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Donkey Kong (SSBU)

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This article is about Donkey Kong's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the character in other contexts, see Donkey Kong.
Donkey Kong
in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Donkey Kong SSBU.png
Universe Donkey Kong
Other playable appearances in SSB
in Melee
in Brawl
in SSB4
Availability Starter
Final Smash Jungle Rush
Tier D+ (68)

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Initially teased in the then-unnamed Ultimate's announcement trailer, Donkey Kong was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Donkey Kong is classified as Fighter #02.

Donkey Kong retains his gorilla-like grunts and roars from Super Smash Bros. 4, instead of using his voice actor, Takashi Nagasako.

Donkey Kong is ranked 68th out of 82 on the current tier list, placing him in the D+ tier. This is a significant drop from his 22nd out of 54 placement in SSB4. Donkey Kong has surprisingly good mobility for a superheavyweight, having both a good dash and air speed, while possessing good KO power fitting for his weight class. He has the highest amount of conventional meteor smashes by default (forward and down aerials, Headbutt and Hand Slap), which gives him many options to net early kills on recovering opponents. His down tilt has a chance to trip; his up tilt is a solid anti air that can kill at high percents, his forward tilt is a good spacing tool, and his dash attack is a long-reaching, general-purpose move that has late-hit combo potential. His aerials are all good as they serve their purpose in Donkey Kong's strong advantage state, with back aerial as a good walling and edgeguarding option, up air as a strong juggling and KO tool, and neutral aerial as a good get-off-me or landing option. Donkey Kong also possesses one of the best throws in the game with his cargo throw, which works exceptionally well against characters with poor to mediocre recoveries, and can also net early KOs while on platforms. His specials are also effective: Giant Punch can now be used in the air without becoming helpless; Headbutt can punish overuse of shields and can armor through opposing attacks; grounded Spinning Kong has armor and functions as a powerful kill move and out of shield option; and Hand Slap can be used to set up for kill confirms and deny grounded approaches.

Despite his strong advantage state, Donkey Kong is held back by notable flaws, the biggest being his disadvantage, which is among the worst in the game. He has one of the largest hurtboxes, and many of his limb-based moves lose intangibility once their hitboxes cease, meaning Donkey Kong is frequently in danger of being clipped by attacks compared to other fighters. He also has little to no option to escape from combos due to his frame 4 air dodge, and not having many moves that are fast enough to combo break, while most of his out-of-shield options are too slow or high-risk. As a result, this makes him one of the easiest characters to juggle. Alongside this, Donkey Kong has a lackluster and risky neutral game, as many of his attacks have high ending lag and a decent chunk of them are unsafe on hit at low percents. His recovery is also one of the most exploitable in the game, as a simple spike is enough for Donkey Kong to quickly lose his stock, since Spinning Kong offers very little vertical distance.

Overall, Donkey Kong is a speedy heavyweight with unique tools and the potential to convert a single throw into early KOs; however, his disadvantage state means a simple mistake can make it hard for him to keep the pressure on. While early impressions of Donkey Kong were positive, he has widely been seen as unviable due to his flaws. Regardless, he has seen some results from players, such as ChunkyKong and HIKARU, who have taken him decently far in tournaments.


Donkey Kong is unsurprisingly a large super heavyweight, having the same weight value as King Dedede, and is the third-heaviest character in the game behind Bowser and King K. Rool. Despite this, he's one of the fastest heavy characters in the game, both in terms of general mobility and attack speed. He has the 10th fastest walking speed, the 29th fastest dashing speed, the 16th highest traction, above average falling speed and jumping force, and is tied with Mario, Sonic, Little Mac, and Inkling for the 13th fastest air speed. In contrast, he has below average gravity and moderately slow air acceleration.

A typical heavyweight is expected to possess moves with high power, and Donkey Kong is no exception to this - it is possibly his greatest attribute. Donkey Kong has no problem with setting up into KOs with moves that have both high power and decent range: his sweetspotted up tilt, smash attacks, aerials, back throw, Giant Punch, and grounded Spinning Kong are all prime examples. His ability to take stocks with his powerful attacks is made easier with his decent approach. His mobility and size work together to give him an effective grounded approach and longer range, respectively. All of these attributes combined allow him to have an easier time fighting in close quarters and landing attacks on his opponents. He also has very strong survivability thanks to his aforementioned high weight and above average falling speed, which is also common for his archetype. In total, Donkey Kong's attributes give him some of the best overall endurance in the game, with only Bowser and King K. Rool surpassing him horizontally.

Donkey Kong works well with his grounded moveset. His neutral attack has decent damage and startup. Forward tilt's long range makes it one of his main spacing tools and works better with its intangibility. Up tilt is a safe move to interrupt his opponents, with the move covering Donkey Kong's entire body, acting as an anti-air, and hitting through low platforms such as the ones on Battlefield. Down tilt gives him a long range crouching option and has a chance to trip opponents. His dash attack works as a combo starter and a situational KO option at low and very high percentages, respectively. All of his smash attacks are notoriously strong and relatively fast, making them his go-to options for hard reads and scoring KOs. His aerial options also have considerable utility. His forward and down aerials are some of his best edgeguarding tools due to both of them being meteor smashes. His neutral aerial is hard to interrupt, helps him break out of combos, and is one of the strongest of its type in the game when hit clean. His up aerial serves as an effective vertical KO option (if the situation he's in allows for it) thanks to its high knockback, and it is also safe, as his head is intangible during it and it has modest end lag. His back aerial is his fastest aerial and is debatably an even better spacing tool than his forward tilt, being fast, long-ranged, and having a sex kick-like hitbox, with a long duration and high knockback when hit clean. His air speed allows his aerial moves to be used at their fullest potential and, with the exception of forward aerial, they’re all decently fast.

A well-known part of his playstyle is his grab game, as he has a long grab that allows for setups into the rest of his moves. Although his down throw has little to no use, every other option does to some extent. His pummel is slower compared to many others in the cast, but deals decent damage. Up throw has combo potential into his aerials and back throw is his primary kill throw, but his forward throw is easily his most useful one and possibly the most unique part of his character. During his forward throw, Donkey Kong can move, jump, and walk off the stage while having the opponent in his hands, acting like he usually would outside of a typical grab (aside from being unable to use his other moves and having only one jump). Forward throw also gives Donkey Kong different types of throws based on what direction is pressed, basically giving him eight throws; these are commonly known as the "cargo throws." Cargo forward and down throw both work as niche edgeguarding options, with cargo down throw even being a semi-spike. Cargo back throw does good damage and is a very solid kill throw. It also has utility as a stage spike unless his opponent is able to properly tech it. Finally, cargo up throw has more combo potential than his vanilla up throw, being able to combo into his aerials at low percents. Cargo up throw also possesses fairly good kill power, since Donkey Kong can jump and then heave his opponents for additional height.

Donkey Kong's special moves are also helpful for his gameplan. Giant Punch is his surprise KO and punish move, can be used to pressure the opponent, and has super armor if fully charged. Headbutt can bury opponents, which can allow him to setup into KOs, and spikes in the air. It has super armor during the move's startup and deals very high shield damage while also having deceptively long range, giving him a shield pressure option and the ability to call out poor shield positioning. Grounded Hand Slap has very long range and allows for stage control, but has no usage for aerial opponents, as it leaves Donkey Kong immobile and its hitbox only deals damage to grounded opponents. The aerial Hand Slap is his last move which can meteor smash and is fast, making it effective and easy to land. His final special move, Spinning Kong, acts similarly to Bowser's Whirling Fortress as his primary out of shield option. It is hard to disrupt and is a multi-hit move with high damage. In the air, it works as an incredibly fast horizontal recovery option and deals a lot of damage if all the hits connect. Due to the speed Spinning Kong has in the air, it can work as an effective combo breaker.

However, despite his versatile moveset and high power, Donkey Kong falls into a plethora of problems. His defensive game is very poor, a common issue for characters of his size. While his massive weight gives him very high endurance and his large frame is the reason his range is better than characters like Mario and Squirtle, it becomes a problem when having to dodge attacks which is hard for him because he is a very large target. His tie hurtbox is also extremely large, further exacerbating the issue. Coincidentally, just like those two previously mentioned fighters, he has frequent trouble dealing with characters that have disjoints due to his lack of projectiles, primarily against swordfighters such as Shulk and Ike, hitboxes on moves such as Mewtwo's up and back aerials, or fast multi-hits such as Palutena's neutral air. Donkey Kong's size also makes him vulnerable to combos and juggling, which is worsened by his lack of combo breakers (outside of neutral aerial and up special). The reintroduction of directional air dodges makes his aerial defense even more linear, and the new air dodge's increased ending lag hurts all characters; it debatably hurts a character such as Donkey Kong the most. Moreover, his otherwise great forward throw (cargo throw) also has certain drawbacks - notably, the risk of trying to slam the opponent into the ledge with a backward cargo throw. Due to Donkey Kong's horrid vertical recovery, if the opponent either DIs fast enough, squat jumps on him or simply has better air reach, this attempt for an easy KO may backfire. The trajectory of both forward and back cargo throw also possess a minor challenge. Unlike traditional forward and back throws, Donkey Kong sends the opponent at a high vertical angle instead of horizontal. This makes it more situational if they will KO or not, especially cargo forward throw. Cargo back throw ironically has more vertical range than his cargo up throw and therefore has more usage KOing at the top of the screen than the side. Thus, the player may find more reliability in a normal back throw near the edge.

Despite many of his moves having fast startup, Donkey Kong's moveset is made much slower by its ending lag, and most of his moves are not safe on hit at low percents. This forces him to be more careful with the moves he uses, as he can be heavily punished just for putting out one attack (a situation that can rapidly snowball due to his poor defensive options). Unlike the all-around heavyweight Bowser, perhaps Donkey Kong's most glaring weakness is his lack of out-of-shield options. Neither his neutral attack nor his tilts are enough to distance himself from an aggressive opponent if the player forces him to remain in shield. His forward tilt has good range, but lacks the power or perks of other super heavyweights, like Bowser's Tough Guy or King K. Rool's Belly Armour. A lot of his moves are also limited in some way despite their strengths: his smash attacks are slow and have very linear hitboxes; a chunk of his throws, despite their variety, don't have much utility; Giant Punch forces Donkey Kong to get up-close to the opponent to land the attack and needs to be charged for it to be effective; Headbutt and Hand Slap are both slow, causing them to be difficult to use for their intended purposes; and Spinning Kong, while it has decently long horizontal recovery distance, offers almost no vertical recovery and is prone to edgeguarding against meteor smashes, like Captain Falcon and Falco's down aerials.

All in all, Donkey Kong's mixture of fast mobility, fairly long range, high weight, decent combo potential, and excellent kill power make him adept and flexible in many different situations, but killing and pressuring opponents stand out as his biggest strengths. Despite this, DK's high weight, large hurtbox, and lack of good escape tools make him vulnerable to many combos. In addition, his recovery is extremely poor, and his moveset is frequently punishable due to the end lag on many of his moves. As such, Donkey Kong has to capitalize on his power and range to limit opponents' approaches in order to win matches.

Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Donkey Kong received a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition from SSB4 to Ultimate. Though he received more buffs than nerfs, the latter are more prominent than the former, as they either weakened or removed some of his best traits from SSB4. Because of this, Donkey Kong has been nerfed overall.

Donkey Kong has received several useful buffs, with those to his special moves being among the most notable. Giant Punch charges faster no longer leaves him helpless when used in the air, giving him a new edgeguarding option. Headbutt now grants him super armor before the hit comes, and moves also deal their full knockback when opponents are buried, both changes of which improve the moves' versatility. Grounded Spinning Kong has less difficulty linking its multi-hits and has faster super armor, while the aerial version is now a proper multi-hitting move with a finishing hit, making it safer. Hand Slap is generally faster and the aerial version has reduced landing lag, which gives Donkey Kong a useful combo starter and allows it to confirm into KOs at high percentages. Particularly, both it and Headbutt alleviate some of DK's difficulty with landing safely.

His biggest buff, however, comes from a vastly improved forward throw (cargo throw), which is much harder to mash out of and has had its cargo throws' properties improved; this grants him much more options and turns it into his most versatile throw, and arguably the best throw in the game overall. His dash attack also has less ending lag, giving him another combo starter if the late hit is landed and making it much safer if shielded. Donkey Kong's already impressive KO power has been further increased as well, as most of his moves deal more knockback. Further miscellaneous buffs include up smash's previously infamous hitboxes being larger, making the move much easier to land.

Finally, Donkey Kong also benefits from some of the universal changes, as his already great mobility has improved from faster walking and dashing speeds, the universal 3-frame jumpsquat change improves his ground-to-air out of shield game and allows him for with combo opportunities, and the increased shieldstun and reduced landing lag on aerial attacks makes his attacks even safer on shield (despite the reduced shieldstun on aerials).

However, the few direct nerfs Donkey Kong received were severe enough to eclipse his buffs. Like Bowser, his biggest nerf is to his previously infamous combo throw — his cargo up throw now has more knockback, which makes its combo potential more strict and noticeably neuters the effectiveness of its infamous "Ding Dong" KO confirm at high percentages unless it's initiated on a platform, often requiring a specific amount of rage to work. Although his grab game was overall buffed, Donkey Kong is one of the characters who suffers the most from the universal nerfing of grabs, making them less safe for him to use. His pummel was nerfed as well, making it less reliable for racking up damage. Thus, this makes it less feasible for Donkey Kong to rely on his grab as his main way to rack up damage, forcing him to use other methods to do so.

Among his other direct nerfs, Donkey Kong's up aerial has had its animation altered, which shortens its range and hinders its versatility. Spinning Kong now gains less horizontal distance and no longer grants intangibility on startup, worsening his already poor recovery. Many of Donkey Kong's attacks, such as his tilts and his up aerial, no longer have disproportionately long intangibility, now only matching their hitbox duration.

Although he has gained some notable benefits from them, the universal changes to gameplay mechanics hamper Donkey Kong more than they help him. While the universal increase in mobility, faster jumpsquat, and reduced landing lag on aerials improve his own mobility and combo game, it also means opponents are more likely to close the distance on him, giving them more combo opportunities. The increased shieldstun, reduced landing lag, and the universal nerfing of grabs also make it harder for Donkey Kong to react to a shielded attack; the universal nerfing of grabs is especially harmful, as it's one of the key points to his gameplan. Altogether, this hinders his grounded out-of-shield game, limiting him to directly contesting them by making use of his moves' super armor to muscle through them, which can be risky despite his large weight. Lastly, the changes to air dodging worsen Donkey Kong's recovery, as they give him less protection and make him easier to edgeguard. All of these changes worsen Donkey Kong's defensive game, which is further notable since the game's engine prioritizes more aggressive playstyles than defensive ones. This forces him not only to approach more, but to be more unpredictable at doing so.

In the end, Donkey Kong has potentially received many more options for racking up damage and being less predictable, but the neutering of his KO confirm and grabs means he can no longer close out stocks as reliably as before. Though his strengths and weaknesses are more defined, the gameplay mechanics accentuate his weaknesses more when compared to his strengths, causing his nerfs to overshadow his buffs even despite the numerous buffs he received in game updates. As a result, Donkey Kong fares worse in Ultimate than he did in Smash 4.


  • Change Due to the aesthetic used in Ultimate, Donkey Kong's model features a more subdued color scheme. His fur appears flatter overall, while his tie features subtle detailing. His facial proportions have also been tweaked.
  • Change Donkey Kong faces the foreground at an angle, instead of facing directly forward. In addition, he now faces the screen regardless of whether he's facing left or right, resulting in all of his animations being mirrored and many of them being tweaked.
  • Change Like most of the returning roster, Donkey Kong has become much more expressive than in the previous games. For example, he scowls during multiple attacks, he also appears furious when he fully charges Giant Punch, with his face turning red and veins being visible.
  • Change Up taunt has a new animation where he moves his body much less, more closely resembling how real-life gorillas beat their chests.
  • Change Ledge-hanging animation has changed.
  • Change Two of Donkey Kong's victory poses have been tweaked:
    • Change His up-inputted victory pose now has him looking at the camera at the freeze frame and shaking his hands as opposed to his whole body afterward.
    • Change His right-inputted victory pose has him strike a different pose while maintaining an angrier expression.


  • Buff Like all characters, Donkey Kong's jumpsquat animation takes 3 frames to complete (down from 6).
  • Buff Donkey Kong is heavier (122 → 127). However, he is no longer the second heaviest character in the game (claimed by King K. Rool) but instead tied with King Dedede for the third heaviest. Nevertheless, this noticeably improves his survivability.
  • Buff Donkey Kong walks faster (1.3 → 1.365).
  • Buff Donkey Kong dashes faster (1.7031 → 1.873).
  • Buff Donkey Kong's air speed is faster (1.15 → 1.208).
  • Buff Donkey Kong's traction is much higher (0.0529 → 0.123), going from the 37th highest to the 15th highest.
  • Change Donkey Kong's gravity is very slightly lower (0.08505 → 0.085). It is also lower relative to the cast, going from the 35th highest to the 53rd highest.
  • Nerf Forward roll grants less intangibility (frames 4-16 → 4-15) and has more ending lag (FAF 30 → 31).
  • Nerf Back roll has has more startup (frame 4 → 5) and ending lag (FAF 30 → 36).
  • Buff Spot dodge has less startup (frame 4 → 3) and ending lag (FAF 29 → 27).
  • Nerf Spot dodge grants less intangibility (frames 4-19 → 3-17).
  • Buff Air dodge grant more intangibility (frames 4-29 → 4-32).
  • Nerf Air dodge has significantly more ending lag (FAF 35 → 49).

Ground attacks[edit]

  • Neutral attack:
    • Buff The first hit transitions into the second hit faster (frame 11 → 8).
    • Buff The second hit comes out faster (frame 6 → 4), which alongside the previous change allows it to connect better from the first hit. It also has less ending lag (FAF 35 → 32), and a longer hitbox duration (2 frames → 3 frames).
    • Nerf Both hits have a higher hitlag multiplier (1× → 1.5× (hit 1), 1.8× (hit 2)), giving opponents more time to SDI the first hit and DI the second hit.
    • Change The first hit deals less knockback (0/35/45 base/100/25/25 scaling → 25/20/20 base/35/20/20 scaling) and its outermost hitbox launches opponents closer to Donkey Kong (110° → 180°), allowing it to connect better, but hindering its jab cancel setups.
  • Forward tilt:
    • Buff The move has less startup (frame 8 → 6) and ending lag (FAF 38 → 35).
    • Buff Its hitboxes are larger (4.5u/5u/3.2u → 5.5u/5u/3.5u).
    • Nerf It deals less damage when angled up (11% → 9%) and not angled (10% → 8%).
    • Nerf It grants much less intangibility on Donkey Kong's arm (frames 7-11 (up), 1-25 (forward, down) → 6-9 (all)), being in line with the duration of the hitboxes.
    • Change For all angles, it has higher base knockback, but lower knockback scaling (10 base/100 scaling → 50/78). This makes it much safer on hit at low percents, but weakens its KO potential.
      • Nerf Due to its higher base knockback, it can no longer lock opponents, and the down angled variant can no longer cause tripping.
    • Change It has an altered animation where Donkey Kong keeps his other arm planted on the ground rather than it twisting with the rest of his body.
      • Buff This new animation shifts his body backwards a considerable distance as soon as it begins; combined with the changes to jostling, this allows him to dodge many close-range attacks as early as frame 1.
  • Up tilt:
    • Nerf The move deals less damage (11%/10%/9% → 10%/9%/8%) without compensation on knockback, hindering its KO potential.
    • Buff The sweetspot is on the hand instead of the shoulder, making it easier to land overall.
    • Change The move now has a medium punch sound effect.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff The move has less startup lag (frame 7 → 6).
    • Buff It has a hitstun modifier of +5, improving its combo potential.
    • Nerf The hitbox duration is shorter (3 frames → 2 frames).
    • Nerf It has more ending lag (FAF 23 → 25).
    • Nerf It grants much less intangibility on Donkey Kong's arm (frames 1-9 → 5-7), being more in line with the duration of the hitboxes.
    • Nerf The hitboxes on Donkey Kong's arm deal less damage (7% → 6%), matching the sourspot.
      • Buff However, their knockback was not compensated, allowing them to trip opponents for longer.
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff The move has less ending lag (FAF 42 → 35).
    • Buff It deals more damage (10% → 12% (clean), 8% → 9% (late)), with knockback scaling compensated (53 → 46 (clean), 65 → 60 (late)).
    • Buff Its hitboxes are larger (6u → 7u (clean), 4u → 5.5u (late)) and further out (Z offset: 7 (clean)/4.2 (late) → 8/5.2), improving its range.
    • Nerf It deals more hitlag (1x → 1.25x), making it easier to DI.
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff The move deals more damage (20%/19% → 22%/21%) without proper compensation on knockback (30/25 base/91 scaling → 21/18 base/88/86 scaling), improving its KO power.
    • Change Its animation has been altered: Donkey Kong no longer brings his arms behind him as much when charging the move, doing so before releasing the move.
  • Up smash:
    • Buff The move deals more damage (18% → 19%) and has increased knockback (30 base/83 scaling → 40/84), improving its KO potential.
    • Buff Up smash's hand hitbox is higher up (Y offset: 26 → 28) and the arm hitbox is lower down (Y offset: 20 → 18) and extends further outwards (Z offset: -3—3 → -5—5). This improves the move's range above and next to Donkey Kong, allowing it to hit larger fighters on the ground.
  • Down smash:
    • Buff The fist hitboxes exchange IDs between the early hit and the clean hit, causing interpolation to cover the floor below Donkey Kong.

Aerial attacks[edit]

  • Buff All aerials have less landing lag (17 frames → 11 (neutral), 29 → 17 (forward), 18 → 11 (back), 25 → 15 (up), 24 → 14 (down)).
  • Buff The removal of teching for grounded meteor smashes improves the combo potential of Donkey Kong's forward and down aerials onstage, compounded further by their reduced landing lag.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Buff It deals more damage (11% → 12% (clean), 8% → 9% (late)) with no compensation on knockback, improving its KO potential.
    • Buff It has larger hitboxes (5u/4u → 5u/5u/5.7u), and the clean hit has received an additional hitbox during its first active frame that is placed further vertically (Y offset: 8u) and horizontally (Z offset: 15u), greatly improving the move's range.
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff The late hit lasts one frame longer (frames 21-22 → 21-23), allowing it to reach farther below Donkey Kong.
    • Nerf It has a slightly altered animation, with Donkey Kong spinning at an angle after performing a downwards punch. This new animation is longer (55 frames → 62) increasing the amount of time DK cannot grab the ledge after using it.
  • Up aerial:
    • Nerf The move grants less intangibility on Donkey Kong's head (frames 1-10 → 5-10), being more in line with the duration of the hitboxes.
    • Nerf The move has an altered animation where Donkey Kong doesn't bring his head as far backwards as before, reducing its coverage behind him.

Throws and other attacks[edit]

  • Grabs:
    • Nerf All grabs have increased ending lag (FAF 31 → 39 (standing), 39 → 47 (dash), 37 → 42 (pivot)).
    • Nerf Dash and pivot grab have slightly more startup lag (frame 10 → 11 (dash), 11 → 12 (pivot)).
    • Nerf Dash and pivot grab have less range (Z2 offset: 17 → 15.9 (dash), -24.5 → -21.5 (pivot)).
  • Pummel:
    • Nerf Pummel deals less damage (2.1% → 1.6%).
    • Nerf It has much less startup (frame 9 → 2) and ending lag (FAF 16 → 8), but deals considerably more hitlag (4 frames → 15), increasing its effective duration.
      • Change Relative to the rest of the cast, Donkey Kong's pummel is among the slowest but most damaging, rather than average on both accounts.
    • Change Its animation has been slightly changed. Donkey Kong chops the opponent's body rather than their head.
  • Change Donkey Kong's throws are no longer weight-dependent. This improves their combo potential on heavyweights, but reduces it on lightweights.
  • Forward throw (cargo throw):
    • Change Cargo throw involves Donkey Kong hauling the opponent over his shoulder, similarly to his grandfather in the Donkey Kong arcade game and his own carrying animation in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
    • Cargo forward throw:
      • Buff The move deals more damage (10% → 12%) without proper compensation on knockback (80 base/50 scaling → 90/46), slightly improving its KO potential.
    • Cargo back throw:
      • Buff Donkey Kong has a new cargo back throw: he holds the opponent with both hands by the legs and hurls them behind himself. This new throw deals more damage (12% → 13%) and knockback (70 base/50 scaling → 85/52), improving its KO potential to the point it can KO middleweights under 150% in the air.
    • Cargo up throw:
      • Buff The move deals more damage (10% → 12%).
      • Nerf The move has increased knockback (58 base/52 scaling → 65/53). While this slightly improves its combo potential at low to mid-percentages due to Donkey Kong's faster jumpsquat, it also limits its combo potential into only up aerial. It also noticeably worsens its combo potential past mid-percentages, no longer leading into guaranteed KOs off the top blast line except if initiated on platforms.
        • Buff However, this grants the move KO potential, especially when combined with a jump.
    • Cargo down throw:
      • Change Donkey Kong has a new cargo down throw: he performs a bearhug instead of throwing the opponent downward.
      • Buff This new throw deals more damage (7% → 11%).
      • Buff It grants Donkey Kong a slight boost upwards if used in the air, giving it more offstage utility.
      • Change It has altered knockback (50 base/80 scaling → 70/45). Combined with its upward boost, this makes it safer to use at low percentages and keeps its KO potential at high ones if used offstage, but removes its ability to chain grab opponents on moving platforms (such as Smashville's) or against walls, while still lacking KO ability if not used offstage.
  • Down throw:
    • Buff Down throw releases the opponent earlier (frame 24 → 19), with its total duration reduced as well (FAF 60 → 55), making it harder to DI in time.
  • Edge attack:
    • Buff Edge attack deals more damage (8% → 10%).

Special moves[edit]

  • Giant Punch:
    • Buff The move has less lag when charge-canceled by shielding (8 frames → 4), making it safer to charge.
      • Buff Additionally, it can now be charge-cancelled by shielding at any point, rather than only when DK's arm is behind him at a certain point.
      • Buff It can also now be charge-canceled by jumping or spot dodging, with the same amount of lag beforehand.
      • Nerf However, this lag applies to rolls out of the move as well, instead of them being immediate, making it riskier to charge-cancel by rolling.
    • Buff It no longer causes helplessness when used in the air, much like in Smash 64.
    • Buff The move reaches its full charge much faster (frame 154 → 121).
    • Change The move gains damage at a different rate (2% per 14 frames → 1% per 6.77 frames). This makes it closer to other chargeable moves.
    • Nerf Uncharged Giant Punch deals less knockback (15 base/100 scaling → 45/70). This makes it weaker than the fully charged version regardless of charge.
    • Buff Fully charged Giant Punch deals more knockback that is consistent throughout (10 base/80/50 scaling → 35/73), making it stronger than the almost fully charged version.
    • Buff Fully charged Giant Punch's mid-arm hitbox is larger (5u → 6.5u).
    • Nerf The move no longer has a hitbox that hits behind Donkey Kong, removing its situational ability to KO off the top blast line.
    • Change Donkey Kong charges Giant Punch with either arm due to his mirrored animation. Previously, it was charged with his right arm in Smash 64 and his left arm in the other games.
    • Change Donkey Kong charges up Giant Punch with more circular arm motions, and trails of electricity appear on Donkey Kong's arm and fist during the charge up and punch of the move (reminiscent of Lightning Punch, one of his custom moves in Smash 4). Additionally, he makes an angry expression when he gets a full charge (including maintaining the expression throughout other animations after its charge), and he winds up faster the closer the move is to being fully charged. He also has an altered pose upon using the punch.
    • Change Fully charged Giant Punch triggers the Special Zoom upon hitting an opponent.
  • Headbutt:
    • Buff The move has super armor on frames 5-14.
    • Buff The grounded version has an additional hitbox against grounded opponents that is placed higher (Y offset: 5u → 13u), increasing its vertical range.
    • Buff It has one frame less ending lag (FAF 64 → 63).
    • Change The aerial version stalls less (gravity multiplier: 0.3 → 0.5).
  • Spinning Kong:
    • Buff The move's loop hits connect more reliably, especially for the aerial version, which uses the autolink angle (20°/180°/180° → 366°). The grounded version's loop hits hold the opponent in place rather than knocking them back and forth.
    • Buff The move has less landing lag (40 frames → 38).
    • Buff The grounded version's super armor starts earlier and has a longer duration (frames 8-17 → 5-17).
    • Buff The grounded version's last hit has more base knockback (40 → 60), but less knockback scaling (170 → 157), slightly improving its KO potential overall.
    • Buff The aerial version has a final hit that launches opponents away with more knockback (0 base/100 scaling → 72/80), improving its utility.
    • Nerf The grounded version has more ending lag (FAF 93 → 105).
    • Nerf Both versions of the move deal less total damage, most significantly the aerial version (17.5% → 16% (grounded), 36% → 19% (aerial)). The grounded version deals more damage on its loop hits (1.3% → 1.4%), but less on the first hit (7% → 5%), and the aerial version has 14 hits instead of 8, but they deal drastically less damage (10% (hit 1), 5%/4% (hits 2-5), 2% (hits 6-8) → 5% (hit 1), 1% (hits 2-13), 2% (hit 14)) and have inconsistent timing, only dealing full damage to opponents that are very close to Donkey Kong.
    • Nerf The aerial version no longer grants intangibility on frames 3-6 upon startup.
    • Change Donkey Kong glints and strikes a pose upon ending a grounded Spinning Kong, doing another spin before coming to a full stop.
    • Change The aerial version travels a shorter distance horizontally, but also goes slightly higher overall.
    • Change The aerial version has a shorter duration due to its animation being sped up (94 frames → 54).
    • Change Unlike Grounded Spinning Kong, the aerial version no longer produces a visual "blue ring" effect upon startup.
  • Hand Slap:
    • Buff The grounded version has less startup lag (frame 18 → 12).
    • Buff Both the grounded and aerial versions have drastically less ending lag (FAF 75 → 47 (grounded), 62 → 50 (aerial)).
    • Buff The aerial version has significantly less landing lag (30 frames → 10), greatly improving its ability to set up combos and tech-chases.
    • Nerf The aerial animation is longer (61 frames → 69), increasing the amount of time mobility is restricted if the move is not interrupted.
    • Nerf The grounded version's hitboxes are smaller (13u → 10.3u).
    • Nerf The grounded version has gained a shieldstun multiplier of 0.58×, thus dealing less shieldstun than in Smash 4 despite it being increased for moves other than smash attacks and aerials. This allows shielding opponents to escape between hits more easily, worsening the move's shield breaking ability.
  • Final Smash:
    • Change Donkey Kong has a new Final Smash called Jungle Rush, which replaces Konga Beat. It consists of a single punch that, if successfully landed, leads to a barrage of rapid punches that traps the opponent, concluding with an uppercut that launches them. The move, alongside the comical bongo noises it produces, are based off Donkey Kong's attacks in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.
    • Nerf Since the move's first hit only hits in front of Donkey Kong, Jungle Rush can no longer hit opponents behind, above and below him as Konga Beat could, giving it significantly less range.
    • Change Jungle Rush's hits deals less damage than a perfectly inputted Konga Beat (7% initial shockwave/1% "miss" shockwave/7% "good" shockwave/12% "great" shockwave/15% fourth "great" shockwave → 12% hit 1/1.2% hits 2-19/1.1% hits 20-32/14% hit 33). This makes the Final Smash deal potentially deal less damage than Konga Beat (150~% → 61.9%), but makes it more consistent.
    • Buff Jungle Rush's last hit has stronger knockback than a fourth "great" shockwave from Konga Beat (55 base/90 scaling → 90/96), making it much more powerful and consistent at KOing.
    • Change Jungle Rush's last hit sends at a vertical angle compared to Konga Beat's horizontal one for the fourth "great" shockwave (361° → 70°).

Update history[edit]

Donkey Kong has been buffed via game updates. Initially, his most noteworthy buffs were to inconsistencies of two moves: forward aerial now autocancels properly (an issue that had been present since Melee) and Giant Punch's hitbox no longer shifts into the Z-axis, which would result in it missing opponents at point-blank range. Donkey Kong also benefits from the universal nerf on projectiles dealing less shield damage in update 3.0.0.

After only receiving minor buffs for the first few game patches, update 6.0.0 gave Donkey Kong more noticeable buffs. His forward tilt deals significantly more knockback to the point of becoming a viable KO move, his neutral aerial deals more damage and knockback and has more range, and his Giant Punch reaches the maximum charge even faster than before and deals slightly more knockback. Spinning Kong was also improved, as the move's super armor starts three frames faster, it connects more reliably against airborne opponents, and the last hit deals more knockback. Finally, Hand Slap on the ground has less startup and less ending lag.

After receiving some minor buffs, patch 13.0.1 buffed Donkey Kong yet again. The second hit of Donkey Kong’s neutral attack was given more active frames and had it’s ending lag reduced. Giant Punch was given more super armor on both the ground and in the air. Most notably, Donkey Kong’s down tilt was given 5 additional frames of hitstun, this allows him to follow up with another attack in certain situations.

Overall, Donkey Kong has improved by a decent margin compared to how he fared during Ultimate's initial release. However, in comparison to the buffs gained by other lukewarmly received characters, Donkey Kong's buffs are fairly minor, so how much he has benefited from these changes is debatable.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 1.2.0

  • Donkey Kong has been affected, although the changes are currently unknown.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 2.0.0

  • Buff Forward aerial autocancels earlier (frame 63 → 56), matching the move's interruptibility.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.0.0

  • Buff Giant Punch has more range (5u → 6.5u), no longer missing opponents up close.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.1.0

  • Buff Giant Punch has longer super armor when using a fully-charged punch.
  • Bug fix Fixed a bug that caused Donkey Kong to not get armor when landing during frames 12-17 of Giant Punch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 4.0.0

  • Change The lag upon waking up from the sleep effect has been adjusted, matching the rest of the cast.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 6.0.0

  • Buff Forward tilt has much more knockback scaling (55 → 78), KOing at around 160% at the edge of Final Destination.
  • Neutral aerial:
    • Buff Neutral aerial deals more damage (11% → 12% (clean), 8% → 9% (late)) with no compensation on knockback.
    • Buff It has larger hitboxes (4.5u/4.5u/5.5u → 5u/5u/5.7u), and the clean hit has received an additional hitbox during its first active frame that is placed further vertically (Y offset: 8u) and horizontally (Z offset: 15u), greatly improving the move's range.
  • Buff Giant Punch reaches its full charge faster (frame 131 → 121), and the fully charged punch has more base knockback (20 → 35), but less knockback scaling (78 → 73), slightly improving its KO potential overall.
  • Spinning Kong (grounded):
    • Buff Spinning Kong's super armor starts earlier and has a longer duration (frames 8-17 → 5-17).
    • Buff The looping hits have received hitboxes that use the autolink angle (80° → 366°) against aerial opponents, allowing them to connect more reliably.
    • Buff The last hit has more base knockback (40 → 60), but less knockback scaling (170 → 157), slightly improving its KO potential overall.
  • Buff Grounded Hand Slap has less startup (frame 15 → 12) and ending lag (FAF 58 → 47).

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 7.0.0

  • Buff Overall shield size has been increased.
  • Buff Donkey Kong's head is briefly intangible when activating and deactivating his shield.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 9.0.0

  • Buff Grounded Headbutt has an additional hitbox against grounded opponents that is placed higher (Y offset: 5u → 13u), increasing its vertical range.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 13.0.1

  • Buff The second hit of neutral attack has more active frames (frames 5-6 → 5-7) and less ending lag (FAF 35 → 32).
  • Buff Down tilt has 5 additional frames of hitstun on all hitboxes.
  • Buff Fully charged Giant Punch has more super armor on both the grounded (frames 11-20 → 9-20) and aerial (frames 17-20 → 15-20) hitboxes.


For a gallery of Donkey Kong's hitboxes, see here.

Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack Jab (ジャブ) / Upper (アッパー) 4% A hook followed by an uppercut. The second hit has above average power for a neutral attack, although generally speaking its KO potential is unimpressive. It can chain into itself fairly reliably at low percentages however.
Forward tilt Kongo Backhand (コンゴバックハンド) 9% A backhanded slap. Can be angled to deal more damage. It grants intangibility to his attacking arm on frames 6-9.
Up tilt Spiderweb Sweep (くもの巣はらい) 10% (hand), 9% (arm), 8% (elbow) An overhead arcing swipe. It deals more damage and knockback if the target is hit near DK's hand. It grants intangibility to his attacking arm on frames 5-11 and is one of the strongest up tilts in the game when sweetspotted.
Down tilt Slouch Slap (ロースラップ, Low Slap) 6% A crouching swat. It has a 40% chance to trip opponents, making it one of his best combo starters. Grants intangibility to his attacking arm (frames 5-7).
Dash attack Rolling Attack (ローリングアタック) 12% (clean), 9% (late) The Roll Attack, his signature attack from Donkey Kong Country. It deals less damage towards its end, granting it combo potential.
Forward smash Dyna Clap (ダイナクラップ) 22% (hands), 21% (arms) A lunging clap. It deals slightly less damage and knockback if it hits with Donkey Kong's arms. It additionally grants intangibility to his head and arms on frames 20-26, effectively giving it disjointed hitboxes, and its ending lag is rather low for a smash attack with 31-32 frames, but its startup is slow, with its hitboxes coming out on frame 22. It’s also one of the more powerful forward smashes, with the uncharged sweetspot KOing Mario at 98% from the center of Final Destination with optimal DI and no rage.
Up smash Jumbo Press (ジャンボプレス) 19% An overhead clap. It grants intangibility to his head and arms (frames 12-15), effectively giving it disjointed hitboxes. It has immense power, being one of the strongest up smashes in the game, with it KOing Mario from the ground level of FD at 92% with optimal DI and no rage. In practice it will KO a bit sooner as it typically hits opponents in the air. Its startup is additionally rather fast for a move of its power (coming out in 14 frames), though it has a lengthy enough duration to be quite punishable (with the move's lasting 49 frames total). However it is hard to hit as its hitboxes are situated straight vertically above DK and aren't that large in size, while it lacks grounded launching hitboxes to launch grounded opponents into it like other vertically-placed up smashes have (e.g. Marcina's and R.O.B.'s up smashes).
Down smash Twin Beat (ツインビート) 14% (arms), 17% (early, fists), 18% (late, fists) Raises his arms overhead and then quickly swings them downward to perform forearm clubs. It grants intangibility to his arms (frames 11-14), effectively giving the move disjointed hitboxes, and is his fastest smash attack startup-wise (frame 11), though it has the highest amount of endlag out of all his smash attacks (with 41 frames of endlag after hitboxes cease, and lasting 55 frames total). Without DI, it is very powerful for a down smash, with the sweetspot KOing Mario from ground level on FD at 109% with no rage, but the move launches at a 70 degree and is thus very susceptible to LSI, where with optimal DI Mario can survive up to 129%, making its KO power underwhelming for a heavily punishable smash attack.
Neutral aerial Donkey Lariat (ドンキーラリアット) 12% (clean), 9% (late) Quickly spins around to perform discus clotheslines with both arms, similarly to Spinning Kong. While it isn't DK's fastest aerial in terms of startup, it does have the longest-lasting hitbox duration and is one of the strongest neutral aerials in the game when hit clean.
Forward aerial Hammer Knuckle (ハンマーナックル) 16% (clean), 15% (late, hands), 13% (late, arms) A double axe handle. If sweetspotted, the opponent is meteor smashed. One of the strongest meteor smashes in the game, killing at around 35% offstage. It appears similar to his midair attack from Donkey Kong 64, which itself was inspired by this attack due to Smash 64 debuting before Donkey Kong 64.
Back aerial Kong Rocket (コングロケット) 13% (clean), 8% (late) A back kick. DK's strongest aerial when hit clean, killing Mario at around 130% from center stage. It is an extremely useful move as a whole due to its speed and power, and if used correctly, it can act as a Wall of Pain. One of the best back aerials in the game.
Up aerial Air Headbutt (エアヘッドバット) 13% An upwards arcing headbutt that appears visually similar to his side special, Headbutt. It grants intangibility to his head on frames 5-10 and is one of the more powerful up aerials, killing Mario at around 140% from ground level. Those features, along with its fast startup and fairly low ending lag, make it a good move for juggling.
Down aerial Air Stampede (エアスタンピード) 16% (foot), 13% (leg) A stomp. Its sweetspot is a strong meteor smash, while its sourspot, which is close to Donkey Kong's chest, deals diagonal knockback. Slightly weaker than his forward aerial, but it has faster startup.
Grab Grab (つかみ) Reaches out with one hand. Donkey Kong's grab range is above average.
Pummel Grab Chop (つかみチョップ) 1.6% Chops the opponent's body. Slow but strong.
Forward throw Kong Karry (リフティング, Lifting) 12% (forward, up), 13% (back), 11% (down) Hauls the opponent on his shoulder, allowing him to move and jump around while still holding the opponent. Appears to be based off of when DK holds an item in Donkey Kong Country, such as a Steel Keg. This gives him access to forward, back, up, and down throws that are distinct from his normal grabs. He also gains Knockback-based Armor when he starts a throw instead of gaining Throw Invulnerability, of which allows him to resist up to 16 Units of Knockback, akin to Bowser's Tough Guy.

Forward: Rears back and violently throws the opponent forward at a high angle. Able to stage spike if Donkey Kong faces the stage center.

Back: Heaves the opponent backwards using both hands, launching them at a slightly higher trajectory than the forwards variant. This is his most damaging cargo throw and possesses the best kill power as well.

Up: Heaves the opponent upwards. It can be used to start combos. It also has decent KO potential, with Donkey Kong able to jump on platforms for extra height.

Down: A bear hug. Donkey Kong gets a small boost upwards when using this move in the air, making it his safest throw offstage.

When the opponent is too damaged to escape in time, all of these throws allow for easy stage spikes. Donkey Kong can simply walk off the edge, pull back and throw them against the underside. However, this carries significant risk, as the opponent can tech it and thus result in DK ending up too far below the edge to recover if his timing is off.

Kong Karry has a unique grab duration, equal to ((90 + 1.7p) * 11 / 6) - g, where p is the opponent's percent at the time of the carry's initiation, and g is the grab time passed prior to it (including button mashing). As a result, it lasts longer the earlier it is initiated after grabbing an opponent. As with standard grabs, button mashing reduces this amount by 8 frames per stick input, and 14.4 frames per button input (though they cannot be registered as quickly).

Back throw Reverse Throw (反転投げ) 11% Flings the opponent backward. DK's most damaging throw and one of the strongest back throws in the game, it KOs even the heaviest of characters below 170% near the edge without rage.
Up throw Coconut Toss (ココナッツトス) 9% Heaves the opponent upward with one arm.
Down throw Bottom Shoot (ボトムシュート) 7% Shoves the opponent into the ground with one arm. It launches opponents horizontally in front of DK. Due to its high ending lag, it has little to no followups and is thus practically useless, despite having low knockback.
Forward roll
Back roll
Spot dodge
Air dodge
Floor attack (front)
Floor getups (front)
  7% Performs a swat before getting up.
Floor attack (back)
Floor getups (back)
  7% Claps behind himself and then in front of himself before getting up.
Floor attack (trip)
Floor getups (trip)
  5% Throws a spinning, wind-up punch while getting up.
Edge attack
Edge getups
  10% Performs a forearm club while climbing up.
Neutral special Giant Punch 10% (uncharged), 28% (tenth wind-up/fully charged grounded), 25% (tenth wind-up/fully charged aerial) A wind-up punch which fully charges after ten wind-ups. When fully-charged, the punch deals excellent damage, grants super armor and is overall faster than if used uncharged. Its charge can be charge canceled and saved, and chosen when to be released after being fully charged. Unlike in Melee, Brawl, and Smash 4, Giant Punch does not induce helplessness in the air, much like in Smash 64.
Side special Headbutt 10% (grounded/sweetspot aerial), 8% (sourspot aerial) A headbutt. The move buries the opponent, who will remain trapped longer if the opponent has already been dealt a fair amount of damage. The aerial version will meteor smash the opponent if they are hit by its sweetspot. The move has super armor during startup, but only in the middle of the animation, providing no protection at the very beginning or the end. It has a deceptively large range and tremendous shield damage, so full power shields will barely manage to avoid breaking against this move.
Up special Spinning Kong 5% (grounded hit 1), 1.4% (grounded hits 2-6), 4% (grounded hit 7), 5% (aerial hit 1), 1% (aerial hits 2-13), 2% (aerial hit 14) Rapidly spins around, trapping opponents and damaging them with a series of discus clotheslines and spinning backfists before launching them. It has good horizontal distance, but very little vertical distance. The grounded version grants Donkey Kong super armor on frame 5, making it a reliable tool for powering through many moves. The grounded version is also a potent KO option, especially at ledge, being able to even KO heavy characters around 70%-80% when used on Battlefield's ledge. Donkey Kong is immune to most windboxes during the move.
Down special Hand Slap 14% (ground), 5% (midair hit 1), 6% (midair hit 2) Slaps the ground to cause earth-shaking vibrations. When grounded, Donkey Kong can keep pounding by repeatedly pressing the special button. The attack gives him some protection from opponents while grounded and has good range, but is unable to KO until extreme percentages due to its very low knockback growth. In midair, Donkey Kong will perform two midair slaps, the second hit being a powerful meteor smash that combos from the first slap. Can combo into a KO confirm with up smash at 60%-80%. Originates from Donkey Kong Country.
Final Smash Jungle Rush 12% (initial hit), 1.2% (rapid hits), 14% (final hit), 61.9% (maximum) Punches forward. If the initial hit connects, Donkey Kong will then perform a long series of rapid punches. Has about the same range as his forward smash, but extremely powerful, killing Mario as low as 24% on Final Destination.


Stats Weight Dash speed Walk speed Traction Air friction Air speed Air acceleration Gravity Falling speed Jumpsquat Jump Height Double jump Height
Value 127 2.09 – Initial dash
1.873 – Run
1.365 0.123 0.015 1.208 0.01 – Base
0.05 – Additional
0.085 1.63 – Base
3 34 - Base
17.3 - Short hop

Announcer call[edit]

Sound.png This article could use additional or higher-quality audio files.
The editor who added this tag suggests: Needs announcer calls from other languages.
If you have a good audio file for this article, upload it here.

On-screen appearance[edit]

  • Bursts out of a DK Barrel, frontflips thrice, lands and strikes a flexing pose.


  • Up taunt: Beats his chest rapidly while scowling.
  • Side taunt: Shakes himself with a humorous expression as if he is drying off.
  • Down taunt: Faces the camera and shrugs while bellowing confusedly with a humorously shocked expression.

Idle poses[edit]

  • Leans forward slightly and assumes a cross-eyed expression, as if trying to stare at his own nose.
  • Lightly punches his open hand and then does a rotational shoulder stretch.

Crowd cheer[edit]

Cheer (English) Cheer (Japanese/Chinese) Cheer (Italian) Cheer (Dutch) Cheer (French)
Custom combination of the flags of Canada, the USA, and Mexico.

Source, tweaked to fix rendering issues
Description D - K! -- Donkey - Kong! Don - key Kong! Donkeeeey Kong! Donkey Kong! Donkey Kong!
Cheer (German) Cheer (Spanish) Cheer (Russian) Cheer (Korean)
Custom combination of the flags of Canada, the USA, and Mexico.

Source, tweaked to fix rendering issues
Description Don - key Kong! Don - key Kong! Don - key Kong! Don - key Kong!

Victory poses[edit]

  • Left: Does a backflip and flexes his arms (his "character chosen" animation in Super Smash Bros.).
  • Up: Holds his hands above his head and shakes them (his animation upon completing a bonus game in Donkey Kong Country). He then continues to shake his hands while constantly looking left to right, as if thanking an offscreen crowd.
  • Right: Angrily beats his chest with a scowl and then looks at the camera.
A cover of the short track that plays in Donkey Kong Country and subsequent games whenever a playable Kong defeated a boss or completed a bonus game.

In competitive play[edit]

Most historically significant players[edit]

See also: Category:Donkey Kong players (SSBU)

  • USA ChunkyKong - One of the best Donkey Kong players of all-time and the only notable Donkey Kong player who solo-mains the character. Initially a Wi-Fi Warrior, he later became known for his performances in the second half of 2022, including placing 17th at Super Smash Con 2022 over SHADIC and 13th at Let's Make Moves Miami over Kola and Aaron. Since then, he remains Donkey Kong's primary representative in North America, having defeated MuteAce at CEO 2023 and Light at MomoCon 2024.
  • Japan HIKARU - Although known for using many characters, he has used Donkey Kong extensively in early-Ultimate and as a secondary or co-main from 2022 onward, and is considered one of the best Donkey Kong players of all-time. He is best known for using Donkey Kong for most of Ultimate Fighting Arena 2022, placing 3rd while defeating Glutonny and Bloom4Eva along the way, marking the best performance for the character at a major. He retired in mid-2023 and has attended a couple of events since.
  • Japan Rarikkusu - One of the best Donkey Kong players in the world since 2023, playing the character alongside Falco. He is best known for defeating Sparg0 at DELTA 8, placing 13th overall, and has also placed 5th at Maesuma TOP 13.5 "U-22" using Donkey Kong to defeat Asimo and 9th at Maesuma'U22.

Tier placement and history[edit]

There was some optimism on Donkey Kong prior to the game's release: although Donkey Kong could no longer easily perform most of his throw-based kill confirms from Smash 4, including his infamous "Ding-Dong" combo, many players noted how Donkey Kong received better frame data, speed, damage, and hitboxes in the E3 demo build. However, the optimism faded very quickly upon the game's release. Players pointed out how many of Donkey Kong's moves were punishable on hit at early percents, making his neutral rather egregious in the early metagame, which favored speed and punish games. In addition, his already poor disadvantage state was also made even worse due to his larger hurtbox and his out of shield options remaining poor. Finally, although Donkey Kong saw some early success from HIKARU, he eventually dropped Donkey Kong for other characters, and no other Donkey Kong player was able to match HIKARU's success, leaving him with below-average representation. As such, although Donkey Kong received a few buffs in subsequent patches, Donkey Kong was widely considered unviable, with a few even calling him one of the worst characters in the game.

2022 became a turning point for Donkey Kong. First, HIKARU began playing Donkey Kong again, and although often only used as a secondary or co-main alongside other characters, it nevertheless gave Donkey Kong some of the best results since the early metagame. Most notable among these results was HIKARU's run at Ultimate Fighting Arena 2022, which saw him use Donkey Kong extensively in top 64, defeating several of Europe's best players including Glutonny and Bloom4Eva, before ultimately placing 3rd. In addition, ChunkyKong, initially known for his online performances, began having a bigger impact on the offline metagame with his strong performances at majors, most notably 13th at Let's Make Moves Miami defeating Kola along the way. With both players ranking in OrionRank 2022's top 100, among a few others also ranked with Donkey Kong despite minimal usage, many players began seeing Donkey Kong in a more positive light, and he was no longer considered a candidate for worst character. This was reflected on his placement on the first tier list, where he was ranked 70th as a lower-mid character. His results would remain around the same in the following year: although HIKARU eventually retired and ChunkyKong's results saw a dip, Rarikkusu would break out onto the Japanese scene and begin placing well at events. As such, Donkey Kong remained around the same on the second tier list, rising slightly to 68th and ranking in the D+ tier.

Classic Mode: Journey to New Donk City[edit]

Donkey Kong's congratulations screen.

Donkey Kong's path chronicles Donkey Kong traveling via plane (Pilotwings) from the jungle (his home stages) to New Donk City (through urban stages, Onett and Moray Towers). After defeating Diddy Kong, he becomes Donkey Kong's partner for the rest of the mode, referencing the original Donkey Kong Country.

Round Opponent Stage Music Notes
1 DiddyKongHeadSSBU.png Diddy Kong Kongo Jungle Jungle Level (64)
2 KingKRoolHeadSSBU.png King K. Rool Kongo Falls Gang-Plank Galleon DiddyKongHeadSSBU.png Diddy Kong is a CPU ally.
3 WarioHeadSSBU.png Wario and CaptainFalconHeadSSBU.png Captain Falcon Pilotwings Gear Getaway
4 NessHeadSSBU.png Ness and LucasHeadSSBU.png Lucas Onett The Map Page / Bonus Level (Remix)
5 InklingHeadSSBU.pngInklingHeadBlueSSBU.png Inkling (x2) Moray Towers Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr. Medley
6 MarioHeadSSBU.png Mario and LuigiHeadSSBU.png Luigi New Donk City Hall New Donk City
Bonus Stage
Final Master Hand New Donk City Hall (Ω form) Master Hand (Less than 7.0 intensity)
Master Hand / Crazy Hand (Intensity 7.0 or higher)
DiddyKongHeadSSBU.png Diddy Kong is a CPU ally.
On intensity 7.0 and higher, Crazy Hand fights alongside Master Hand.

Note: Every stage until Round 6 plays a track from the Donkey Kong universe, no matter what universe the stage originates from.

Note 2: In Round 3, the music and stage also reference the Rocket Barrel levels in Donkey Kong Country Returns, with Gear Getaway being among them.

Note 3: In Round 5, the stage references 25m.

Credits roll after completing Classic Mode. Completing it as Donkey Kong has Donkey Kong Country Returns (Vocals) accompany the credits.

Character unlock tree[edit]

Donkey Kong's Classic Mode character unlock tree includes the following characters in order:

  1. Bowser
  2. Pokémon Trainer
  3. Rosalina & Luma
  4. King Dedede
  5. Sheik
  6. Greninja
  7. Diddy Kong
  8. Duck Hunt

Each character can be unlocked by clearing Donkey Kong's Classic Mode, or the Classic Mode of any preceding character, if all preceding characters have been unlocked. Once all the above characters are unlocked, clearing Classic Mode with any of them will default to Mario's character unlock tree, starting with Sonic.

Role in World of Light[edit]

Finding Donkey Kong in World of Light

Donkey Kong was among the fighters that were summoned to fight against the army of Master Hands.

During the opening cutscene, Donkey Kong was present on the cliffside when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. Galeem's light beams vaporized Donkey Kong offscreen, placing him under Galeem's imprisonment along with the other fighters, excluding Kirby.

He can be rescued in a jungle segment of The Light Realm, on a space that looks like the treehouse where he lives on his series.

Fighter Battle[edit]

No. Image Name Type Power Stage Music
Donkey Kong SSBU.png
Donkey Kong
3,300 Kongo Jungle (Ω form) Jungle Level (64)


Donkey Kong's fighter spirit can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. It is also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 300 Gold. Unlocking Donkey Kong in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As a fighter spirit, it cannot be used in Spirit Battles and is purely aesthetic. His fighter spirit has an alternate version that replaces it with his artwork in Ultimate.

Additionally, Donkey Kong makes an appearance in a few primary (albeit in name only)[1] and support spirits.

In Spirit Battles[edit]

As the main opponent[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters Inspiration
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music Character
SSBU spirit Goomba.png
Goomba Super Mario Series •Tiny Donkey Kong Team DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png×5
1,800 Mushroom Kingdom (Battlefield form) N/A •Defeat an army of fighters Ground Theme - Super Mario Bros.
SSBU spirit Barrel Train.png
Barrel Train Mario Kart Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png
Diddy Kong DiddyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
3,500 Spirit Train •Item: Bullet Bill •The enemy can deal damage by dashing into you
•The enemy has increased attack power
•The enemy has increased move speed
Rainbow Road - Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Donkey Kong
SSBU spirit Flies & Hand.png
Flies & Hand Mario Paint Series •Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
•Tiny Dark Pit DarkPitHeadBrownSSBU.png×4
4,000 Living Room •Assist Trophy Enemies (Flies & Hand)
•Item: Food
•Survive until the timer runs out (1:00)
•Hostile assist trophies will appear
Mario Paint Medley Hand
SSBU spirit Rabbid Kong.png
Rabbid Kong Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle •Bunny Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
1,700 3D Land N/A •The enemy's punches and elbow strikes have increased power Arcade Bunny's Theme
SSBU spirit Donkey Kong & Lady.png
Donkey Kong & Lady Donkey Kong Series •Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png (250 HP)
•Ally: Peach PeachHeadRedSSBU.png (120 HP)
13,500 75m •Item Tidal Wave •You lose if your CPU ally is KO'd
•The enemy has super armor and is hard to launch or make flinch
•Timed stamina battle (1:30)
Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr. Medley Original Donkey Kong (currently known as Cranky Kong)
SSBU spirit Donkey Kong Jr..png
Donkey Kong Jr. Donkey Kong Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
•Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
9,000 Kongo Jungle (hazards off) N/A •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy's throws have increased power
•Reinforcements will appear during the battle
Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr. Medley Original Donkey Kong (Giant Donkey Kong)
SSBU spirit Cranky Kong.png
Cranky Kong Donkey Kong Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
9,700 Jungle Japes •Hazard: Slumber Floor •The floor is sleep-inducing Opening - Donkey Kong
SSBU spirit Swanky Kong.png
Swanky Kong Donkey Kong Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
1,700 Kongo Jungle •Item: Beastball •The enemy is easily distracted by items Funky's Fugue
SSBU spirit Wrinkly Kong.png
Wrinkly Kong Donkey Kong Series •Clear Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
3,500 Luigi's Mansion •Hazard: High Gravity
•Hazard: Low Gravity
•Your jumping power decreases when the enemy's at high damage
•The enemy is less affected by gravity
•The enemy starts with damage but is more powerful
The Map Page / Bonus Level (Remix)
SSBU spirit Chunky Kong.png
Chunky Kong Donkey Kong Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
3,800 Jungle Japes N/A •The enemy's punches and elbow strikes have increased power DK Rap
SSBU spirit Rambi.png
Rambi Donkey Kong Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
9,100 Kongo Falls (Ω form) N/A •The enemy can deal damage by dashing into you Jungle Level (Brawl)
SSBU spirit Professor Chops.png
Professor Chops Donkey Kong Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
1,700 Kongo Falls •Item: Banana Peel •The enemy can instantly escape from movement-disabling moves Jungle Hijinxs Super Kong
SSBU spirit Ninja Kong.png
Ninja Kong Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png
1,900 Distant Planet (Battlefield form) N/A •The enemy's kicks and knee strikes have increased power
•The enemy favors side specials
Battle for Storm Hill
SSBU spirit Goron.png
Goron The Legend of Zelda Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
1,700 The Great Cave Offensive (Battlefield form) •Item: Bob-omb •The enemy's dash attacks have increased power
•The enemy favors dash attacks
Hidden Mountain & Forest
SSBU spirit Darunia.png
Darunia The Legend of Zelda Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
Jigglypuff JigglypuffHeadBlueSSBU.png×8
1,400 Gerudo Valley (Battlefield form) •Hazard: Lava Floor •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The floor is lava
•The enemy starts the battle with a Hammer
Hidden Mountain & Forest
SSBU spirit Daruk.png
Daruk The Legend of Zelda Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png (180 HP)
4,300 Find Mii (Battlefield form) •Hazard: Lava Floor •The floor is lava
Stamina battle
•The enemy's shield has extra durability
Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer BGM
SSBU spirit Bonkers.png
Bonkers Kirby Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSBU.png
8,400 Kongo Jungle N/A •The enemy starts the battle with a Hammer
•The enemy can swing the Hammer for a long time
Forest Stage
SSBU spirit Gengar.png
Gengar Pokémon Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSBU.png
4,300 Luigi's Mansion (Battlefield form) •Hazard: Slumber Floor •The floor is sleep-inducing Pokémon Red / Pokémon Blue Medley
SSBU spirit Abomasnow.png
Abomasnow Pokémon Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
2,300 Summit (Battlefield form) •Item: Freezie
•Hazard: Ice Floor
•The floor is frozen
•The enemy is weak to fire attacks
•Only certain Pokémon will emerge from Poké Balls (Abomasnow)
Battle! (Wild Pokémon) - Pokémon Diamond / Pokémon Pearl
SSBU spirit Landorus (Therian Forme).png
Landorus (Therian Forme) Pokémon Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
9,200 Gerudo Valley (hazards off) •Earthquake •Periodic earthquakes will shake the stage after a little while N's Castle
SSBU spirit Bewear.png
Bewear Pokémon Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadPinkSSBU.png
3,500 Kongo Jungle N/A •The enemy has super armor but moves slower
•Only certain Pokémon will emerge from Poké Balls (Bewear)
Battle! (Trainer) - Pokémon Sun / Pokémon Moon
SSBU spirit Polar Bear.png
Polar Bear Ice Climber Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png (160 HP)
9,300 Summit (Battlefield form) •Earthquake
•Item: Freezie
•The enemy has super armor but moves slower
Stamina battle
•Periodic earthquakes will shake the stage
Ice Climber (Melee)
SSBU spirit Purple Pikmin.png
Purple Pikmin Pikmin Series •Tiny Donkey Kong Team DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSBU.png×10 (20 HP)
3,500 Distant Planet N/A Stamina battle
•The enemy deals damage when falling
•Reinforcements will appear after an enemy is KO'd
Forest of Hope
Mr Sandman
Mr. Sandman Punch-Out!! Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png (160 HP)
9,700 Boxing Ring •Hazard: Slumber Floor •The floor is sleep-inducing
•The enemy's smash attacks have increased power
Stamina battle
Minor Circuit (Original)
SSBU spirit Blanka.png
Blanka Street Fighter Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSBU.png (140 HP)
3,700 Jungle Japes •Jump Power ↓ Stamina battle
•All fighters have reduced jump power
•The enemy starts the battle with a Screw Attack
Blanka Stage Type A
SSBU spirit Master Giant.png
Master Giant Super Smash Bros. Series •Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png (160 HP)
9,900 Final Destination Bob-omb Festival •Bob-ombs will rain from the sky after a little while
•The enemy has super armor and is hard to launch or make flinch
Stamina battle
Master Core
Muddy Mole Mania
Muddy Mole Mole Mania Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
1,700 The Great Cave Offensive (Battlefield form) •Item: Pitfall •Take your strongest team into this no-frills battle Kirby Retro Medley (Float Islands)
Sumo Brothers
Sumo Brothers Rhythm Heaven Series North America
Rhythm Paradise Series PAL
•Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.pngDonkeyKongHeadBlueSSBU.png
1,900 Arena Ferox (Ω form) •Earthquake •The enemy's physical attacks have increased power
•Periodic earthquakes will shake the stage
•The enemy loves to taunt
E. Honda Stage Type B Red Sumo Brother (red costume)
Blue Sumo Brother (purple costume)
SSBU spirit Bottles.png
Bottles Banjo-Kazooie Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png
3,900 Spiral Mountain (Bottles) •Invisibility
•Item: Pitfall
•The enemy is invisible
•The enemy favors side specials
•The enemy is easily distracted by items
Spiral Mountain
SSBU spirit Goda.png
Goda River City Series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSBU.png
Diddy Kong DiddyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
2,000 Onett •Item: Battering Types •Defeat the main fighter to win
•The enemy's side special has increased power
•The enemy favors side specials
Golden Forest
SSBU spirit Master Mummy.png
Master Mummy ARMS Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
3,400 Dracula's Castle (Ω form) N/A •The enemy has super armor but moves slower
•The enemy favors grabs and throws
SSBU spirit Jack-7.png
Jack-7 Tekken series Donkey Kong Team DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSBU.png×5 (70 HP)
1,800 Mishima Dojo N/A •The enemy has super armor but moves slower
Stamina battle
•The enemy favors neutral specials
Abyss of Time Jack-4s

As a minion[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters Inspiration
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music Character
SSBU spirit Pauline.png
Pauline Super Mario Series Peach PeachHeadRedSSBU.png
Mario MarioHeadWhiteSSBU.png
•Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
13,700 75m (hazards off) •Jump Power ↓ •Defeat the main fighter to win
•You have reduced jump power
•Reinforcements will appear during the battle
The enemy tends to avoid conflict
Jump Up, Super Star! Original Donkey Kong
SSBU spirit Funky Kong.png
Funky Kong Donkey Kong Series Captain Falcon CaptainFalconHeadBlueSSBU.png
Diddy Kong DiddyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
9,000 Kongo Jungle •Item: Bullet Bill •The enemy is easily distracted by items Funky's Fugue Donkey Kong
SSBU spirit Zelda (Breath of the Wild).png
Zelda (Breath of the Wild) The Legend of Zelda Series Zelda ZeldaHeadBlueSSBU.png (50 HP)
Link LinkHeadWhiteSSBU.png (60 HP)
Inkling InklingHeadPinkSSBU.png (30 HP)
Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png (60 HP)
Falco FalcoHeadBlueSSBU.png (50 HP)
Zero Suit Samus ZeroSuitSamusHeadShortsBlueSSBU.png (50 HP)
9,200 Great Plateau Tower N/A Stamina battle
•Reinforcements will appear after an enemy is KO'd
•Defeat an army of fighters
Main Theme - The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Daruk
from the game's files
Hockey Players Ice Hockey Dr. Mario DrMarioHeadBlueSSBU.png
Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Luigi LuigiHeadWhiteSSBU.png
1,500 Pokémon Stadium (Ω form) •Slippery Stage •The stage's platforms are very slippery Core Luge Large hockey player
SSBU spirit Kyo Kusanagi.png
Kyo Kusanagi THE KING OF FIGHTERS Series Captain Falcon CaptainFalconHeadBlackSSBU.png
Pikachu PikachuHeadSSBU.png
Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
9,500 King of Fighters Stadium •Jump Power ↓ •The enemy's explosion and fire attacks have increased power
•Reinforcements will appear after an enemy is KO'd
•All fighters have reduced jump power
ESAKA!! - KOF 2002 UM Goro Daimon

Alternate costumes[edit]

Donkey Kong Palette (SSBU).png
DonkeyKongHeadSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png DonkeyKongHeadPinkSSBU.png


Fighter Showcase Video[edit]


  • Donkey Kong's pose in his official render resembles the pose he assumes after using Giant Punch.
  • Donkey Kong, Joker and Sephiroth are the only characters to face Master Hand and Crazy Hand on a stage other than Final Destination, not counting the Master Hand glitch in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • Donkey Kong is the only one of those three who is not a DLC character.
  • Though Donkey Kong's Final Smash has been updated to Jungle Rush, the DK Bongos from his previous Final Smash, Konga Beat, remain within his character files. Despite being unused, the model's textures have been updated.[1]
  • The tip of Donkey Kong's second tuft of hair is not closed off, letting players see inside his model with the camera.[2]


1.^ Due to Cranky Kong being the original Donkey Kong, the "Donkey Kong & Lady" Spirit technically features him instead of his grandson, the current Donkey Kong.