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Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Wii U Donkey Kong.png

The King of Swing is back and better than ever. Donkey Kong is one of the more balanced super heavyweights in the game. Despite being one of the heaviest characters, he has great mobility and fairly quick attacks that lets him go toe to toe with more nimble fighters. His ape arms also give him great range, and his strength gives him powerful attacks to rival other heavy hitters. He even has some nice combos with his throws and aerials, something few other heavyweights can boast. Donkey Kong's main weaknesses are his lack of projectiles, forcing him to remain at melee range with his foes, and his terrible vertical recovery. Despite these flaws, Donkey Kong's many strengths make him a simple and solid character.

Basic Attributes[edit]

Donkey Kong is the second heaviest character in the game, with Bowser being the only character that's heavier. His dash speed is above average, slightly outrunning Mario and Wii Fit Trainer. His has the fastest air speed of any fighter near his frame and weight, while his falling speed is intermediate.

One of Donkey Kong's special abilities is his Cargo Carry. Donkey Kong is the only character that can jump while carrying heavy objects like Crates and Barrels. The way he carries and throws these items resemble his Forward Throw, DK's signature Cargo Toss.


Moveset Analysis[edit]

Standard Attacks

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) 2 button(+2 button2 button2 button) Kong Combo Donkey Kong makes a downward hook, followed by an uppercut. This move is DK's best option at point blank range. It is very quick to come out, so it's a decently safe defensive option when you're right next to your opponent. The first hit can lead into a grab, increasing this move's utility. You won't be using this move too much though, as Donkey Kong's tilt attacks are usually a safer bet at mid-range due to their greater reach.
A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) A button(+A buttonA buttonA button) A button(+A buttonA buttonA button)
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button (Left nunchuk or Right nunchuk)+A button (Left dpad or Right dpad)+2 button Palm Swipe Donkey Kong swipes in front of him with his arm. This move can be angled by tilting the control stick up or down. This is a great spacing move that is both fairly fast and has a good amount of range. It can be used to keep approaching foes at bay, smacking them out with its good reach. Its angling feature is especially helpful for striking incoming aerial foes.
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button (Left control or Right control)+A button (Left cpad or Right cpad)+A button
Up lstick+A button Up nunchuk+A button Up dpad+2 button Overhead Swing Donkey Kong swipes his arm over him. This move starts as quickly as DK's Standard Attack, has great reach and great combo knockback. It hits the entire area above Donkey Kong's head, making it a nice anti-air and strong followup out of a throw. At low percents, Donkey Kong can juggle with this move to deal easy damage, or hit them into the air to combo into aerial attacks. It's a bit strong for a juggle move though, so it's better go straight into an air combo on lighter characters,
Up lstick+A button Up control+A button Up cpad+A button
Down lstick+A button Down nunchuk+A button Down dpad+2 button Low Smack Donkey Kong swipes his arm low to the ground. This move is noticeably faster than Donkey Kong's Strong Side Attack, while keeping much of its range. It is a great poke when fighting against foes at mid-range, and can be used against foes on the ledge due to its low hitbox. Its low duration means you can spam this a bit, and it combos into itself at low percents. It also has a fairly high likelihood to cause tripping at early percents, which can easily lead to a free grab and a combo if you're lucky.
Down lstick+A button Down control+A button Down cpad+A button
A button while dashing A button while dashing 2 button while dashing Tumble Roll Donkey Kong rolls forward to ram into enemies. This move does its job well enough as an average Dash Attack, and it's certainly less unwieldy than Donkey Kong's awkward kick from the older games. Donkey Kong rolls a good distance forward, a nice feature if you need to punish a foe just out of range. It also consistently sends foes at a roughly 45 degree angle, good for getting foes offstage. Like any Dash Attack, you'll likely eat a punish if its shielded, so use it with care.
A button while dashing A button while dashing A button while dashing
A button while hanging A button while hanging 2 button while hanging Donkey Kong climbs up and swipes.
A button while hanging A button while hanging A button while hanging

Smash Attacks

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
Smash (Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button Smash (Left nunchuk or Right nunchuk)+A button (Left dpad or Right dpad)+1 button+2 button Ape Clap Donkey Kong claps in front of him. As you might expect from Side Smashes, this is Donkey Kong's strongest smash attack as well as his slowest. The move is strongest at the center of Donkey Kong's palms, but the whole move packs immense power overall, and it has decent range to boot. Unfortunately, there is an obvious moment of windup right before the clap that foes can react to, and it takes long enough to recover from for enemies to retaliate. Use it either as a hard punish or to catch opponents recovering past the ledge.
Smash (Left lstick or Right lstick)+A button Smash (Left control or Right control)+A button Smash (Left cpad or Right cpad)+A button
Smash Up lstick+A button Smash Up nunchuk+A button Up dpad+1 button+2 button Thunder Clap Donkey Kong claps above him. Up Smash is basically a faster and weaker Side Smash aimed upward. Although it still has some speed issues, the main flaw of Up Smash is its range. The hitbox of the attack is located on Donkey Kong's hands directly over his head, meaning the attack will likely miss against grounded enemies. It's also difficult to get your foes directly above you, although it is a good anti-air if you happen to find your opponent in such a position. It's no Side Smash, but Up Smash is still strong enough to KO reliably before 130%, and you don't have to worry about sweetspotting unlike Down Smash.
Smash Up lstick+A button Smash Up control+A button Smash Up cpad+A button
Smash Down lstick+A button Smash Down nunchuk+A button Down dpad+1 button+2 button Crushing Fist Donkey Kong brings both hands down on either side of him. The move hits the hardest at Donkey Kong's fists instead of at his arms. Down Smash is by far Donkey Kong's fastest smash attack, but it hits as hard as Up Smash if you strike precisely with his fists. This should be your smash attack of choice when fishing for KOs. It is quick, strong and has good reach on both sides of Donkey Kong. Since it hits on either side of DK simultaneously, it is an awesome punish for foes trying to roll past you.
Smash Down lstick+A button Smash Down control+A button Smash Down cpad+A button

Air Attacks

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png 2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png DK Spin Donkey Kong spins around delivering hooks with both arms. This move is a great defensive option to knock away any foes that come too close. It is very fast, has low landing lag and hits on both sides of Donkey Kong, making it a pretty safe move against an aerial foe. Its minimal landing lag also makes it a good move to use to land safely with. Lastly, its ability to hit on either side of Donkey Kong makes it a good edgeguard tool against more ambiguous recoveries, and has enough knockback to serve as a KO move close to the ledge.
A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Right lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Fist Hammer Donkey Kong clasps both hands and swings down with great force, meteor smashing foes hit by his fists during the latter half of the attack. Of the four meteor smashes in Donkey Kong's default moveset, this is without a doubt his strongest, but it is held back by its extremely telegraphed windup and horribly sluggish landing lag. The excellent range of this move is the key to successfully hitting with it, so you need to position yourself relative to your target very carefully. Even if you fail to land the meteor smash, you'll still be launching them forward, which can still result in a KO for most edgeguard scenarios.
Right lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Right cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Left lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Primate Kick Donkey Kong kicks behind him. This is Donkey Kong's main spacing move. It is really fast and has great range to help Donkey Kong wall off aggressive enemies or poke at defensive ones. Furthermore, it deals knockback that makes it good for combos and KOs depending on position and percents. At low percents, you can chain this move into itself by hitting your target across the stage two or three times. You may also use it as an effective edgeguarding tool, knocking foes further from the ledge.
Left lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Left cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Up lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Kong Headbutt Donkey Kong headbutts opponents above him. This is Donkey Kong's main combo aerial, but it can also serve as an alternate KO move near the top of the screen. Up Air is most commonly used for aerial juggles. Donkey Kong can easily follow up with consecutive Up Airs after an Up Throw or a Strong Up Attack chain, and it does a fair amount of damage. Donkey Kong has some invincibility on his head during the move, making it a decent anti-air as well. The move does have relatively poor horizontal range, so it's not recommended to attempt to strike grounded foes with it.
Up lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Up cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png
Down lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down nunchuk+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down dpad+2 buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Kong Stomp Donkey Kong kicks downward. This is another one of Donkey Kong's many meteor smashes. Compared to Forward Air, Down Air is quicker and less telegraphed, but lacks the range and sheer power of Forward Air. In most situations, Down Air is the better meteor smash of the two. Its higher speed means that opponents have less time to react and evade the move. Its poor range is problematic, so you'll need smart spacing to land this if your opponent's recovery move has damaging hitboxes.
Down lstick+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down control+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png Down cpad+A buttonControl-Modifier-Air.png

Throws

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
A button after grab A button after grab 2 button after grab Ape Slap Donkey Kong smacks the grabbed opponent. This move is a standard grab attack that is fast and weak. It does decent damage, which is always a good option if your target is too injured to be comboed.
A button after grab A button after grab A button after grab
Right lstick after grab Right nunchuk after grab Right dpad after grab Cargo Toss Donkey Kong carries the grabbed opponent on his back. He can move and jump, as well as choose to throw foes sideways, upward or downward, even while in the air. DK's unique cargo toss is fairly useful, as it allows him to make slight positional adjustments to optimize his throws. Sideways Cargo throws are used like most characters' sideways throws: to get foes offstage. Cargo Down Throw has a lower angle than normal Down Throw and can set up tech chases. Lastly, Cargo Up Throw is Donkey Kong's best combo throw, leading into Strong Up Attacks and aerials quite naturally.
Right lstick after grab Right control after grab Right cpad after grab
Left lstick after grab Left nunchuk after grab Left dpad after grab Ape Fling Donkey Kong flings the grabbed opponent behind him. This move is Donkey Kong's KO throw. It does a good amount of knockback to KO foes at roughly 130-150% with a bit of range, granting Donkey Kong a reliable KO option against high percent opponents. It is also the most damaging throw Donkey Kong has, although you should usually avoid staling the throw at all to ensure it KOs as early as possible.
Left lstick after grab Left control after grab Left cpad after grab
Up lstick after grab Up nunchuk after grab Up dpad after grab One-Handed Toss Donkey Kong throws the grabbed opponent upward. This throw leads well into Donkey Kong's other upward moves, like his Strong Up Attack or Up Airs. While it does more damage than Cargo Up Throw, its cargo counterpart is used more often due to its weaker overall knockback, giving it more consistent combos. Nevertheless, Up Throw is still a decent combo throw, even though there is a better alternative.
Up lstick after grab Up control after grab Up cpad after grab
Down lstick after grab Down nunchuk after grab Down dpad after grab DK Dunk Donkey Kong slams the grabbed opponent into the ground. This is a typical Down Throw, sending foes at a diagonal angle with weak knockback. Down Throw is pretty mediocre compared to Donkey Kong's other throws. It has the knockback of a combo throw, but DK has better options to start a combo from a grab. It's also too weak to be used to KO or even get foes offstage. You'll pretty much never be using this throw, as Donkey Kong has plenty of better throws.
Down lstick after grab Down control after grab Down cpad after grab

Special Attacks[edit]

Control Attack Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
B button B button 1 button Giant Punch Donkey Kong winds up to charge power, and he can save the charge by pressing the shield button. Once fully-charged, DK's head will start emitting smoke. DK can press the button again to unleash a powerful punch depending on how many times he has wound up, gaining super armor when using a fully-charged punch. Giant Punch simply grants Donkey Kong another strong KO moves, and a pretty effective one at that. It KOs as early as his smash attacks at full charge if not earlier, and has a helpful super armor effect to act as a powerful pseudo-counter. However, if you can charge it just before it reaches full charge, 10 windups to be exact, you'll get an even stronger punch with no super armor. Be careful about using this in the air, as it leaves DK in helpless freefall after the punch.
B button B button B button
Lightning Punch Donkey Kong winds up extremely quickly, but the resulting electric punch is weaker. Like Giant Punch, Lightning Punch is used as a KO move, similar to a pre-charged smash attack. Unfortunately, the only big benefit that Lightning Punch offers over Giant Punch is being quicker to charge, as both moves' punches come out at roughly the same time. As Giant Punch's greater power makes it a better KO move, Lightning Punch is usually only used for novices that have difficulty building the charge during the battle. If you're good at charging in small bursts and reserving punches until the right time, the Giant Punch is overall a better choice.
Storm Punch Donkey Kong takes slightly less time to charge his punch fully, but while his punches are weaker, they emit strong winds that push foes away. In terms of power and charge speed, Storm Punch lies between Giant Punch and Lightning Punch, but its wind effect grants it additional utility over the other punches. It massively increases the punch's range without sacrificing too much power, and is especially deadly against recovering foes. Overall, Storm Punch is the most well-rounded of the three punches.
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+B button (Left nunchuk or Right nunchuk)+B button (Left dpad or Right dpad)+1 button Headbutt Donkey Kong swings his head down like an axe, burying grounded foes and meteor smashing airborne ones. This attacks is terribly slow, even slower than any of Donkey Kong's smash attacks, so it will be very difficult to land it on an attentive opponent. It also lacks range compared to DK's other attacks, making it even harder to strike with. However, Headbutt's burial feature lets you use smash attacks or charged Giant Punches for free, as long as you can actually hit an opponent with it. It also does tons of shield damage, and you might just be able to dizzy a shield-happy foe with it. Don't bother with the aerial meteor smash; it's DK's weakest meteor smash and has lackluster range and speed for one.
(Left lstick or Right lstick)+B button (Left control or Right control)+B button (Left cpad or Right cpad)+B button
Jumping Headbutt Donkey Kong jumps before quickly slamming his head down, hitting with less power. This headbutt is not necessarily easier to land, but it makes Donkey Kong more mobile. You can leap up to escape attacks, then retaliate by burying your assailant when you land a moment later. It also lets you launch surprise attacks on foes standing on higher platforms, as you can quickly reach their height and attack. Don't use this offstage when you're away from the ledge, as Donkey Kong will keep descending until he hits land, resulting in SDs if he fails to grab the ledge.
Stubborn Headbutt Donkey Kong takes a very long time to headbutt, but the attack is much stronger and he gets super armor for the duration of the move. This move is about as slow as a Falcon Punch, and you are as unlikely to land it on a smart foe due to how telegraphed it is. The super armor is very useful to shrug off attacks, but it is so slow that experienced players can just walk up and grab you out of it. Stubborn Headbutt's best use is in chaotic free-for-alls, where you can use it in the middle of the fray uninterrupted and easily bury distracted opponents.
Up lstick+B button Up nunchuk+B button Up dpad+1 button Spinning Kong Donkey Kong spins with his arms out to hover in the air. This recovery move has amazing horizontal distance, but poor vertical distance. This means that you must be very careful of even the weakest meteor smashes, and always make sure DK doesn't fall too far below the ledge. Don't worry about edgeguarders while using the attack; DK is mostly invincible during it. You can even use it to edgeguard since the start of the attack knocks foes a good distance away. Donkey Kong's recovery move also serves as an excellent grounded attack, having a ton of super armor and good range on both sides. It is commonly used to punish rolling and dodging opponents, as well as to counter attacks with its super armor.
Up lstick+B button Up control+B button Up cpad+B button
Chopper Kong Donkey Kong gains more height from spinning, but is unable to hit foes during the move. This custom move is pretty bad. It fixes the biggest flaw with Spinning Kong, but removes every strong point Spinning Kong had. While your recovery is significantly improved, you have one less option for edgeguarding, one less way to punish rolls, one less armored attack to apply pressure and less protection overall despite its aerial invincibility. Compared to the other two spin variants, this move is pretty pointless.
Kong Cyclone Donkey Kong ascends even less, but creates a whirlwind while spinning, drawing in nearby foes. This is perhaps the most notorious custom move in the game. Its selling point is the ability to completely disrupt your opponent's positioning and strategy. The aerial part of the move sucks opponents in, while you're protected from their attacks with super armor, then strikes the point blank opponent with an attack that can potentially KO. The only way to avoid that hit is with a well-timed airdodge. Using this move, you pretty much force your enemies to constantly be on the defensive, rendering careful movement and positioning ineffective. While it loses some of the functionality of Spinning Kong, its dominating attributes make it undoubtedly the best custom special in Donkey Kong's arsenal.
Down lstick+B button Down nunchuk+B button Down dpad+1 button Hand Slap Donkey Kong slaps the ground. The grounded version has great range, but does not hit aerial foes. The aerial version has less range but can meteor smash. The main purpose of Hand Slap is as an effective roll punish. While DK has plenty of moves that hit on either side, none have the ridiculous horizontal range of his Hand Slap. This feature also makes it a good punish for landing opponents trying to keep a safe distance. Additionally, Hand Slap can be used to apply shield pressure on nearby foes; it's hard to retaliate if you space it right. In the air, Hand Slap's properties give it a niche within DK's meteor smashes. It's a faster but weaker Forward Air, having similar range and hitbox position, but being much easier to hit with than Forward Air.
Down lstick+B button Down control+B button Down cpad+B button
Focused Slap Donkey Kong takes slower to slap and affects a smaller area, but a successful hit stuns foes briefly before launching them with increased knockback. Focused Slap gives Donkey Kong yet another immensely powerful KO move, but loses much of Hand Slap's utility. It's even stronger than DK's smashes and has faster startup, making it the best KO move at point blank range. It is also a very strong aerial KO move that doesn't leave DK helpless unlike Giant Punch.
Hot Slap Donkey Kong makes faster slaps that have less range, but throws out fire pillars that can hit aerial foes. Hot Slap is the best of both worlds between Donkey Kong's other Down Specials, combining Hand Slap's utility with Focused Slap's KO power. It still has decent range for punishing rolls and the like, but the fire pillars grant it vertical range as well. These fire pillars can KO, albeit much later than Focused Slap. If you want maximum versatility, Hot Slap is the way to go.

Taunts

Control Info
Wii U GamePad / Pro Controller Wii Remote + Nunchuk Wii Remote (sideways)
Wii Classic Controller GameCube Controller Nintendo 3DS
Up dpad 1 button Up dpad+A button Donkey Kong beats his chest furiously.
Up dpad Up dpad Up dpad
(Left dpad or Right dpad) 1 button+2 button A button Donkey Kong shakes his whole body, as if drying his fur.
(Left dpad or Right dpad) (Left dpad or Right dpad) (Left dpad or Right dpad)
Down dpad 2 button Down dpad+A button Donkey Kong looks toward the screen and shrugs.
Down dpad Down dpad Down dpad

Final Smash: Konga Beat[edit]

Donkey Kong pulls out two conga drums and begins banging away, hurting foes with sonic waves. A rhythm meter will appear over DK, and his percussive performance depends on how well you can match the rhythm. Hit any attack button as the circles on the meter reaches the center. A close hit results in a massive shockwave, but a miss manifests itself as a pathetically weak pulse.

Konga Beat is effectively the simplest rhythm game in existence; anyone can play to the beat with near perfection with just a little practice. The important part is where initiate the attack. Perfect hits result in very large shockwaves, but there's still space for opponents to avoid it even on fairly small stages like Battlefield. Ideally, you should use it near the ledge, forcing your foe away from the center of the stage. This position makes it very hard for them to get back on stage without getting hit by each shockwave, forcing them to take hits until they're inevitably KO'd from raw knockback or failed recovery.