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Donkey Kong Country

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010) 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 minecarts 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.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Donkey Kong Country Returns 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 21 months ago.
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Play StylePlay Style

This is an Action and Platform game with Adventure, Collecting, Puzzle and Traversal elements. You can play with 1 to 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.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: 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.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

This game has been rated PEGI 3.

Skill Level

6+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. 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.


You can only play this on older systems (Nintendo 2DS|3DS, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U) but can usually find it second hand on eBay. There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

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

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Players: 1-2

Genres: Action, Platform (Adventure, Collecting, Puzzle and Traversal)

Accessibility: 17 features

Components: 2D Side-On

Developer: Retro Studios (@RetroStudios)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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