Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 62
  2. Negative: 0 out of 62
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  1. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Jul 9, 2013
    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. Hyper Magazine
    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. Pelit (Finland)
    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. Games Master UK
    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.
  31. May 19, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D succeeds in being better than the original by smartly using the hardware capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. The 3D-effect and adaptation of the controls will be very refreshing to those who played the Wii-version. The biggest improvement comes in the form of a new setting developed for the 3DS, which converts the console-experience fantastically to a handheld format.
  32. May 28, 2013
    While this game offers the same magnificent platform experience than the original Wii version, it suffers from issues associated with the smaller screen. The new controls are precise, specially now that you don't have to shake the controller. Even though the art direction and the levels where designed with a TV screen in mind, the 3D effect really enhances the backgrounds and environments. Challenging, fun and solid, the game design of this title shines even through its flaws and the patches that where made while adapting it for the 3DS.
  33. Sep 16, 2013
    Still one of the best platformers of the last years – even though there is not a lot of new stuff to be found in the 3DS-version.
  34. May 27, 2013
    In the end this 3DS port is a solid game and both fans of the original and those new to the game will enjoy all that this portable version has to offer.
  35. Nov 2, 2013
    At a glance a cute and charming little platformer that will eventually become with your insight one of the most challenging and deepest contemporary platform games. A great remake that's annoying only because of its occasional troubles with controls and because of its complicated multiplayer game.
  36. Sep 10, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns for the 3DS is basically the same game that launched on the Nintendo Wii for nearly three years ago. The smaller format has made some of the levels harder to navigate but it shouldn’t discourage anyone from checking out this portable version of one of the best platform games of all time.
  37. games(TM)
    Jun 28, 2013
    A safe bet for those who missed it the first time around. [Issue#136, p.116]
  38. It’s polished and fun – easily one of the top side-scrolling platformers yet released for Nintendo’s handheld – but there’s just not much significant new material here.
  39. Jun 3, 2013
    Until then, it’s hard to recommend buying this if you’ve beaten the original, but if you loved it, couldn’t beat it, and want to give New mode a shot, it’s easily worth either buying it at a lower price point or simply renting it.
  40. 80
    For those who played the Wii version, this version is worth it because it can be played anywhere. Those who have not played before, have here a new opportunity.
  41. May 30, 2013
    The portable edition of Donkey Kong Country Returns is not perfect; it will not convince those who have already completed the home edition but it is very interesting for everyone else.
  42. May 28, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a great port of the popular Wii game that manages to capture what made the game excellent in the first place. Level design is spot on and the game contains loads of content and a high challenge level.
  43. May 28, 2013
    Although it's undoubtedly a tough game, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D will keep you engaged with its blend of fluid movement and thoughtful platforming play.
  44. May 27, 2013
    One of the strongest Nintendo ports in recent memory. More than just a handy, cash-in replication of its precursor, an abundance of updated polish has been amply applied to render the game a must-have, perhaps even for those who've played the original to death.
  45. May 24, 2013
    Quotation forthcoming.
  46. As with any rehash of a great, it's the problems that stand out, but the uninitiated will find a huge amount to love. DK's still playing his second fiddle very nicely.
  47. May 20, 2013
    As we mentioned, cramming the Wii title onto the portable didn't happen without consequences. The game looks noticeably muddier on the 3DS screen, and occasional slowdown often appears at the worst moments. To be fair, though, neither of these complaints ruin the experience, and Nintendo fans would be wise to pick up Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D even if they own the console edition, as it's equally fun to play on the go.
  48. May 20, 2013
    It's the sheer shine Retro has applied here that makes it so appealing. Be it the level where the Kongs are silhouetted as they run towards their goal or the duo trying to carefully make their way between an oncoming tidal wave, it's all so appealing to look at.
  49. May 19, 2013
    It's a port of an excellent game that matches its source material beat for beat. Whether you're a franchise fan or simply a gamer looking for something fun to play on your 3DS, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is one of the best options of the platform.
  50. May 17, 2013
    While the addition of eight new stages might not be enough to lure back fans of the original, but with its accessible new game mode, gorgeous visuals and plethora of challenging and diverse levels, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is almost guaranteed to attract an army of new followers.
  51. May 17, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns has been translated well for the Nintendo 3DS, bringing more traditional control and nifty 3D effects to the well-received Wii release.
  52. May 17, 2013
    With its visual splendor and gratifying, old-school gameplay, this is a fantastic platformer that makes the most of the 3DS. It may test your patience from time to time, but the satisfaction of conquering every last bonus barrel and KONG letter is ultimately worth it.
  53. May 17, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns is a game about falling off things, goring yourself on things, squashing yourself under things and occasionally being eaten by things. So it was in 2010, and so it is now. There are worse ways to spend a weekend.
  54. Jun 26, 2013
    Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D does a lot of things well - it's a challenging platformer that understands what made the original Donkey Kong games tick and updates it for a new generation. The problem is that it doesn't go far beyond the boundaries set by the originals, and some of the fresh additions don't fare well in this port.
  55. Jun 2, 2013
    If you’ve played the original version on the Wii there isn’t much here to allure you back to the jungle, so only diehard DK fans need apply.
  56. Jun 13, 2013
    If you are fine with crazy difficulty in your platformers then it’s a really rewarding game to play and so beautiful it puts the NSMB series to shame.
  57. Jun 5, 2013
    A great platforming game for the 3DS. The levels look amazing, and there are plenty of surprises and exciting concepts to experience. It requires some skill, and the game sometimes feels a bit unfair. Still, it offers plenty of fun.
  58. May 20, 2013
    An uneven update. The core elements that made the original so thrilling are still here, but visual problems turn the satisfying challenge into something that often feels unfair.
  59. May 17, 2013
    The meager number of additions here—including the useless 3D gimmick—aren’t enough to make this worth picking up if you played Donkey Kong Country Returns the first time around on the Wii in 2010. If it’s your first time, though, and you’re still curious about checking out Donkey Kong’s latest adventure, this is a solid port.
  60. May 17, 2013
    Good rather than great, this is a retro platformer that does exactly what its peers did 20 years ago while barely changing a thing. If that’s what you’re after, you’ll love it. Otherwise, it’s easily outclassed.
  61. May 24, 2013
    Some fundamental port issues stand in the way of making this really great.
  62. May 24, 2013
    The Wii version is superior, but Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D has both the simple charms of a gimmick-free 2D platformer and a strong grip on nostalgic heartstrings.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 270 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 24 out of 270
  1. 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 »
  2. 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 »
  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 »