Inside many stages of Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Land 2, Kannonballs are usually found sitting still on the ground. The player can pick these balls up and throw at the enemies to defeat them. Kannonballs are capable of harming most of the regular enemies in the games, except for red Zingers. Upon making contact with any enemy, the Kannonballs will bounce off and drop nearby. If the item falls on the ground, the player can grab it again, because the Kannonballs possess unlimited durability. And similar to regular barrels, the player can use Kannonballs to break open secret entrances to Bonus Rooms. The same item can sometimes also be found inside Treasure Chests that the player must break first to get the Kannonball.
However, the main function of these Kannonballs is to activate Kannons that shoot the Kongs upwards into Bonus Rooms. The player finding a Kannonball someplace on the ground inside any stage indicates that there is also a Kannon nearby. In some cases, the player must go through obstacles and avoid enemies while holding the Kannonball to reach the Kannon. By the player throwing the Kannonball at the Kannon and activating it, the Kannon will immediately blast the primates upon contact with it. The Bonus Rooms accessible by Kannons usually contain Kannonballs that the player must use to defeat all enemies inside them in order to earn the Kremkoin. If they fail to clear the Bonus Room, the player will need to find the Kannonball again and throw it at the same Kannon to access the same room.
The enemy type called Kannon, also found in the same two games, is capable of shooting an unlimited number of wooden barrels and/or Kannonballs towards the left, right or downward. The player must avoid to touch these Kannonballs at all costs, because, opposite to the barrels shoot which the Kongs can jump on them, the Kannonballs shoot always harm the heroes, including their stronger Animal Buddies, such as Rambi the Rhinoceros and Rattly the Rattlesnake. However, in the game Donkey Kong Country 2, at two points of the stage Web Woods of the Gloomy Gulch world, the player must make use of the Kannonballs shoot by the same enemy type to be able access Bonus Rooms. In the same stage, after Diddy and Dixie Kong are turned into Squitter the Spider, the player must find a Kannon, wait for the enemy to shoot a Kannonball at the left direction and follow the ball, avoiding it and keeping the view of the projectile at the screen. The Kannonball will eventually reach a wall, hiding a secret entrance, and break it open, allowing the player to enter the Bonus Room.
Kannonballs are the only way to harm Kleever, a giant sword boss of the Crocodile Cauldron world in Donkey Kong Country 2 and the Krem Cauldron world in Donkey Kong Land 2, respectively. Fireballs thrown by the same boss can make the primates to drop down the item inside the lava of the stage, but a new Kannonball will eventually fall down on one of the two platforms at both sides of the arena in Donkey Kong Country 2. However, in Donkey Kong Land 2, the player must first avoid a series of fireballs thrown forward by the boss, jump on a barrel thrown for last, and break it to reveal a new Kannonball and use it against Kleever. During the second half of the battle in the same game, the player must make the heroes to touch Kannons at the right time to shoot Kannonballs upwards and harm the boss.
Kerozene, a giant Kremling boss of the K. Rool's Keep world and present only in the Game Boy Advance version of Donkey Kong Country 2, is also only harmed by the player throwing Kannonballs at its head. The four giant swords that appear during the same boss battle, resembling the boss Kleever, are also defeated by using Kannonballs.
In Donkey Kong Country 2 and Donkey Kong Land 2, during the boss battles against Kaptain K. Rool, he shoots Kannonballs to attack the Kongs. In Donkey Kong Country 2, his Kannonballs are slighty different, sporting some spikes around them. The player must also avoid these projectiles shoot by the boss. In the first boss battle of the same game, Kaptain K. Rool will sometimes shoot Kannonballs that stay still on the ground. If these balls are displaying spikes, the player must avoid them, and wait for them eventually retract their spikes, becoming regular Kannonballs. In both games, as soon as the boss starts to use his blunderbuss as a vacuum gun, trying to suck the heroes, the player must quickly pick the regular Kannonball up and throw at the gun. In Donkey Kong Country 2, if the player is successful, K. Rool will stare at the screen, the blunderbuss will release some sparks and immediately shoot the same ball forward, causing a small explosion and harming the boss. The player must also avoid the same Kannonball shoot. In Donkey Kong Land 2, the regular Kannonball thrown at the boss only explodes immediately, and he takes damage. In both games, if the player misses or takes too long for throwing the projectile back at the vacuum gun, the Kannonball will break apart. In the same boss battle of both games, Kaptain K. Rool is also capable of shooting spiked Kannonballs that bounce. In Donkey Kong Country 2, the boss can also shoot Kannonballs that spin on circles in the air. Usually after shooting a series of Kannonballs in both games, K. Rool will shoot a barrel for last. The player must jump on this barrel to break it and reveal a regular Kannonball to be used against the boss. During the second boss battle in the Krocodile Kore stage of the Lost World of both games, Kaptain K. Rool will just shoot a lot Kannonballs at the primates. The player must keep avoiding these many projectiles until the boss eventually shoots a single barrel containing a regular Kannonball inside it. Kaptain K. Rool will use his vacuum gun again to suck the Kongs, and the player must quickly throw the ball at the gun. Here, he is defeated after taking damage once.
- In the game Donkey Kong Country, during the final boss battle, King K. Rool attacks thrice by shooting a series of large cannonballs downward from the top of the screen. These cannonballs are similar to Kannonballs, but they are larger in size.