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Top 5 Donkey Kong Games

by Perry Burkum and John Rairdin - May 6, 2018, 8:16 am PDT
Total comments: 10

Ladies and gentlemen, your kings of swing.

It has been a while since we got together with our friends on Patreon to come up with a countdown. With the launch of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze on Nintendo Switch, now felt like the right time.

We sent our staff and Patreon supporters a list of every Donkey Kong game and asked them to vote for their top five. We then ordered the games based on the number of votes they recieved to come up with this final list.

Scroll down to see the complete list beyond the top 5.








Full ranking

1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

2. Donkey Kong (Gameboy)

3. Donkey Kong Country 2

4. Donkey Kong Country

5. Donkey Kong Country Returns

6. Donkey Kong (Arcade)

7. Diddy Kong Racing

8. Donkey Kong Country 3 / Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

9. Mario VS. Donkey Kong

10. Donkey Konga

11. Donkey Kong Jr.

12. Donkey Kong 64 / Donkey Konga 2

13. Donkey Kong 3 (Arcade) / DK King of Swing / DK Jungle Climber

14. Donkey Kong Land / Land 2 / Land 3 / Donkey Kong Barrel Blast


DasmosMay 06, 2018

Well, Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat is the GOAT so the list is flawed, but I am excited to pick up Tropical Freeze. Where was all this universal praise upon its original release?

azekeMay 06, 2018

As long as Donkey Kong 94 is represented -- i am good.

But yeah Jungle Beat in my opinion is also better than any of the Rare's or Retro's games.

KhushrenadaMay 06, 2018

This should be an easy list and....


3. Donkey Kong Country 2


8. Donkey Kong Country 3 / Donkey Kong Jungle Beat


12. Donkey Kong 64


2. Donkey Kong (Gameboy)

... What in the he... Nope. Abandon thread.


I love seeing Donkey Kong GB as #2. One of the absolute best GB games.

ShyGuyMay 06, 2018

15. Donkey Kong for the Atari 2600


SteefosaurusMay 07, 2018

Donkey Kong Land on GameBoy was the first I played outside of a version of the original, and one of the first Nintendo games I played in general. It was really difficult once you got to world 3, but I remember it kinda fondly nonetheless. Didn't realise it was thought of so poorly, but on reflection it makes sense to me.

Gonna start Tropical Freeze soon, I got the budget release of that for Wii U in a 2-for-1 deal with Splatoon 1 and never really gave it much time. Soundtrack was amazing in the 2 levels I played though!

Ian SaneMay 07, 2018

Tropical Freeze gets lots of praise but I really don't like it.  It's a frustrating game designed for platforming experts.  That's fine if you want that but I shouldn't be able to breeze through the first several worlds of the SNES DKC games and then struggle to beat the first world in Tropical Freeze.  Despite using the Donkey Kong Country name it feels like it is targeting a different audience.  Or it's a sub-set of the SNES series' audience - the die-hards demanding a challenge.  In that sense it reminds me of homebrew hacks of classic games with cranked up difficultly.

DKC 2 is my favourite though I tend to blob the SNES trilogy together as I can't imagine owning one without the others.  If you like one of them you'll like all three.

Luigi DudeMay 07, 2018

The top 3 is pretty good.  All 3 represent different parts of the Donkey Kong series and can easily be considered the best of games of their kind.  I do think the first Donkey Kong Country should be way down on the list though.  I mean it's a decent game and all but it's pretty basic compared to what came after.  It's easily put Returns above it.  I know a lot of people love to say Tropical Freeze is a huge improvement over it but I find Returns pretty close in quality.  Tropical Freeze is a more consistent game, but I find the highs of Returns are easily as good if not better then the highs of Tropical Freeze.

Plus like others have said, Jungle Beat also deserves a lot more love.  The original on the Gamecube was just amazing and easily the best 2D platformer in a decade when it was released back in 2004, it was that good.  So many people at the time were either butthurt it used the Bongo controller or just played it from beginning to end without realizing it was designed around being point based and never bothered getting Gold or Platinum medals in stages.  When going for at least Gold the amazing design shines through and you'll see just the pure attention to detail Tokyo EAD put into every level. 

It's sad 2D gaming had been relegated to an inferior form of gaming by the early 2000's since Jungle Beat easily deserves much of the praise Galaxy would eventually receive years later.  This is why I wasn't surprised at all by how good Galaxy 1 ended up being when it was released in 2007 because Jungle Beat already showed me 3 years early that the team at Toyko EAD were masters of their craft.

Mop it upMay 08, 2018

Poor Donkey Kong 64. I actually liked that game...

KhushrenadaMay 08, 2018

Same. To me, that was Rare pushing that type of 3D platformer to its limits. I get that it might not be for some people and it has some flaws but, still, that was an amazing pinnacle in 3D world construction and platform variety at the time that I can keep revisiting to this day.

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