Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 62
  2. Negative: 0 out of 62
  1. 100
    An excellent platformer that will test your patience along with your skills in a fair, entertaining and imaginative way. [Issue#231]
  2. May 31, 2013
    Then I scanned the mental checklist of requirements for a 5 out of 5 score: high quality game without serious flaw? Check. One of the very best games available for the 3DS? Check. Does it use 3D to the game’s benefit? In general yes and at times, hell yes. Can a player turn off the 3D and still get a complete experience? Yup. Do I stay awake too late, miss busses, and burn food in the toaster oven because I’m so absorbed by it, and can’t put it down? Yes, yes and yes.
  3. May 17, 2013
    If you missed out on Donkey Kong Country Returns the first time around, or you disliked the motion-heavy controls of the original, pick up this version. With solid tactile feedback, the 3DS edition of the game has cemented itself as one of my favorite platformers of all time without question.
  4. May 17, 2013
    The visuals translate perfectly onto the 3DS, as if they were meant to be there in the first place. Everything fits tightly into the smaller screen, yet despite all the action and quick timing, you never feel as if there are too many distractions.
  5. Jun 2, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a must have game for lovers of platformers that really takes this port to the definitive level.
  6. May 17, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a near perfect remake of the Wii classic.
  7. May 31, 2013
    All in all, this is definitely something that all 3DS owners should consider picking up. Even if you played the heck out of Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, I think you’ll find that this definitely warrants the double dip.
  8. Jul 4, 2013
    Still the best 2D platformer in years. [Aug 2013, p.77]
  9. Jun 19, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is better than the original -- still a difficult game -- but the advantage of being able to close the lid of the 3DS and take a break rather than hurling a Wii Remote in frustration and the lengths the developers went to make the game more accessible without really changing anything about the game elevates the entire experience.
  10. Jun 13, 2013
    The 3DS version's new features aren't essential, but luckily the original game still is. It's not a perfect port, but Returns 3D is nevertheless an excellent and polished platformer. [June 2013]
  11. May 29, 2013
    If you loved the original series, or even the Wii reboot, this iteration is a must own.
  12. May 28, 2013
    On the whole, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D offers up one of the most challenging and rewarding platforming adventures in recent memory. Take note, developers, this is how a port should be done.
  13. May 21, 2013
    Not only one of the greatest games for the Nintendo 3DS, but also the perfect example that great game design is timeless.
  14. May 19, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns was a great game on the Wii and it is a great game on the 3DS. Even if you have already played the Wii version, this 3D remake is amazing value for your money.
  15. May 17, 2013
    Where Rare fell into obscurity, Retro and Monster Games seem to have picked up the pieces and evolved the platforming formula to a new level, streamlining certain features and giving the 3DS yet another must-play game.
  16. May 17, 2013
    Monster Games' 3DS version further tweaks the formula, with better controls and a new difficulty mode that feels just right. This is the best version of a densely packed, fast-paced and beautifully designed platformer.
  17. May 16, 2013
    One of the best 2D platform games in the last years. Varied game, full of possibilities and long. Donkey Kong Country Returns has a polished gameplay and brilliant artistic designs in the return for the most famous virtual monkey, now in a great hand-held version.
  18. May 16, 2013
    The 3D effect has arguably never been better used in a platformer on the system — ironic as it wasn't originally designed for the hardware — and it's a technically sound iteration of one of the Wii's very best games.
  19. Jun 20, 2013
    One of the best 2D platformers with a tonne of replayability, now in a portable shell.
  20. May 17, 2013
    A great port of an amazing game. The extra world is a worthwhile addition, and the new easy mode should allow even more people to enjoy the ride.
  21. May 28, 2013
    With what could you call Donkey Souls one of the best and hardest Jump’n’runs in recent years has finally come to 3DS. It it not pitch perfect though. But who cares about occasional framerate issues against the pure joy you can experience with this gem.
  22. May 20, 2013
    Although its lack in innovation and some problems related to the screen scaling, this edition for Nintendo 3DS is still surprising, maintaining the excellent platforming experience that we experienced in Wii. If you missed it, this is the best time to play it.
  23. May 17, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a good port of a great game; a minor graphical downgrade is the only price to pay for a overall better version, with more precise control a some nice new content.
  24. May 16, 2013
    It still is as good as we remember it. If you've already played it on Wii there are not too many reasons to play it again, but if you missed it, you've got in front of you one of the best platformers we've seen in the last few years.
  25. May 30, 2013
    A great platformer with broader appeal than before, but there isn't a lot new here. [July 2013, p.78]
  26. May 23, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is an excellent port of an excellent game - though its difficulty may be a little off-putting for newcomers.
  27. May 19, 2013
    One of the finest Wii games make its "return" on the 3DS. Monster Games managed to squeeze the brilliant level design and the epic challenges of the original game in this 3DS port. Some minor visual problems keep it a step away from the original Retro Studios game, but it's absolutely still worth playing.
  28. 85
    Retro Studios’ foray into 2D platformers is great, but this isn’t the definitive version and, honestly, you might be better off tracking down the Wii version.
  29. May 17, 2013
    While I enjoyed the extreme challenge of collecting all the letters and conquering the Golden Temple in the original game, I feel that these items make the game more enjoyable without taking away too much of the difficulty.
  30. Jun 2, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D doesn’t have enough to entice Wii owners back into the jungle, but if you haven’t yet made the trip to Kong Island, you’d be absolutely bananas to miss out.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 154 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 3 out of 34
  1. May 28, 2013
    Disclaimer: Donkey Kong Country is my favorite platforming series of all time. Out of all the amazing SNES games, I'd rank Donkey Kong CountryDisclaimer: Donkey Kong Country is my favorite platforming series of all time. Out of all the amazing SNES games, I'd rank Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest straight at number one. Having never owned a Wii, I had been counting the days to get my hands on Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.

    The good news is: it is absolutely amazing. Every production value here is through the roof. The graphics are incredible, with perhaps the best use of the 3D effect I have ever seen in a 3DS game. The music, another hallmark of excellence in the series, remains completely immersive, with the Kenji Yamamoto compositions doing justice to the incredible old tunes by David Wise and Eveline Fischer. The controls, which apparently were almost a dealbreaker in the Wii version, work perfectly. There is an "easy" mode, as well (but come on, the ridiculous difficulty is yet another DK trait you shouldn't miss out on).

    Thankfully, and as always, Donkey Kong's quest is filled to the brim with collectibles. The KONG letters are given newfound importance, while puzzle pieces are scattered through every world (often as rewards to the much-beloved bonus minigames). A source of disappointment, however, is the lack of DK coins. Finding one of those, huge and majestic, after lots and lots of searching, was a reward like no other. They had an epic feel that, sadly, no items here manage to recapture.

    Perhaps the saddest part of the game is the lack of animal buddies (only Ranbi the Rhino is available, while Squawks the Parrot has a small side role). They were one of the most fun parts of the SNES games, especially in the fantastic "animal barrel" stages, where you assumed full contol rather than merely riding them. Their absence is really unexcusable, and it's almost enough to compel me into dropping the perfect rating.

    Still, if you haven't played the originals, chances are you'll find nary a flaw in Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D. Feel absolutely free to dismiss my few points of criticism as ramblings of a huge fan of the series, who is naturally bound to be more demanding. This is an absolute must-buy if you're a fan of platforming, as it's quite likely the best game the 3DS will ever see in the genre.
    Full Review »
  2. May 26, 2013
    I just can't believe they put a full fledged wii game on the 3ds. Diddy's Kong Quest was one of the best Donkey Kong games I've ever playedI just can't believe they put a full fledged wii game on the 3ds. Diddy's Kong Quest was one of the best Donkey Kong games I've ever played and it sits in the top 10 best games I've ever played. This one is a whole new twist that doesn't take away from the originals. Retro has their own flavor and they respect the Rareware games as well by not using their enemies. Utimately it's a fantastic game that does better on the 3ds with all the entertainment coming at your face from the background. I'm just overly impressed and I hope that Nintendo keeps coming up with rereleases like this. I never got to play Skyward sword and am wondering if they could put that on the 3ds as well. I'm sure that would go over extremely well too. Full Review »
  3. May 24, 2013
    This is a great game, quite difficult since it's start. I can't feel the same Rareware magic that I felt while playing DonkeyKongLand2 forThis is a great game, quite difficult since it's start. I can't feel the same Rareware magic that I felt while playing DonkeyKongLand2 for first time but it's still a great game.

    Welcome back Kong
    Full Review »