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Smash Redesign: Donkey Kong

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

Donkey Kong is Nintendo’s first real mascot, being even older than Mario as the character that appeared in the first Donkey Kong game was called Jumpman. He has a rich history of games behind him.

Despite his very old history, Donkey Kong has changed significantly from his first appearance in 1981. He now has a tie, a more fleshed out personality and design (as much of a personality as a Nintendo character can have). Yet he has changed barely at all since his first appearance in Super Smash Bros N64. The only notable change has been to his dash attack. This is because Donkey Kong’s overall moveset is actually very good for him, especially in his current form in Smash Ultimate. That being said, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved.

Moveset history:

I found this rather interesting video from a YouTuber by the name of Madao Joestar. I have the video here, but I highly recommend that you check out his video by clicking here

As you can see from the video, the only real change to Donkey Kong since Smash Melee has been to his dash attack. In Melee, he was almost the form that he would stay as for the next 16 years. While I do think that this is a really good moveset, I feel like we can do better.


The rules are simple, build Donkey Kong in his best, most represented form for super smash bros. Ultimate. Any games that came out before Ultimate are fair game. Any games that came out after Ultimate are not allowed. With that said, let’s make like a banana and split.

Neutral attack: This will be mostly the same, but we’re going to give Donkey Kong an optional rapid jab that will be similar to his final smash (but not as powerful obviously) with the final hit sending the enemy upwards. This will be a little nod to his multi-punch attack done in Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze after beating a boss or finishing a level.

Tilt attacks: Donkey Kong doesn’t really have any analogs or equivalents to use for his tilts, so they’re going to remain largely the same except for a few changes.

Dash Attack: There will be no change to his dash attack.

Side Tilt: This will change into what used to be Donkey Kong’s side B because I am freeing his side B for a different move later on. I like this move because it’s an iconic part of Donkey Kong and of Super Smash Bros history. It won’t have super armor anymore but will make up for it by being overall faster. It will still bury, but it won’t bury for as long anymore and it won’t put donkey Kong in as much ending lag. Think along the lines of King K. Rool’s down tilt, and you’ve got the right idea.

Up tilt: No change

Down Tilt: no change

Smash Attacks: Like Donkey Kong’s tilt attacks, he has no analogs or equivalents from any of his games. Aside from a few minor changes, They’ll remain mostly the same.

Side smash: This will be changed to what Donkey Kong’s neutral B used to be. This is because I want to change his neutral B to something else. He may not have the silly slap anymore, but big punches are fun.

Up Smash: No change

Down Smash: No change

Specials: Now we’re getting into what I feel is where a character really shines when representing their games. Unfortunately, almost none of Donkey Kong’s moves are from his games at all. In my research, I could not find a single instance of Spinning Kong or Head Butt in any of the games that he has appeared in. So I’ve changed some of his specials to normal moves in his move set to make room for some real representation from Donkey Kong.

Neutral B: Instead of a wind-up punch, Donkey Kong will pull out two bongo barrels and pound them furiously to charge the move. He’ll then release it with rockets blasting out of the back as a slow-moving projectile that will accelerate the farther it goes. At max charge, it will go at least as far as Samus’s charge shot. Just like most charge up projectiles, this move can be canceled and charged for later use. This will be a nice nod to the Donkey Kong Kongo Bongo games, as well as giving Donkey Kong a decent projectile that will require some strategy to use.

Something a bit like this

But he's banging them to charge them like this.

Side B: It didn’t feel right getting rid of Donkey Kong’s Spinning Kong move, so I decided to change it to side B. This can still be used as a recovery move and can be used as a useful mix up. It will otherwise remain unchanged.

Down B: Donkey Kong’s ground slap really needs some buffs to make it even remotely useful, so I am going to change a lot of things about this move to make it good. First of all, this will be changed to bury an enemy if used right on top of the enemy while the enemy is on the ground, while in the air or on the ground. If further away, it will do what the ground slap normally does. If an enemy is buried and you still use it, it won’t launch them like a smash attack would but will instead function like his old side B where it just does a little extra damage but doesn’t uproot them. The radius of the hand slap shock waves will also be bigger and will hit slightly above the ground so that enemies can’t just short hop over the attack and take Donkey Kong out. the grounded version will have a high level of super armor. The midair one will also have super armor, but much less than the grounded version. Also, Donkey Kong’s hands and head during the grounded move will act as hitboxes. The startup time and the ending lag will be decreased by a few frames. The launch distance will be greater but will send in a more diagonal direction rather then upwards as it always has. This will be a great substitute for his old side B and will make a good move on its own.

Up B: Donkey Kong’s old up B is still in use, but I have something that is more iconic to the Donkey Kong series. He’ll put himself into a barrel before launching off at high speed. The launch will give Donkey Kong a hitbox as he is flung away. The way you’ll be able to tell when the move is over is that Donkey Kong will be flipping while in the animation and will stop flipping when the move ends and will instead fall into his standard free fall animation. Aside from animation differences, this will function a lot like Diddy Kong’s up B including the ability to charge it for greater distance.

Aerials: Since Donkey Kong’s aerials are a lot like his tilts and smash attacks, being that they have no real analogs or equivalents, they’re going to stay largely the same. The only thing I would want the change is just to get rid of one of his spikes. Seriously, he has three!

Grabs and throws: No change for any of them as they’re great at representing his games. His cargo throws in particular is very nicely from his games.

And that's it for Donkey Kong. A moveset that is a little different then what he used to have, but still stays true to the character in Smash Bros and the character in his own games. What do you think about the proposed changes. Would you do anything different? Let me know in the comments.

That ends this post for Smash Redesign. If you enjoyed it, try and share it around. Until next time, stay bewildered.

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