Donkey Kong rapidly spins with his arms outstretched, dealing multiple clothesline attacks. This move gains very little vertical height, but it goes almost as far horizontally as Meta Knight's Mach Tornado, making it a rather effective recovery move. When used on the ground, Spinning Kong can be used in a fashion similar to Bowser's Whirling Fortress; it can be used out of the shield, or as a disruptive tactic. Spinning Kong can also act as a pseudo shield for some projectiles, or out of shield in Ultimate or Melee due to its well-defended nature (Super armor in Ultimate, intangibility in Melee). The protection the move provides overall also makes it useful for recovery.
In all games, the aerial version of Spinning Kong does high amounts of damage if all hits connect (which is quite difficult to do). It does 12% in SSB, 33% in Melee, 36% in Brawl and SSB4, and 19% in Ultimate, making it the second most damaging up special in the series following Lucas in first with PK Thunder 2, which can do 43%. In Brawl, Smash 4, and Ultimate the grounded version of Spinning Kong grants super armor on frames 5-17 as of 6.0.0; just before the hitbox comes out. The landing lag animation after the helpless animation has also been changed, causing Donkey Kong to fall onto his back after finishing the move high up in the air, leaving him vulnerable for a moment - but this can be avoided if the move ends close to the ground.
An oddity in Brawl will occur if Donkey Kong leaves the ground when using as the grounded version of Spinning Kong, the launch resistance will last for the entire move instead of only the few startup frames, but no vertical height will be gained. In SSB4, Donkey Kong can no longer go offstage at the ledge when using the move on the ground. In Melee, it is the most damaging up special move when used aerially.
In Melee, Spinning Kong was especially notable for hitting on Frame 3, while having intangibility on Frames 3-5. In the air it became only stronger, hitting on Frame 2 while still retaining the invincibility frames (2-5 specifically). Thanks to its large range, this made it among the most powerful ways to break combos in the game. The knockback on the grounded version was also quite staggering for its speed, KOing Mario from around 130% on Battlefield center stage with DI.
In Brawl, Spinning Kong also has the extremely rare ability to completely negate all momentum, both horizontally and vertically upon its first frame of activation. If used correctly (combined with good DI and use of his fast back aerial), Spinning Kong can prevent DK from getting KO'd and can survive longer than any character in the game, including Bowser. Bucket brakes's momentum canceling is only considered superior because it does not put Mr. Game & Watch in a helpless state.
In the first three games, the grounded move consists of only one hit dealing 10% damage. It has decent horizontal knockback, being an effective edgeguarding move, out of shield move and combo finisher. Additionally, when DK lands after using the move and he falls off the edge within the first few frames of landing, he will still be in helpless state.
In Smash 4, the grounded Spinning Kong no longer spins horizontally, instead spinning in a slight angle dependent on the direction he starts the move, increasing the attack's vertical range. It also hits multiple times and deals much less damage as opposed to Brawl, doing 7% on the first hit, five 1% hits, and a moderate knockback finisher that does 4% for a total of 17%, making the grounded version a better out of shield move. The aerial Spinning Kong still has its extremely effective horizontal recovery and its weak vertical gain. However, opposed to the reduced damage on the grounded version, the aerial version still does up to 36% damage if all hits connect successfully. Spinning Kong also seems to keep Brawl's very powerful momentum canceling, still being able to negate all momentum to prevent potential KO's and many fatal blows; however, since Smash 4 had changed hitstun canceling, Spinning Kong's momentum canceling is much harder to utilise because if the hitstun is too much, DK will get KO'd before he can even use Spinning Kong to prevent the KO, therefore making it a less effective survival technique than in Brawl.
Special Move customization was added in Super Smash Bros. 4. These are the variations:
Dixie Kong's ability to spin in midair to slow her descent was introduced in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest; this ability also caused her horizontal movement in the air to dramatically increase, not unlike the ability utilized by Donkey Kong in Smash Bros. While Donkey Kong himself has never used the move prior to Super Smash Bros., the overall animation for Spinning Kong is similar to Dixie Kong's spinning ability, though Donkey Kong instead uses his arms to hover instead of Dixie Kong's ponytail. Tiny Kong also utilized a similar spinning ability in Donkey Kong 64; however, Super Smash Bros. was released prior to Donkey Kong 64. Dixie's own spinning ability is also retained in sequels to Donkey Kong Country 2; notably, in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it is changed to grant Dixie (as well as Donkey Kong) further vertical distance covered in addition to a somewhat slowed descent, making it somewhat more comparable to the ability utilized by Donkey Kong in Smash Bros.