


Emerging from the volcano

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

The story begins as the camera looks 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

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 athletically swings down to the ground via the planks of wood that hold the hut up. He immediately notices that he and DK's banana hoard has been stolen once again. Diddy runs away after the animals that stole the hoard, not to be seen in this cutscene again. Donkey Kong finally steps out of the house just in time to see he and Diddy's banana hoard being taken away by animals. A Tiki comes along a few seconds later and pushes him back into his hut. The Tiki plays it's music, but Donkey Kong and the rest of the Kong family are too intelligent and strong willed to be hypnotized by their music. The Tiki tries again as Donkey Kong squints his eyes at him and then smiles.

After the cutscene, the player gets control. Donkey Kong punches the Tiki out of his hut and walks outside (in two player, Diddy Kong double kicks the Tiki out of his hut). 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.

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong journey through eight different worlds to regain their stolen banana hoard: the Jungle, the Beach, the Ruins, the Cave, the Forest, the Cliff, the Factory and (finally) the Volcano. As they go through the eight worlds, they battle several members of the Tiki Tak Tribe and the possessed wildlife, including animals, plants, skeletons, and robots. The Kongs occasionally visit Cranky Kong in his several shops scattered around the island. He comments about the items he has in stock and sells them to the Kongs, in exchange for Banana Coins.

Tiki Tak Tribe

Tiki Tak Tribe Leaders

At the end of each world, they must defeat a Tiki Tak Tribe leader. Each leader possesses a creature to create the boss. The leaders are Kalimba, the Maraca Gang, Gong-Oh, Banjo Bottom, Wacky Pipes, Xylobone, Cordian and Tiki Tong - the Tiki Tak Tribe's leader. The first seven bosses are not fought directly as they possess the bodies of animals to do their dirty work: Mugly (possessed by Kalimba), the Scurvy Crew (possessed by the Maraca Gang), Stu (possessed by Gong-Oh), Mole Miner Max (possessed by Banjo Bottom), Mangoruby (possessed by Wacky Pipes), Thugly (possessed by Xylobone), and Colonel Pluck (possessed by Cordian).

Boss battles usually begin with a boss animal eating bananas. One of the tribe leaders then possesses it to fight the Kongs. After the Kongs beat the boss, the boss animal lays down in defeat as the Tiki Tak Tribe leader possessing it emerges from the body, dazed. One of the Kongs then runs up to the tribe leader and KOs it with a total of one or more punches, knocking it into the distance.

During World 7, the Kongs realize why the Tiki Tak Tribe are stealing bananas. They observe machines that mash bananas and put them into wooden barrels to form new Tikis, possibly to take over more than just Donkey Kong Island. After they pass world 7 and shut down the factory, they proceed to the volcano to finish end the Tiki Tak Tribe's rein once and for all.

At the end of the final world, they come face-to-face with the 'big banana' himself, Tiki Tong. Upon arriving inside Tiki Tong Tower, Tiki Tong takes and eats Donkey Kong's banana hoard and vomits on tribe leaders, much to the Kongs' horror, disgust and confusion. The tribe leaders then turn into giant hands for Tiki Tong to use. The Kongs break the hands by jumping on the back of each hand twice, while dodging his slap and chop attacks. Tiki Tong then proceeds to crush the Kongs with his head and breathe fireballs at them. They eventually defeat him by smashing his head three times.

Diddy and Donkey are then blasted to the moon due to Tiki Tong exploding. As all hope seemed lost, Donkey Kong uses his incredible strength to punch the moon towards Tiki Tong Tower, smashing it back into the volcano, causing it to collapse. The moon is blasted back into orbit as bananas erupt from the volcano, bringing an end to the Tiki Tak Tribe's rein. All the animals on the island are also freed from their curse. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong later celebrate their victory and reclaim their banana hoard.

During the aftermath, a gold temple mysteriously appears. After the Kongs gather all of the Rare Orbs from the eight temples, they unlock the gateway to the temple and have access to its secrets.


This game copies the basics of the SNES series.


Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong both keep their moves from previous games. They can both use the ground pound ability and the blow ability to reveal secret items. For the first time in the DKC 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 an early official DKC artwork showed Diddy Kong riding Donkey Kong's back and has new skills like rolling up like a ball and ramming at enemies). Diddy can use his rocket pack to give him a jump boost, however you cannot switch between them like in previous Donkey Kong Country games.

The two can cling to grassy walls and ceilings to get around. Tutorial Pigs replace Star Barrels as checkpoints. Also, there is two hearts for DK, and two more separate hearts for Diddy in two-player, and one with both in one-player. Lastly, collecting Puzzle Pieces and KONG Letters give the Kongs bonuses. The puzzle pieces unlock art and dioramas. After getting all of the KONG letters in a world, the Kongs unlock one more level in that world called a Key Temple. Complete a key temple, and the Kongs get a rare orb. After all eight rare orbs are obtained, the Kongs will unlock the golden temple. Once the temple is completed, a mode called Mirror Mode will be unlocked. If all the levels in mirror mode are completed, the Kongs will unlock more images in the gallery.

Every level can also be played in time attack mode. In this mode, Donkey and Diddy have unlimited lives. Donkey Kong always starts the level without Diddy Kong, but DK can pick his friend up during most of the levels. There are four time ratings the Kongs can get for each level; bronze, silver, gold, and the elusive shiny gold. The times needed for the first three are shown after The Kongs complete the level, but the time needed for shiny gold is unknown and can vary as much as one second faster than gold up to more than 20 seconds faster.



  • Animal Crates house the Animal Buddy Rambi the Rhinoceros much like the previous DKC games. However, the crate is much larger and requires ground pounding to open.
  • Bananas serve their regular purpose; commonly found, 100 must be collected for an extra life.
  • Banana Bunches are worth five bananas. The bigger bunches are very rare and worth twenty bananas.
  • Banana Coins reappear from DKC 2, and are used to purchase health and other items that Cranky Kong sells.
  • Hearts measure Donkey and Diddy's health. Each Kong has two hearts; once both hearts are lost, a life is lost. However, if the player uses a heart boost, each Kong has three hearts.
  • KONG Letters make their major reappearance, being unseen since DK Jungle Climber. However, unlike in previous games, they do not give you an extra life; they unlock additional levels.
  • Extra Life Balloons are the game's main life counters. Oddly they do not have a face on them unlike previous games.  There are only red extra life balloons.
  • Mine Carts are key vehicles needed to get through mine-based levels. Mine carts can not be stopped and are usually found in dangerous locations.  Unlike previous games, Mine carts are more fragile- they explode with one hit, which is instant death for the Kongs.
  • Treasure Chests often contain useful or important items, like Extra Life Balloons, Banana Coins, or Puzzle Pieces.
  • DKBarrelReturns

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    ar's artwork.
  • Puzzle Pieces are a new type of collectible item that unlock art and dioramas.
  • Map Keys are used to unlock locked paths in worlds.
  • Heart Boosts gives an extra heart to each Kong for only one level.
  • Banana Juice lets you take 10 extra hits.
  • Rare Orbs can open the doorway to the golden temple once all eight of them are found.


  • Blast Barrels make their prominent re-imagination being used exactly as before, in a new era, being used as transportation methods.
  • Barrel Cannons launch the Kong(s) in a certain direction like blast barrels, but have been revealed to be able to launch in the background environment.
  • DK Barrels retain their original purpose, reviving a lost Kong, but usage is different. Once a Kong is out, a DK barrel will float down from above and the other Kong must jump on it to free the other Kong. This system is much like the New Super Mario Bros. Wii style of getting a defeated player back.
  • Wooden Barrels are base weapons, throwable against most enemies.  They are few and far between compared to previous games, however.



  • Donkey Kong returns as the main hero. He can let Diddy ride on his back and can even roll with Diddy on much like a bowling ball.
  • Diddy Kong returns as the sidekick. He retains his speed, flexibility, and agility as well as his rocket pack and his peanut popgun from Donkey Kong 64. He is DK's nephew.
  • Cranky Kong is the only other character returning in the game. He runs a shop and often makes comments about the player's choice of items. He is DK's grandfather.


  • Super Kong is a white version of Donkey Kong with a blue tie. He only appears in the Super Guide mode when the player loses eight lives.

Animal Buddies

  • Rambi the Rhinoceros makes his return as the one of the only 2 animal buddies of the game. He is found in a large wooden crate that requires some ground pounding to break. Rambi is very destructive; he can smash down blocks with his new symbol on them and can charge through hordes of enemies and even break spikes. His weakness is fire. 
    Pic dk 2


  • Squawks the Parrot makes an appearance in Cranky's Shop. The Kongs can purchase him for 15 banana coins. While playing a level, Squawks sits at the bottom of the screen. If the Kongs get close to a puzzle piece, he will start squawking. The closer you get to a puzzle piece, the more he will squawk.


All of the enemies and bosses are under control of the Tiki Tak Tribe. The enemies are listed below:


Worlds and stages

There are nine worlds total in this game including the Lost World featuring only one level, The Golden Temple, which is unlocked after Donkey and Diddy Kong have gotten all of the eight rare orbs from the Key Temples.


Map of the Jungle.



Map of the Beach.



Map of the Ruins.



Map of the Cave.



Map of the Forest.



Map of the Cliff.



Map of the Factory.



Map of the Volcano.



Map of the Cloud.

Cloud (3DS version only)

Differences between the original version



Animal Buddies







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

  • Sometimes, at the end of the level Crowded Cavern, if the player crouches very close to the frazzled Mega Squeekly and then rolls, he/she will be able to go through him, and as far as rock ground extends on extremely rare occasions. You will soon come to a large crystalline growth (the one that Mega Squeekly bonks his head on). If you do a flying roll over it, (the points won't hurt you) you will land on the wooden deck. There will probably be large gaps in it from when you were dodging Mega Squeekly, because when you flew too low, he smashed through it a little. If it is not cut off completely, you will come to a halt at large stalagmite with a wooden crane behind it. There is no way to pass beyond it, so you will have to go back, as there is nothing more to see. You cannot go through Mega Squeekly again afterwards.
  • In the Ruins Temple Shifty Smashers, there is a part where you must quickly roll underneath an extended block that rises up and down. This is not particularly difficult, but if the player is in a Time Attack, it may, on extremely rare occasions glitch when you jump up on it, because it may send you underneath it when you try and jump onto the next platform, and it will then crush before you can escape.
  • There is a rare glitch where Cranky Kong will be invisible.
  • There is also a glitch with taking damage where you may not be hurt by enemies/obstacles.
  • If you are using the Super Guide, if you pause the game, you can play with Super Kong. Note:this glitch only works in the Wii version.




  • This game pushes many differences from the other Country series in many ways:
    • This is the first Donkey Kong Country-series game that is not made by Rare.
    • Each character has health bars.
    • This is the first Donkey Kong Country series game to not feature King K. Rool as final boss.
    • Enguarde is not featured in this game unlike its predecessors, probably because of the lack of underwater levels.
    • No Kremlings whatsoever.
    • Funky Kong is excluded.
    • The game autosaves.
    • The world map can be viewed without visiting a special area.
    • The Balloons no longer represent the face of the main protagonist.
    • Both players can participate in a level at the same time.
    • The game no longer exits a level automatically after the player/s die and lose a life (2 in multiplayer) and instead float down to the most recent checkpoint using the balloons.
  • The game was developed by Retro Studios, the developers of the Metroid Prime Trilogy. 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 stages. Developers were considering the former enough to where underwater stages 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 game was pre-ordered from GameStop, a banana-like case for Wii remotes would ship with the game.
  • If Donkey is not controlled for a while, he starts to play his Nintendo DS.

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