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Donkey Kong Country Returns Review

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Posted: 3 months ago, last updated 3 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer.


Donkey Kong Country Returns is a running, jumping and bashing game where you play Donkey Kong and other characters trying to reclaim their island from the Tiki Tak Tribe. It's a return to the side-on platforming of the classic Donkey Kong 64 in 1999.

Play involves running and jumping as Donkey or Diddy Kong. Along with the platforming jumps, bounces and attacks, there are levels where you ride mine carts and are fired from cannons. As well as reaching the end of each level at the right of the screen, you are also trying to find and collect the golden "KONG" letters and puzzle pieces.

In single-player mode, you control Donkey Kong with Diddy Kong riding on his back. He not only offers more firepower but helps you jump higher. In multiplayer mode, a second player is Diddy Kong. If one character dies they can be brought back by using the other character to hit a barrel that floats into view.

To avoid problems arising from differences in the players' skills, Diddy can hop on Donkey's back to take on a more passive role, while his jetpack can be used to make his partner's jumps easier. Both Donkey and Diddy can pound the ground to defeat enemies and unveil secret items.

You can also trigger a Super Guide as in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2 if you die eight times. This gives you the option to allow a white-coloured Donkey Kong helper to take over and complete the level for you. This does mean you will miss collectables though.

If you beat the game, unlock and complete The Golden Temple stage, the Mirror Mode is unlocked. In this mode, the stages are flipped, Donkey Kong only has one unit of health, he cannot use items bought from Cranky Kong, and he cannot get any help from Diddy Kong.

The 3DS version, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, adds some new levels and more assistance options, but can only be played in single player.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 3

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Release Date: 21/11/2010, updated in 2013

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Wii and Wii U

Genres: Adventure, Platform and Puzzle

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: @RetroStudios


Duration: This game will take between 13 hours and 23 hours to complete. It can take over 50 hours to find everything. On 3DS this play time is extended with the additional levels. This doesn't include the time taken to complete the Mirror Mode stages.
Players: You can play with 2 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. This is two player on Wii and Wii U with one copy of the game. On 3DS you each need a copy of the game and a 3DS system to play together.


Donkey Kong Country Returns usually costs £15.99 to £17.99.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

Switch Store Wii U £17.99

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

Switch Store 2DS|3DS £15.99
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

This game has been rated PEGI 3.

Skill Rating

This game is enjoyed by 6+ year-olds as it's a good match for their ability and maturity. Although playing on your own requires more skill, super young players can enjoy helping siblings and parents and being carried along on Donkey Kong's back.


Although you can't pick difficulty in the Wii version of the game, in two-player mode, Diddy can hop on Donkey's back to take on a more passive role. You can also use the Super Guide if you die eight times, to get to the end of the level. On the 3DS version of the game there's an easier difficulty mode that increases your hearts to five and adds extra floating platforms to make jumps easier.

You can choose between two control schemes. One uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, while the other uses the Wii Remote held sideways. Both methods use motion controls for the "Ground Pound" move.

Visuals are generally large and bright, although on occasion you are fired into the background and have to perform platforming moves in a miniature size that is hard to see.

On the 3DS version of the game, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, you don't need to use motion controls. You do, however, have to press the charge or pound button repeatedly in some situations. This game also offers a New Mode which helps you find hidden items and extends your health.
Our Donkey Kong Country Returns Accessibility Report documents 17 accessibility features:

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