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 Smash Bros. appearances in SSB
in Melee
in Brawl
in SSB4
Availability Starter
Final Smash Jungle Rush
His charged punch is one of the strongest attacks in the game! In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, his Final Smash has been updated from Konga Beat to a flurry of punches!
Super Smash Blog, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Official Site

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkey Kong) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He was confirmed on June 12th, 2018. Donkey Kong is classified as fighter #02.

Donkey Kong retains his realistic gorilla grunts from Super Smash Bros. 4.


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 is one of the faster heavyweights in the game: his ground speed, aerial movement and attack speed are relatively fast, having the 9th fastest walking speed and the 27th fastest dashing speed, above average falling speed and gravity, and the 16th fastest air speed, but below average air acceleration.

A typical heavyweight is expected to possess moves with much power, and Donkey Kong is no exception to this and 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 at worst: his smash attacks, aerials, back throw, and Giant Punch are his primary examples. His ability to take stocks due to powerful attacks is made easier with his decent approach. His aforementioned mobility and large size gives him an effective grounded approach and allow longer range for a character of his size, combined allows him to have a easier time to fight in close range and land his attacks on opponents. Another common trait that his archetype grants him is very solid survivability, with his aforementioned high weight and above-average falling speed. This allows Donkey Kong to have the second best vertical and horizontal endurance in the game, being surpassed by only King Dedede vertically and Bowser and King K. Rool 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, act as an anti-air, and hits through low platforms such as the ones on Battlefield. Down tilt allows him to have a long range crouching option and has a chance to trip opponents. Dash attack being a combo starter and a KO option at low and high percents, respectively. All of his smash attacks are notoriously strong and aren't very slow, mainly his option for KOs or hard reads. His grounded options having their own utility can also be said for his aerial game. His forward and down aerials are some of his best edgeguarding tools due to it meteor smashing. His neutral aerial is his fastest aerial, hard to interrupt and help him break out of combos. His up aerial works as a vertical KO option if the certain situation he's in allows for it, and is safe as his head is intangible during the attack. His back aerial is up there with his forward tilt for his most effective spacing tool and is debatably even better, being fast, long-ranged, and has a sex kick-like hitbox having a long duration. His air speed allows his aerial moves to be used at their fullest potential and, with the exception of forward aerial, are all decently fast. Another part of his playstyle which is very well-known is his grab game, allowing set-ups into his moveset and has above-average range. Although his down throw has little to no usage, everything else suffices: His pummel is slower compared to many others in the cast, but deals decent damage, up throw allows some combo potential into his moves, back throw is his primary throw to close out stocks, but his forward throw is easily his most useful one and possibly the most unique part of the 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 (with the exception of being able to use his other moves and having a double jump). Forward throw also gives Donkey Kong different types of throws for the certain direction basically giving him eight throws, these ones are commonly known as the "cargo throws". Cargo forward and down throw work as niche edgeguarding options, with cargo down throw even being a semi-spike. Cargo back throw has a large damage output and can KO at very high percentages if Donkey Kong is near the upper blast line. It also has its utility as a stage spike unless his opponent is able to properly tech the throw. Finally, cargo up throw allows more combo potential than his vanilla Up throw being able to combo into his aerials at low percents.

Donkey Kong's special moves are also helpful for his gameplan. Giant Punch is his surprise KO and punish move, be used to pressure the opponent, and if fully charged has super armor upon using it. 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 also does deceptively shield damage, allowing him to have a shield pressure option or 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 on the ground and its hitbox only deals damage on the ground. The aerial Hand Slap is his last move which can meteor smash and is fast, making it an effective and easy one to land. His final special move, Spinning Kong, acts similar to Bowser's Whirling Fortress as his primary out of shield option, it's hard to disrupt and is a multi-hit with high damage. In the air, it works as a incredibly fast horizontal recovery option and deals a lot of damage if all the hits connect.

However despite his versatile moveset and high power, Donkey Kong falls into a plethora of problems. His defensive game is rather poor and unfortunately common for a character of his size. While his large size and weight gives him very high endurance and the reason his range is better when compared to other characters like Mario and Squirtle, it becomes a problem when having to dodge attacks which is hard for he is a very large target. Funnily enough, just like those two previously mentioned fighters, he commonly has trouble dealing with characters that have disjoints mainly due to his lack of projectiles, mainly 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 large size also causes him to be vulnerable to combos and juggling, worsened by his lack of combo breakers (outside of neutral aerial) and the reintroduction of directional air dodges makes his aerial defense even more linear, having it made worse with its higher ending lag for all characters, but it debatably hurts a character such as Donkey Kong the most.

In spite of having fast startup in many moves, Donkey Kong's moveset is made much slower by its ending lag. This forces him to be more careful with the moves he used as he can be drastically punished for just putting out one attack, and this is made harder to stop due to his aforementioned limited defense. A lot of his moves are also limited despite their strengths: his smash attacks are slow and have very linear hitboxes, throws outside of the ones that are his "cargo throws" don't have much usage, Giant Punch forces Donkey Kong to get up-close to the opponent to land the attack and needs to be charged for it to even be effective, Headbutt and Hand Slap are both slow causing them to be very hard moves to use for their initial purpose, and Spinning Kong, while having long horizontal recovery distance gets little to no recovery distance vertically, and is prone to edgeguarding with moves such as Captain Falcon and Falco's down air.

Overall, Donkey Kong is a character that excels in power and pressure, but has a hard time working well in his matchups if the opponent finds just one opening. His approach and speed are far from being fundamentally awful, but is hard to give credit when he looks sluggish in comparison to characters who work better in both regards. In the current state of Ultimate's metagame, Donkey Kong's representation is nearly nonexistent and has drastically dropped from Smash 4, with many players dropping him or being inactive. His most noticeable player, Konga, hasn't attended many events and gathered somewhat lackluster placements after Don't Park on the Grass 2018. So far, he's considered a unviable character and outclassed by many other heavyweights.

Changes from Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Donkey Kong received a mix of buffs and nerfs in his transition to Ultimate, but was generally nerfed overall.

One notable buff is that his Giant Punch no longer makes him helpless when used in air, giving him a new edgeguarding option, as well as improvements to his forward throw give him a lot more options out of a grab. Donkey Kong's already-impressive KO power got buffed, as most of his moves do more knockback. Donkey Kong also benefits from the universal changes, as his already great mobility has improved from faster walking and dashing speeds. Donkey Kong also benefits from the universal 3-frame jumpsquat change, as it allows for more combo opportunities.

However Donkey Kong has also received some notable nerfs. Like Bowser, Donkey Kong's biggest nerf is that his cargo up throw now has more knockback which, while having great kill potential, severely hampers his infamous "Ding Dong" kill confirm of cargo up throw to up aerial. This, along with the nerfs to rage, worsens Donkey Kong's ability to KO at earlier percents. To make matters worse for the nerf to Ding Dong, Donkey Kong is one of the characters who suffers the most from the universal nerfing of grabs. This means that it is less safe for him to use a grab for combos, and Donkey Kong will need to find a way to be unpredictable with combos.

In the end, Donkey Kong's nerfs outweigh his buffs, making him fare worse than in Smash 4. His overall perception has been negative, while he was initially believed to be improved from already his good standing from SSB4, with Donkey Kong doing exceptionally well in tournaments during the first few weeks of Ultimate. This made many professionals believe that Donkey Kong is potentially a top 15-20 character. However, as Ultimate's metagame evolved, his tournament representation went down significantly to the point where his overall representation in tournaments is rather poor, unlike his strong representation in SSB4. Currently the general consensus is that he is a low-tier character, with a few professionals such as ESAM and Mew2King, both of whom consider him a bottom 10 contender. Until further notice, Donkey Kong’s tier placement remains debatable.


  • Change As with all veterans returning from Smash 4, Donkey Kong's model features a more subdued color scheme. His fur is less detailed, and his facial proportions have been tweaked. His nose has also been updated to match its appearance in Mario Party 10 onwards.
  • Change Donkey Kong now faces the foreground at an angle, instead of facing directly forward. In addition, most of his animations are now mirrored while some are slightly altered, such as his walk/dash animations.
  • Change Like most of the returning roster, Donkey Kong has become much more expressive than in the previous games. For example, he now scowls when he charges his Giant Punch.
  • Change Up taunt has a slightly altered animation.
  • Change Donkey Kong now hangs onto the ledge with one hand instead of two.
  • Change Donkey Kong's hand shaking victory pose has an altered animation. He now looks at the camera at the freeze frame and shakes his hands as opposed to his whole body afterwards.
  • Change Donkey Kong's chest beating victory pose has been slightly altered. He now maintains an angrier expression.


  • Buff Like all characters, Donkey Kong's jumpsquat animation now takes 3 frames to complete (down from 6).
  • Change 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.
  • Buff Donkey Kong walks slightly faster (1.3 → 1.365).
  • Buff Donkey Kong runs faster (1.7031 → 1.873).
    • Buff Donkey Kong's initial dash speed is faster (1.6 → 2.09).
  • Buff Donkey Kong's air speed is slightly higher (1.15 → 1.208).
  • Buff Donkey Kong's traction is much higher (0.0529 → 0.123).
  • Change Donkey Kong's gravity is slightly lower (0.08505 → 0.085).
  • 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.
      • Nerf However, its total duration remains unchanged, giving it more ending lag.
    • 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 Forward tilt 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, forward tilt has higher base knockback (10 → 50), but lower knockback scaling (100 → 55). This makes it safer on hit at low percents, but hinders its KO potential.
      • Nerf Due to its higher base knockback, downward angled forward tilt can no longer cause tripping.
  • Up tilt:
    • Nerf Up tilt deals less damage (11%/10%/9% → 10%/9%/8%) without compensation on knockback, hindering its KO potential.
    • Buff The sweetspot is now on the hand instead of the shoulder, making it easier to land overall.
  • Down tilt:
    • Buff Down tilt has less startup lag (frame 7 → 6).
    • 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.
    • Change The hitboxes on Donkey Kong's arm deal less damage (7% → 6%) without compensation on knockback. However, this allows them to trip opponents for longer.
    • Change Its animation has been altered.
  • Dash attack:
    • Buff Dash attack 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 considerably easier to DI.
  • Forward smash:
    • Buff Forward smash deals more damage (20%/19% → 22%/21%), with knockback partly compensated (30/25 base/91 scaling → 21/18 base/88/86 scaling).
    • Change Its animation has been altered.
  • Up smash:
    • Buff Up smash 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, and allows it to hit larger fighters on the ground.

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 Neutral aerial's hitboxes are larger (5u/4u → 5.5u/4.5u).
  • Forward aerial:
    • Buff Forward aerial's 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 although its interruptibility and late auto-cancel window were compensated.
  • Up aerial:
    • Nerf Up aerial grants less intangibility on Donkey Kong's head (frames 1-10 → 5-10), being more in line with the duration of the hitboxes.
    • Nerf Up aerial has an altered animation, reducing its range behind Donkey Kong.

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, similar to his appearance in the arcade Donkey Kong game. It also more closely resembles his carrying animation from Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
    • Buff Cargo forward throw deals more damage (10% → 12%) without proper compensation on knockback (80 base/50 scaling → 90/46), improving its KO potential.
    • Buff Cargo back throw deals more damage (12% → 13%) and knockback (70 base/50 scaling → 85/52), allowing it to KO middleweights under 175% from the ground.
    • Change Cargo back throw has a new animation: Donkey Kong holds the opponent with both hands by the legs and hurls them behind himself.
    • Buff Cargo up throw deals more damage (10% → 12%) and knockback (58 base/52 scaling → 65/53), allowing it to KO middleweights under 200% from the ground. It also has increased combo potential at low to mid percents when used on the ground, due to Donkey Kong's faster jumpsquat and jump speed.
      • Nerf Its increased knockback noticeably worsens its combo potential, especially into up aerial, no longer leading into guaranteed KOs off the top blast line except if initiated on platforms.
    • Change Cargo down throw has a new animation: Donkey Kong performs a bearhug instead of throwing the opponent downward.
    • Buff Cargo down throw deals more damage (7% → 11%).
      • Buff It grants Donkey Kong a slight boost upwards if used in the air, increasing its offstage utility.
      • Nerf It has altered knockback (50 base/80 scaling → 70/45), removing its ability to chain grab opponents on moving platforms (such as Smashville's) or against walls, while still lacking KO ability at realistic percents.
  • 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 Giant Punch has less lag when charge-canceled by shielding (8 frames → 4), making it safer to charge. It can also 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 The move reaches its full charge faster (154 frames → 131).
    • Buff It no longer causes helplessness when used in the air, much like in Smash 64.
    • Buff Fully charged Giant Punch deals slightly more knockback that is consistent throughout (10 base/80/50 scaling → 20/78).
    • Buff Fully charged Giant Punch's mid-arm hitbox is larger (5u → 6.5u).
    • Nerf It no longer has a hitbox on frame 18 that hits behind Donkey Kong.
    • Nerf Uncharged Giant Punch deals less knockback (15 base/100 scaling → 45/70).
    • Change Donkey Kong charges Giant Punch with either arm due to his mirrored stance. 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. Additionally, his expression slowly gets angrier as he charges (including maintaining the expression throughout other animations after its charge), and he has an altered pose upon using the punch.
    • Change 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 Donkey Kong's custom moves in SSB4.
    • Change Fully charged Giant Punch triggers Special Zoom upon hitting an opponent.
  • Headbutt:
    • Buff Headbutt has super armor on frames 5-14.
    • Buff It has one frame less ending lag (FAF 64 → 63).
  • Spinning Kong:
    • Buff Spinning Kong's loop hits connect more reliably, especially for the aerial version. The grounded version's loop hits hold the opponent in place rather than knocking them back and fourth.
    • Buff The move has less landing lag (40 frames → 38).
    • 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 Grounded Hand Slap has less startup lag (frame 18 → 15).
    • Buff Both the grounded and aerial versions have drastically less ending lag (FAF 75 → 58 (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 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 that comprises of a single punch that, if successfully landed, leads to a series of rapid punches that traps and launches the opponent. The move, alongside the comical bongo noises it produces, are based off Donkey Kong's attacks in Donkey Kong Jungle Beat.

Update history[edit]

Donkey Kong has been buffed in game updates, although mostly just for fixing inconsistencies like forward aerial not autocanceling properly, an issue that had been present since Melee, and Giant Punch missing opponents point-blank due to the hitbox shifting in the Z-axis.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 1.2.0

  • Change Donkey Kong was affected in 1.2.0. However, 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. This removes its blind spot against opponents at point-blank range.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 3.1.0

  • Buff Fully charged Giant Punch no longer loses super armor when transitioning from the air to the ground during its super armor frames.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate 4.0.0

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


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

  Name Damage Description
Neutral attack   4% A hook followed by an uppercut.
Forward tilt   9% A backhanded slap. Can be angled to deal more damage.
Up tilt   10% (hand), 9% (arm), 8% (elbow) An overhead arcing swipe. It deals more damage and knockback if the target is hit near DK's shoulder.
Down tilt Slouch Slap 6% A crouching swat. It has a chance to trip opponents.
Dash attack   12% (clean), 9% (late) The Roll Attack, his signature attack from Donkey Kong Country. It deals less damage towards its end.
Forward smash   22% (hands), 21% (arms) A lunging clap. It deals slightly less damage if it hits with Donkey Kong's arms.
Up smash   19% An overhead clap.
Down smash   14% (arms), 17% (early, fists), 18% (late, fists) Raises his arms overhead and then quickly swings them downward to perform forearm clubs.
Neutral aerial   11% (clean), 8% (late) Quickly spins around to perform discus clotheslines with both arms, similarly to Spinning Kong.
Forward aerial   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, KOing at around 35%. It appears similar to his midair attack from Donkey Kong 64, which itself was inspired by this attack due to SSB debuting before Donkey Kong 64.
Back aerial   13% (clean), 8% (late) A back kick.
Up aerial   13% An upward headbutt.
Down aerial   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.
Grab   Reaches out.
Pummel   1.6% A slap. A fairly fast pummel.
Forward throw Kong Karry 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.

Forward: Launches foes away from DK at a high angle.

Back: Heaves the opponent backward using both hands, launching them at a slightly higher trajectory.

Up: Heaves the opponent upward.

Down: A bear hug.

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 its own unique Grab mash frame equation, that being 163 + Ceiling[3.2 * Opponent's %] - 18 * N (valid inputs) - n (time held before cargo + previous mash before cargo). For the time held and the previous mash, the Ultimate grab equation would have to be used, which is 89 + Ceiling[1.7 * Opponent's %] - floor[14.4 or 8 (Button or Directional mashing) * N (valid inputs)] holding frames.

Back throw   11% Flings the opponent backward. DK's most damaging throw, it KOs even the heaviest characters in the game below 170% near the edge without rage.
Up throw   9% Heaves the opponent upward with one arm.
Down throw   7% Shoves the opponent into the ground with one arm. It launches opponents horizontally in front of DK.
Floor attack (front)   7% Performs a swat before getting up.
Floor attack (back)   7% Claps behind himself and then in front of himself before getting up.
Floor attack (trip)   5% Throws a spinning, wind-up punch while getting up.
Edge attack   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 charge canceled and saved, and chosen when to be released after being fully charged. DK will lose his midair jump if he uses the attack in the air.
Side special Headbutt 10% (grounded/sweetspot aerial), 8% (sourspot aerial) A headbutt. The move buries the opponent, who will remain submerged longer if the opponent has already 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 from the startup until the hitbox appears. It has a deceptively large range and high 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. Good horizontal distance, but very little vertical distance.
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. 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 same range as his forward smash, but extremely powerful, KOing Mario as low as 24% on Final Destination.

On-screen appearance[edit]

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


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

Idle Poses[edit]

  • Makes a cross-eyed expression, as if trying to stare at his own nose.
  • Fist claps his hand, and makes a rotational shoulder stretch.

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)
  • Right: Angrily beats his chest 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]

Donkey Kong was met in the E3 demo build with a degree of cautious optimism. Although the "Ding Dong" combo was removed from the game along with other similar throw-based kill confirms from Smash 4, DK players were willing to do away with this in favor of better frame data, damage, and hitboxes, most notably on his tilts and Dash Attack. His improved speed, on top of all of this, had players even more excited and hopeful that he would have a different play style from Bowser. Even if he was perceived in the demo to be one of the worst heavyweights available (perceived to be only marginally better than Ridley, players were excited for this new Donkey Kong and had wondered how he would fare in competitive play.

When the game actually came out, however, DK fell out of favor very quickly, for a lot of reasons, the big one being his low-percent safety. A lot of Donkey Kong's moves being punishable on hit at early percents made neutral rather egregious, especially in a meta favoring speed and punish games. Although Donkey Kong has been buffed in patches, none of Donkey Kong's biggest flaws were addressed. As a result, in the current metagame, he sees use as an occasional counterpick, but not much more beyond that; however, some players have been able to come to terms with his flaws and get impressive results nonetheless, namely Erikumu and Doctor A Ness.

Notable players[edit]



Classic Mode: Journey to New Donk City[edit]

Donkey Kong's congratulations screen.

Donkey Kong's path chronicles Donkey Kong traveling from his home to New Donk City via plane. 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 Diddy Kong DiddyKongHeadSSBU.png Kongo Jungle Jungle Level (64)
2 King K. Rool KingKRoolHeadSSBU.png Kongo Falls Gang-Plank Galleon DiddyKongHeadSSBU.png Diddy Kong is a CPU ally.
3 Wario WarioHeadSSBU.png and Captain Falcon CaptainFalconHeadSSBU.png Pilotwings Gear Getaway
4 Ness NessHeadSSBU.png and Lucas LucasHeadSSBU.png Onett The Map Page / Bonus Level (Remix)
5 Inklings InklingHeadSSBU.pngInklingHeadBlueSSBU.png Moray Towers Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr. Medley
6 Mario MarioHeadSSBU.png and Luigi LuigiHeadSSBU.png 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.

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

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

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 Grab 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 500 coins. 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. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.

Additionally, Donkey Kong makes an appearance in a few Primary and Support Spirits.

In Spirit battles[edit]

As the main opponent[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music
Goomba Spirit.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.
Barrel Train Spirit.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!!
Flies Hand Spirit.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
•Hostile assist trophies will appear
Mario Paint Medley
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
Donkey Kong & Lady.png
Donkey Kong & Lady Donkey Kong series •Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
•Ally: Peach PeachHeadRedSSBU.png
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
Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr. Medley
Donkey Kong Jr. Donkey Kong series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
•Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
9,000 Kongo Jungle 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
Cranky Kong Donkey Kong series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
9,700 Jungle Japes •Hazard: Slumber Floor •The floor is sleep-inducing Opening - Donkey Kong
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
Wrinkly Kong Spirit.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)
Chunky Kong Spirit.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
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)
Professor Chops Spirit.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
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
Goron Spirit.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
Darunia Spirit.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
Daruk The Legend of Zelda series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
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
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
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
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
Landorus Therian Spirit.png
Landorus (Therian Forme) Pokémon series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
9,200 Gerudo Valley •Earthquake •Periodic earthquakes will shake the stage after a little while N's Castle
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 Spirits Polar Bear.png
Polar Bear Ice Climber series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadWhiteSSBU.png
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)
Purple Pikmin Spirit.png
Purple Pikmin Pikmin series •Tiny Donkey Kong Team DonkeyKongHeadBlueSSBU.png (×10)
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.png
Mr. Sandman Punch-Out!! series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
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)
Blanka Street Fighter series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadGreenSSBU.png
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
Spirits master giant.png
Master Giant Super Smash Bros. Series •Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png
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.png
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 Float Islands
Sumo Brothers.png
Sumo Brothers Rythm Heaven series •Giant Donkey Kong (×2) (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
Bottles Spirit.png
Bottles Banjo-Kazooie series Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadBlackSSBU.png
1,900 Spiral Mountain •Invisibility
•Item: Pitfall
•The enemy is invisible
•The enemy favors side specials
•The enemy is easily distracted by items
Spiral Mountain

As a minion[edit]

Spirit Battle parameters Inspiration
No. Image Name Series Enemy Fighter(s) Type Power Stage Rules Conditions Music Character
Pauline spirit.png
Pauline Super Mario series Peach PeachHeadRedSSBU.png
Mario MarioHeadWhiteSSBU.png
•Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadRedSSBU.png
13,700 75m •Jump Power ↓ •Defeat the main fighter to win
•You have reduced jump power
•Reinforcements will appear during the battle
Jump Up, Super Star! Original Donkey Kong (currently known as Cranky Kong)
Donkey Kong Jr. Donkey Kong series •Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
•Giant Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
9,000 Kongo Jungle 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
Funky Kong Spirit.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
Zelda (Breath of the Wild) The Legend of Zelda series Zelda ZeldaHeadBlueSSBU.png
Link LinkHeadWhiteSSBU.png
Inkling InklingHeadPinkSSBU.png
Donkey Kong DonkeyKongHeadYellowSSBU.png
Falco FalcoHeadBlueSSBU.png
Zero Suit Samus ZeroSuitSamusHeadShortsBlueSSBU.png
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
Hockey Players Spirit.png
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

Alternate costumes[edit]

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


Character Showcase video[edit]


  • Donkey Kong and Joker's Classic Mode routes are the only time in the Super Smash Bros. series where Master Hand is not fought on the respective game's Final Destination, not counting the Master Hand glitch in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
    • Donkey Kong is also one of only two characters whose final round takes place on New Donk City Hall's ᘯ form. The other is Bowser who faces Mario (before transforming into Metal Mario upon defeat).
  • Donkey Kong's Classic Mode battle against Master Hand is the only one in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where he fights alongside a CPU ally, and yet, does not have a guaranteed battle against both Master Hand and Crazy Hand unless the difficulty is at 7.0 or above.
  • 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.[2]