Generally favorable reviews - based on 55 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 55
  2. Negative: 0 out of 55
Buy On
  1. 85
    All that's missing in a room with this game (and four bongos) is booze and a bowl of Tostitos. A somewhat limited song selection is the only thing keeping the multiplayer aspect from being the greatest thing EVAR, so to speak.
  2. The DK Bongos are nice and responsive, the action can be genuinely fun, and though some of the music choices are extremely weird, there is, in fact, a little something here for everyone.
  3. Game Informer
    If I wanted a fun, music-oriented party game, I'd much rather play "Karaoke Revolution" or "DrumMania." [Nov 2004, p.161]
  4. Cheat Code Central
    The novelty of the controller could be compared to that of the lightgun. You don't really need it but once you play with it you can't live without it.
  5. The only thing that could be improved on for the sequel would be more songs and even more variety.
  6. 80
    It's the fact that Nintendo continues using Rare's horrible Donkey Kong character designs. I mean, seriously. This is a great game; why am I being forced to look at Diddy Kong while I play it? Or frickin' King K. Rool?! Awful.
  7. We appreciate the simplicity of the idea, but in the absence of the hidden depths we normally expect from this sort of game - or the ritual humiliation we now demand - it ultimately wears thin far too quickly.
  8. What truly rocks is the game's affordability. Donkey Konga comes with one bongo accessory in a neat and tidy $50 package. What a sweet concept.
  9. 60
    It's certainly true that there are no official "endings" to these types of games, but once you've masterd all the songs and unlocked all the hidden features, there isn't much to do. [Nov 2004, p.106]
  10. 80
    Konga represents a somewhat hefty financial investment, especially if you want to round up enough peripherals to fill your GameCube's controller ports, but for sheer universal fun there's nothing else on the system that compares.
  11. games(TM)
    'Licensed' tunes feel somewhat out of place and are cover versions that veer violently from the decent to the offensive in terms of both selection and quality. Does anyone really want to play bongos along to Blink 182's 'All The Small Things'? Didn't think so. [Nov 2004, p.120]
  12. Edge Magazine
    It's far too easy for veterans in singleplayer, but with four sets of the ludicrous peripheral - an unlikely scenario, admittedly - and each player tapping out their own, interlinking rhythm the game becomes a uniquely entertaining experience. [Feb 2004, p.111]
  13. Some of the tracks in the game are troublesome and the graphics look like they're straight out of 1997, but honestly, what are you going to spend your fifty bucks on? "Pokemon Colosseum"? Yea, I didn't think so.
  14. 80
    Without a doubt, Donkey Konga is a ton of fun. It's offbeat, easy to play, and entertaining for one or four players. Kids will love the game, but don't let that put off older gamers, as the simple gameplay is fun for any age.
  15. I just think the execution of the game is nowhere near as good as it could have been. The potential for this game is endless and I think Nintendo only brought us with an average gaming experience.
  16. When Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat! releases next year, we'll see how good the DK Bongos really are ... or not.
  17. There are a couple slight disappointments, particularly the lack of more Nintendo themes, but unless you're already burnt out on music games, Donkey Konga is a blast to play and is easily worth importing. [Import]
  18. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Except for a few totally jive songs, this game is as solid as a rock-steady beat...It's deceptively simple. [Nov 2004, p.151]
  19. 100
    Donkey Konga is fun. It is a surreal kind of fun that you can't have in an arcade...This is the solidest, sturdiest, most accessible rhythm-game-that-requires-a-special-controller to yet be released. [JPN Import]
  20. If you have a sense of rhythm and you'd like to own an interesting peripheral then DK is probably the perfect game for you!
  21. Nintendo Power
    An excellent party game - one that surprises even the most reluctant to play a video game of any sort. [Nov 2004, p.128]
  22. 65
    The game play in Donkey Konga isn't as good as we were hoping. There is a severe lack of a proper long game mode which means that often the game didn't hold our attention for more than half an hour.
  23. Despite it lacking the scope of challenge that you get in "Dance Dance Revolution," as well as being not quite as show-off friendly, the sheer absurdity of sitting there hitting a pair of bongos and clapping in time to crazy Japanese salsa music proves to be irresistible – not to mention entirely accessible to pretty much any member of your average 2.4 family. [JPN Import]
  24. The range of songs is highly impressive, despite being covers rather than the original songs.
  25. It's a perfect game for a lazy afternoon -- it's active, it's immersive, and it doesn't require any commitments to enjoy it. And with the bongos thrown in basically for free, it's a real steal.
  26. It's frustrating to find the overall Donkey Konga experience restrained by some basic flaws in the design of the game; the fact that a group of you can't really enjoy it unless you've got multiple bongos is just crazy.
  27. While "Samba De Amigo" (the most similar thing to it) had graphical and stylistic touches that kept the gamer going, Donkey Konga feels languid, and lazy. While at first it is fun, you will find that any long experimentation with it will lead to boredom, or tears. Or both.
  28. This game is definitely going to used a lot at our house. Suitable for all ages and skill levels this is a game that will make any games collection look that bit more sociable.
  29. The quirky sounds you can add to your bongos are a humorous touch and should be good for a few laughs.
  30. A funny little gimmick and quite a good party game, but that is all. In itself, it quickly wears out its welcome, even if multiplayer does stand the test of time somewhat better.
  31. You might be bored in a week, but it's perfect for bringing your family around when they complain that games are turning you into a violent social outcast.
  32. Frighteningly entertaining and remarkable in multiplayer. [JPN Import; NGC]
  33. 80
    Although it's highly recommended to putting large emphasis on playing this title with a group rather than alone, the entertainment factor provides a fresh, new feel to the overall spectrum of video-games as a whole.
  34. The gameplay is engaging but isn't really challenging over time, and the music selection could've been a little more varied, not to mention plentiful. However, there is fun to be had.
  35. netjak
    Donkey Konga's Tarukonga feels flimsy. The drums are too small to give a solid thump with your hand and so the layer of abstraction that's supposed to be formed there (i.e. you feel like you're playing an instrument, not hitting buttons on a controller.) is VERY quickly peeled back.
  36. GMR Magazine
    The novelty wears off and Konga becomes repetitive, especially without other bongo owners to play against or with. [Nov 2004, p.130]
  37. The beginner's level is a breeze, but Konga later becomes deliciously challenging, with hilarity-inducing flustered panic as you start to fall behind and surprising levels of concentration required to clap instead of drum. Hysteria soon prevails.
  38. Overall, the simplicity of Donkey Konga, combined with enough challenge (if you want it) later on makes this a really fun game to play, and it really works well with a large group of people.
  39. 70
    It is ideal fun for both the serious and casual games player, and entertaining for those not taking part to watch the participants flinging their hands over the place.
  40. Play along to 30 songs-from simplistic beats like "We Will Rock You" to increasingly complex and annoying Latin polyrhythms-and add up to four sets of bongos to create a frenzied, unholy din suitable for ritual virgin sacrifice.
  41. 93
    A great, if underrated game that will no doubt become a respectable franchise in its own right.
  42. Even if you just find a couple songs you really like, it's the kind of game you'll go back to quite often when you have some free time. So overall, it's a good game. Unfortunately, it's just doesn't have enough gameplay modes to make it great.
  43. What it does do is entertain in short bursts. It's an excellent alternative to the usual plethora of action games and certainly makes an interesting party starter.
  44. Donkey Konga is a rare, fun, campy game that can cross gender lines and close age gaps. It is a great party game for 1 or 100 players, and the congas just look too damn cool to not get this game ASAP! [JPN Import]
  45. 79
    While it does contain a lot of elements that will offer many hours of satisfying gameplay, it also doesn't do enough to bring in as many players as other games in the rhythm genre, such as "Dance Dance Revolution."
  46. The bongo kit which ships with the game is extremely sturdy and takes a severe beating without even giving a hint of breaking.
  47. Before you buy Konga, try clapping along with every song on the radio for half an hour and see how you feel at the end.
  48. The drums are responsive and the music isn't bad, and that's really all you need with Donkey Konga.
  49. A lovely idea. There's a lot of fun to be had, but the game itself seems poorly executed, and the package provides little in the way of incentives to keep you playing.
  50. The lack of a Master difficulty really hurts the game's longevity, and the songlist is pretty slim at just over 30. The multiplayer mode is a blast, but probably not worth the substantial investment of 3 extra congas.
  51. Weekly Famitsu
    8 / 7 / 8 / 8 - 31 silver [Vol 783]
  52. It's likely to become one of the most collectable and sought-after titles in years to come. As it stands, it's one of the most entertaining.
  53. 64
    That said, if you grab a couple of bongo sets, invite some mates round and have a bowl of bananas at the ready, it's great fun. Just be prepared for some very sore hands.
  54. One neat addition that Nintendo did add was multiplayer support. Up to four people can be banging the congas together. When playing in four player mode, or even two player mode Namco has created slightly different segments for each player to hit the drums to.
  55. Simple, fun, and addicting with just the right amount of challenge and cool... just the way video games are supposed to be.

Awards & Rankings

#18 Most Discussed GameCube Game of 2004
#16 Most Shared GameCube Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 25 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 25
  2. Negative: 2 out of 25
  1. Jul 3, 2016
    The music is fun this game is fast pace. Using the bongos is fun and play with others is a real blast! This game makes no harm when it's thisThe music is fun this game is fast pace. Using the bongos is fun and play with others is a real blast! This game makes no harm when it's this fun. Please play it now cause it's great. Full Review »
  2. Aug 12, 2012
    I consider a good game a game that accomplishes what it sets out to do. This method of scoring doesn't work when their goal is to make money,I consider a good game a game that accomplishes what it sets out to do. This method of scoring doesn't work when their goal is to make money, but in this case, Donkey Konga wants to be a music sheet simulator for the drum peripherals that are necessary to play the game. And in that case, this game is perfect. The controls work perfectly and there's even a few fan service songs like the Pokemon theme song. In short, the only question you need to ask yourself to know if you want to play this game is: Do I think I (or whomever you're buying this for if you are getting this as a gift) like playing with bongos? Full Review »
  3. JoshH.
    Jun 15, 2005
    Gr8 game to play especially with m8s around u. Gr8fun only europe side the song list is crap. oh well still amzing fun.