Donkey Kong Country Returns

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Donkey Kong Country Returns Game Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Highly enjoyable new spin on a classic, now with co-op.

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 18 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game tells of two monkeys, who are family members, determined to put an end to evil Tikis. The "bad guys" stole their bananas and are controlling the minds of island animals. You're leading a good quest against evil.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Diddy and Donkey Kong are good role models because they are trying to stop evil -- without violence, for the most part. Most of the gameplay is jumping and running around enemies, being blasted out of barrels, rolling quickly through traps, and such.

Ease of Play

The game is pretty easy to pick up, plus there are two ways to control the game. The manual and tutorial both explain what to do, and the moves are layered on one at a time. That said, the pace is fast and furious. This game supports cooperative play for two players.

Violence & Scariness

Donkey and Diddy Kong can pounce or roll on enemies, while Donkey can also slam on the ground to destroy them and Diddy can use a peanut popgun.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Donkey Kong Country Returns is a fast-paced side-scrolling adventure featuring classic Nintendo characters Donkey Kong and his nephew Diddy. There is some mild violence in the form of shooting with a pop-gun and pounding the ground so hard so as to destroy the baddies. The cartoon graphics, silly storyline, and violent-free gameplay (for the most part) all point to a good family pick. Plus, this game allows for two players to enjoy it together in a cooperative mode.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byT J September 25, 2018
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byratp January 2, 2016

good but

sometimes it is hard
Kid, 10 years old February 3, 2011

10 year olds are way too old for this!

I like the old version. My brother takes up the tv and wii playing this forever! That's why I hate it! But he's 5 so I rate it on for 5. My age is WAY... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous January 4, 2011

A Truly Fun Game

This is what the wii is made for! This game is simply put, beautiful. The graphics are top notch and the sounds and the gameplay is really enjoyable. I choose t... Continue reading

What's it about?

If you believe a family that plays together, stays together, prepare to a spend a lot of time with DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS, a new spin on the beloved side-scrolling series from Nintendo. Once again, the burly Donkey Kong has teamed up with his agile nephew, Diddy Kong, to navigate a treacherous island in order to retrieve Donkey Kong's banana hoard and put an end to the mind-controlling Tikis who've brainwashed the natives into stealing the gorilla's favorite snack. OK, so you're not going to play this game for its deep story, but the fun gameplay should keep you glued to the television. This includes jumping over chasms, pounding the ground to stun enemies, tossing barrels, riding in mine carts, and fighting your way through lush outdoor areas.

Is it any good?

Donkey Kong Country Returns is a blast from the past – but with better graphics, new moves, expansive environments, and perhaps most importantly, cooperative ("co-op") play for two gamers to team up and tackle the worlds together. For example, the duo can hover via Diddy's jetpack or Diddy can hop on Donkey's back and fire his peanut popgun. You'll control the action by holding the Wii Remote and nunchuk, and shaking them for special moves, or you can simply hold the Wii Remote sideways as is done in games such as Kirby's Epic Yarn. Timing is also important as you must navigate threats, such as a large octopus that slaps its spiky tentacles in your path. There are also secret areas to uncover, collectible letters that spell K-O-N-G, and well-hidden puzzle pieces that unlock more fun. Call us bananas, but Nintendo has another hit on its hands with this new take on a retro classic.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether they like games that stick with an old gameplay mechanic and add new worlds and graphics -- or do they prefer new characters, gameplay concepts, and interface designs? 

  • This is a game in which a parent and child can play together. Did you try it?  If you don't understand your kids' video games, here are some tips about gaming that might help.

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action/adventure games

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