5. Arcade Archives Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)

Arcade Archives Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)Arcade Archives Donkey Kong (Switch eShop)
Publisher: HAMSTER / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 14th Jun 2018 (USA) / 15th Jun 2018 (UK/EU)

The original game from which this whole beautiful mess spawned, the Switch Arcade Archives version of Donkey Kong from Hamster enables you to play in TATE mode and is the best way to revisit this classic. There have been plenty of ports, most notably the NES version but it's missing a level and it's arguably only once you've played the original that the limitations of the home console version become apparent. The movement might feel stiff and the animation rudimentary, but give it time and DK's iconic charm is sure to win you over.

One of the most impressive (and surprising) ports of the original actually adds to it, expanding and building on its four levels and spawning all the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games...

4. Donkey Kong (GB)

Donkey Kong (GB)Donkey Kong (GB)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 28th Jun 1994 (USA) / 24th Sep 1994 (UK/EU)

It's rare that the echo triumphs over the voice, but if we had to choose between playing arcade DK or the Game Boy port, there's really no choice. Donkey Kong on Game Boy is far more than just a simple sequel or port. After finishing the first four levels you might assume that's it, but with over 101 levels in total, there's a whole other game awaiting you. In fact, it laid the groundwork for the gameplay of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series that we've been reading so much about up to now.

It's not just a case of added value, it's the fact that the expanded content is so brilliant that results in one of the Game Boy's finest games, and another wonderful portable title featuring Mr. D. Kong.

3. Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 21st Nov 2010 (USA) / 3rd Dec 2010 (UK/EU)

Retro Studios revival of Rare's treasured Donkey Kong Country on SNES came after the developer had reinvented Metroid as an exploratory first-person shooter in Metroid Prime, so we shouldn't have been surprised that the team was able to recapture the spirit of that series again three console generations later with Donkey Kong Country Returns - they had form in that area. However, it still came as something of a surprise just how good the game turned out, reimagining the SNES template for the 21st Century.

The 3DS port is equally impressive, but you really can't go wrong with whatever version you can get your hands on. When it comes to resurrections, it seems Retro is your go-to studio and DKC returned in fabulous form on Wii.

2. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Rare
Release Date: 20th Nov 1995 (USA) / 14th Dec 1995 (UK/EU)

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (not Diddy Kong's Quest) is a beautiful secret-filled game with a gorgeous soundtrack that helps create a atmosphere that sticks in the memory. You end up returning to this simply to enjoy your surroundings and have 'that feeling' again. We've found this to be a feature of many Rare games and the second SNES entry in the DKC series is a prime example. Debate will rage as to which of DKC games is best, but for us it really never got better than this.

Well, maybe once...

1. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch)

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch)Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 4th May 2018 (USA) / 4th May 2018 (UK/EU)

Releasing originally in 2014 on Wii U, we were treated to a 'Deluxe' port of this game on Switch just four years later. Not the longest hiatus, then, but we couldn't wait to replay one of the best platformers we've ever encountered and the Switch version played like an absolute dream in full HD. Looking and playing better than Donkey Kong ever had, the music in Donkey Kong Country Returns (Retro's first swing at the series) had already been great, but veteran DKC composer David Wise returned with this sequel and caused us to have several 'moments' during our first playthrough. It was a glistening cherry on a cake so deliciously sweet we worried we'd lose a foot.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze isn't just a great platformer, it's one of the great platformers. Even if Donkey Kong isn't normally your thing, you owe it to yourself to give Tropical Freeze a go. It's totally bananas in the very best of ways.

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Disagree with our ranking of DK's games? It was certainly tough to put together - especially in the middle. Let us know how you'd tweak it for your own personal ranking in the comments section below.