Generally favorable reviews - based on 77 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 77
  2. Negative: 0 out of 77
Buy On
  1. Jan 25, 2011
    Everything about Donkey Kong Country Returns is so fluid and smooth. Retro constantly surprises players with new game mechanics, striking set pieces and tons of Donkey Kong charm. This title is quite possibly the definitive side-scrolling platform experience for Wii.
  2. Jan 5, 2011
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is almost the perfect continuation of the series in many ways. It manages to offer the perfect balance of old and new elements to form what has to be one of the Wii console's finest platforming experiences and a game that should challenge even seasoned fans of the genre.
  3. Dec 21, 2010
    I cannot recommend this enough to folks who have some platforming chops. It's hard as hell, but incredibly rewarding and genuinely fun.
  4. Dec 18, 2010
    It's a platform-lover's dream and the kind of game you buy a Wii for. Do whatever you've got to do to play it.
  5. Dec 18, 2010
    I absolutely adore Donkey Kong Country Returns. It's a throwback to games of yesteryear, but infused with new and exciting game play mechanics that create a similar, but all-new experience.
  6. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns hits all the right spots; it's filled with childhood nostalgia, stunning visuals, and mentally taxing challenges.
  7. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is a perfect videogame experience, from start to finish.
  8. Dec 18, 2010
    Retro has done an incredible job bringing DKC's traditional mechanics into the world of modern game design. The only thing distinct lament is the absence of more rideable animal buddies. Still, a must-buy.
  9. Dec 10, 2010
    This game is everything the original was and more; it borrows the basic components and rebuilds them into something even more spectacular and cohesive than its precursor.
  10. 95
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is hands-down one of the best Nintendo titles this year, and a real delight to fans of the Donkey Kong Country franchise.
  11. Dec 10, 2010
    It's not only the best Donkey Kong Country, it's also one of the best platformers I've ever played.
  12. Jan 10, 2011
    Donkey Kong is back with a stunning masterpiece signed by Retro Studios. It features marvellous graphics, sounds and a gameplay that will make DK's fans feel in heaven. A must-have for every Wii owner.
  13. Jan 4, 2011
    Even though some things were changed or completely removed (notably the underwater levels), DKC Returns feels a lot like the game we played back in 1994. Needless to say, its a great comeback for our favorite ape.
  14. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is undeniable proof that Retro's prowess isn't limited to sci-fi first-person shooters.
  15. Jan 3, 2011
    Quotation forthcoming.
  16. Jan 3, 2011
    Jungle's king comes back in one of the best platform games for Wii. Reinvented, implacable and intrepid, the return of Donkey Kong Country is the best posible thanks to a company that shows its talent again: Retro Studios.
  17. Jan 3, 2011
    Retro Studios has again recovered a veteran Nintendo series with the same result: an excelent game. A beautiful, long, difficult addictive, enjoyable and replayable game which respect Rareware's original works, but adds new features, and gameplay-wise is solid as a stone.
  18. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    Dec 31, 2010
    Feels vintage and fresh at the same time. [Christmas 2010, p.56]
  19. Dec 12, 2010
    Gameplay is amazingly true to DKC.
  20. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns has a few flaws, but is still an incredibly fun plat former.
  21. Dec 10, 2010
    This is how games should be made and kudos to Nintendo and Retro Studios for not trying to re-invent the wheel in Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii.
  22. Mar 17, 2011
    It looks and sounds wonderful, it feels great when you play it, it's tons of fun and full of surprises.
  23. Feb 25, 2011
    Fans of classic 2D games, or the original DKC games, owe it to themselves to pick up this amazing return to the franchise. The difficulty is the one area that may throw some gamers for a loop, but with the ability to let the game play itself it becomes a non-issue.
  24. Jan 10, 2011
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is a fantastic return to the origins of the series.
  25. Jan 5, 2011
    If I had to pick out one glaring fault with Donkey Kong Country Returns, it would be the lack of classic controller support. Old school gamers will be disappointed that it wasn't included, but will be able to adapt to the new controls. However, the rest of the game really fires on all cylinders; dare I say, better than New Super Mario Bros.
  26. Jan 3, 2011
    One of the best 2D platforms game in the last years.Varied game, full of possibilities and long. Donkey Kong Country Returns has a polished gameplay and briliant artistic designs in the return of the most famous virtual monkey.
  27. Jan 3, 2011
    An excellent 2D hardcore platform that will keep you entertained for a very long period. Good luck if you dare to complete every single level of his eight worlds at 100%.
  28. Jan 2, 2011
    2D platforming is still alive. Retro Studios' latest effort is honest even with its own title: it may not do anything new, but it's just as good as it was sixteen years ago.
  29. Jan 2, 2011
    Longtime fans of gorilla that waited patiently for a return of the acclaimed series Country can get excited, because Returns is very worthy of its title.
  30. Jan 1, 2011
    Minor quibbles aside though this is a fantastic game, Retro Studios have once again, like they did with Metroid, revived a long dead franchise successfully.
  31. Dec 22, 2010
    Both Donkey Kong and Diddy are making a huge comeback and will fill you up with a nostalgic feeling. This game is great to introduce newer generations with the classic Donkey Kong gameplay elements.
  32. Dec 18, 2010
    The most triumphant comeback you could hope for.
  33. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is the best 2-D platform game I've played in ages. Its level design meets the gold standard set by the 2-D Mario games. Retro Studios can add another feather to its cap.
  34. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns proves that Retro Studios doesn't just have a talent for first-person sci-fi adventures. This is a game that succeeds not because of incredible innovations, but simply because it was designed really well.
  35. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns represents the apex of 2D platformer design, not just in reviving mechanics we're all familiar with, but reinventing them for a new generation.
  36. Dec 12, 2010
    Retro Studios managed to create a wonderful platform with a distinctive '90 taste, something that is not common nowadays. DKCR is simply one of the best games on Nintendo Wii, and one more example of the true N difference.
  37. Dec 10, 2010
    This game has the potential to win over a whole new generation, and to do so without eliciting any whinges from those of us old enough to remember the taste of a McRib washed down with Tab Clear.
  38. Dec 10, 2010
    It's a clever and challenging platformer that consistently hits the sweet spot between fun and frustration. You're guaranteed to rage in a few stops, but at the end of the day, it's still good to be Kong.
  39. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is a great Nintendo Wii game and one of the best Wii games of the year. The developers have merged the good old features with new and fresh gameplay elements.
  40. Dec 10, 2010
    It's a hardcore challenge for the hardcore gamer, and because of its difficulty, it offers an amazing sense of satisfaction when you've completed a level that's kicked your butt five ways to Sunday.
  41. Dec 10, 2010
    If you're craving the kind of expertly crafted platforming only Nintendo seems to able to produce, as well as one of the year's best Wii offerings, you'll find DKCR as appealing as a ripe banana.
  42. Dec 10, 2010
    All in all Donkey Kong Country Returns is a great game.
  43. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns could just be the best side-scrolling platformer of this generation.
  44. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is a new classic that still manages to pay homage to the source material.
  45. Dec 10, 2010
    The king of the jungle returns blowing away those cobwebs in spectacular fashion.
  46. Feb 6, 2011
    Levels are fun to play, with a good variety of play mechanics and ever escalating challenge that keeps you pushing for a ridiculously large improvement in your skillbase, only to find an even harder chunk of gameplay around the corner.
  47. Games Master UK
    Dec 29, 2010
    One of the best Wii games of the year. [Jan 2011, p.76]
  48. 88
    The game's skilful courses and challenging, inventive boss battles are a breath of fresh air amongst Wii's all-to-easy competition - and help DKCR remain a pleasingly faithful instalment in one of gaming's greatest ever series.
  49. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey and Diddy Kong are back in an action-packed Jump & Run! Excellent gameplay elements and more than 350 hidden puzzle pieces make Wii owners happy. Some levels are TOO difficult. To play through all the worlds and to find all the secrets, you have to play very, very long.
  50. Nintendo Gamer
    Dec 18, 2010
    A relatively superficial, flashy platformer elevated by raucous level design and heaps of bonus goals. [Christmas 2010, p.54]
  51. Jan 1, 2011
    Donkey Kong Country Returns starts strong and offers a great gaming experience to players of any age. That's no small feat but it seems Nintendo has been doing it a lot lately.
  52. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong's newest adventure makes traditional platforming feel fresh again, thanks to clever level design and great artistic touches.
  53. Dec 10, 2010
    It's Oldschool in every aspect – very challenging, but worth every frustrating moment.
  54. Nintendo Power
    Dec 10, 2010
    "Quotation Forthcoming"
  55. Feb 16, 2011
    In the end Donkey Kong Country Returns is, in my opinion, a long awaited return to a franchise that needed updating. Fear not, DK fans, this title is for you.
  56. Jan 1, 2011
    Retro's re-design of Donkey Kong Country is a major accomplishment to reignite your love for the big ape. Although before you run out a purchase Donkey Kong Country Returns keep in mind this game has an above-average difficulty level that could frustrate the little ones who might be lured in by its colourful cover art.
  57. Jan 16, 2011
    Donkey Kong Country Returns definitely has its faults, and we'd wager that the majority of players will never see it all the way through to the end. Yet while the difficulty curve is ridiculous and the multiplayer is quite broken, the game's charm and mystery prevails, giving us some of the same feelings that the original releases did. If you're looking for a serious challenge and don't get frustrated too easily, Donkey Kong Country Returns is worth a look.
  58. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Jan 15, 2011
    Cute platformer with adorable visuals scores in every aspect except in multi-player. As for a one-man game there is nothing to complain about. [Issue#199]
  59. games(TM)
    Jan 11, 2011
    It's a side of Nintendo we occasionally fear losing forever, which makes Retro's outing a welcome return to the company's hardcore roots, as well as one of this year's finest platformers. [Christmas 2010, p.104]
  60. 80
    Behind the warm and inviting visuals lies a treacherously difficult platform game. But Donkey Kong Country Returns is as fun as it is hard, and goes to show that the old school 2D platformer is alive and well. There are plenty of gimmicks and new ideas along the way to keep things fresh, and the graphics are absolutely gorgeous.
  61. Jan 6, 2011
    It's on like Donkey Kong once more! This game just oozes the vibe of the old platformgames, and in some ways it feels even more fluid than the original series. The co-op doesn't add much though and the rolling and blowing that you can activate by shaking the Wii-controller sometimes feels contrived or downright irritating.
  62. 80
    Charming and beautiful, the return of the Kong is almost everything we could have hoped for.
  63. Dec 18, 2010
    It brings back a style of platforming that hasn't been seen in over a decade, and it pulls it off with a great assortment of well-designed levels.
  64. Dec 18, 2010
    Nostalgia often paints over glaring flaws in modern games, but in Donkey Kong Country Returns it simply helps create an even more enjoyable experience.
  65. Dec 18, 2010
    If you're yearning for solid, demanding 2D platforming and can look past some slightly misplaced motion controls, you could do far worse than Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  66. Dec 18, 2010
    But DKCR is a colourful, creative romp with one of Nintendo's oldest creations, and with all the hidden levels, bosses and treats thrown in, you'll still be playing it after Christmas.
  67. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is a lush, vibrant re-imagining of the DKC franchise, but a barrage of cheap deaths, uneven difficulty and iffy motion controls keep it from matching Retro Studios' previous amazing work with Metroid.
  68. Dec 18, 2010
    Retro Studios may have instilled a higher difficulty that many gamers may not be used to, but that shouldn't scare them away from the joys of nostalgia and charm that DKCR brings to the table.
  69. Dec 14, 2010
    In a generation where Nintendo seem ever-more preoccupied with hardware innovation and its expanded audience, Retro's dependable high-quality output bodes well for the future.
  70. Dec 10, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns was clearly made by fans for fans of the original on the Super Nintendo. For trained gamers, indeed. Because behind its alluring colors and refreshing world and atmosphere, lies a spicy challenge, sometimes even a cruel one. Not all levels are as such, but two types specifically aren't as precisely tuned as the others, and become somewhat frustrating. But the experience is undoubtedly well thought, blessed by inspired mechanics, even if its diversity remains below the original. A great game, but not a Royal one.
  71. Dec 10, 2010
    This is a great game, simple as that. It's filled to the brim with content and charming fun-filled adventures topped with a good gameplay. Not much to complain about really, except for the notoriously imprecise shake controls.
  72. Dec 10, 2010
    Where the original sold itself at least partially on the "wow" factor of its then-impressive pre-rendered visuals, Donkey Kong Country Returns is all about what matters most in a high-quality platformer: Inspired, challenging, and inventive level design, backed up by a delightful, cartoon-like atmosphere.
  73. Dec 18, 2010
    The most important thing to know about Donkey Kong Country Returns is that it doesn't try to be anything more than the title implies.
  74. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country is still no classic platformer, but this reboot comes surprisingly close to rivaling modern Super Marios.
  75. Dec 18, 2010
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is maddeningly frustrating. In fact, I've never been happier that I didn't have to play a game anymore than when I finished playing Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  76. Dec 18, 2010
    A (mostly) pleasant surprise and a return to form. Considering how poorly the original trilogy aged (if you ask me), that's pretty... well, bananas.
  77. Edge Magazine
    Dec 10, 2010
    Retro Studios has done a fine job with the Donkey Kong Country concept, ably translating its appeal for a modern platform, but it doesn't push it much further. [Christmas 2010, p.92]

Awards & Rankings

#4 Most Discussed Wii Game of 2010
#7 Most Shared Wii Game of 2010
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 401 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 19 out of 401
  1. Nov 25, 2010
    Don't listen to johnnynumber, like you can see he's the only one who gave a 0 to the game because he just probably sucks hard on it. DonkeyDon't listen to johnnynumber, like you can see he's the only one who gave a 0 to the game because he just probably sucks hard on it. Donkey Kong Country Returns is a huge achievement and a 2D masterpiece from Retro Studios. Nintendo must be proud of seeing this little company doing wonders like Rare did once upon a time. Brilliant gameplay and level design, fluid animation, very good remixes and some jewels in the new soundtrack, big replay value and tons of collectibles! What to ask more from a DKC game! And it's hard as hell! But unlike johnnynumber, I have skills and didn't use the Super Guide on every level ;) Full Review »
  2. Nov 21, 2010
    An example of returning to 2D and doling it RIGHT unlike some other titles! *cough*sonic 4*cough*
    even with the Wii remote shaking the
    An example of returning to 2D and doling it RIGHT unlike some other titles! *cough*sonic 4*cough*
    even with the Wii remote shaking the controls are tight and very responsive. the levels are beautifully designed and Cranky's shops are very funny.

    great old-school style platforming!
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 22, 2010
    Retro Studios has delivered an awesome title with DKCR. The level of polish is outstanding. This game is fun and challenging. It is worthRetro Studios has delivered an awesome title with DKCR. The level of polish is outstanding. This game is fun and challenging. It is worth buying a Wii for. I simply love it and I can't find any flaws. Fans of this series: It's On Like Donkey Kong AGAIN!! Full Review »