In the Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle DLC, two new characters are introduced. Donkey Kong and Rabbid Cranky have unique abilities that they bring to the table, which means a new set of strategies to help you overcome the challenges of the game. Understanding how to implement those strategies comes with time and experimentation, but sometimes you need a bit of a helping hand too. This article is that helping hand – I’ll share the techniques that I found most effective with these new characters as well as some combos they can pull off in order to make your experience as successful as possible!
A few hints about using this guide. Each character’s section will be structured first as a simple point-by-point breakdown of their basic stats, then their weapons, and finally the skills they bring to the table. This is great if you just want to read a quick summary of what the character is good for. Following that will be a more detailed section with my recommended uses for each character. There are mild spoilers in this guide in the form of playable characters and game mechanics, but no story spoilers. In today’s guide we’re going to cover Donkey Kong – we’ll touch on Rabbid Cranky in his own article. So without further ado, let’s grab a dandelion and swing into the guide!
Health: Highest – DK can take lots of damage, ideal for his short-ranged attacks
Damage: Highest – His secondary weapon and Hairy Eye give him great power
Range: Lowest – DK needs to be close to fight effectively
Ground Mobility: Medium – Generally low, but special DK panels expand it greatly
Air Mobility: Lowest – DK cannot team jump, greatly limiting his mobility
Bwananarang – Average damage at medium-low range, ricochet to hit multiple targets
Ground Pound – High damage at short range, damages everything in range
Bounce – Knocks the opponent back, possibly out of bounds
Burn – Causes the target to run around and spread burn to other enemies
Grab and Launch – Great for damage and for ally mobility, highest movement damage
Hairy Eye – High power reaction skill, limited shots and long cooldown
Magnet Groove – Draws enemies towards DK, great for setting up Ground Pound, gathering targets to one place, getting enemies away from cover
Donkey Kong is the main character in the DLC chapters, taking the place of Mario as your primary offensive specialist. While his special moves are all similar to existing moves from the main game, he has some unique movement skills that make him feel totally different from the other characters. The first is his special movement ability, Grab and Launch, and the second is the presence of DK panels on the battlefields.
Grab and Launch takes the place of team jump for Donkey Kong. He cannot bounce on the heads of his allies in order to launch himself further along the map. Instead, he scoops them up and throws them, giving them even more distance than they have on their own turns. He can also use Grab and Launch offensively to pick up things like cover, Rabbid Peach’s sentries, or even enemies and toss them. Throwing one enemy into another is a great offensive option for Donkey Kong, allowing him to do as much as 70 damage to two enemies during his movement phase – the highest amount of movement damage available in the DLC chapters.
His inability to team jump makes it so that DK often suffers from a more limited movement range than his allies. To help mitigate this, he has access to a movement option the other characters cannot use: DK panels. The DK panels on the field are areas where Donkey Kong can swing on dandelion vines to reach another part of the map. The value of these panels varies from map to map – there are some where the combination of pipes and panels makes it possible for Donkey Kong to go anywhere he wants on the stage in a single turn when his movement is maxed out. On stages that don’t have these panels, or where the panels are far apart from each other or from pipes, it can feel like DK is far less mobile than his Rabbid allies.
When it comes to weapons, Donkey Kong’s primary weapon is a tool unique to him: the Bwananarang. This weapon has a limited ranged compared to blasters but in exchange it can strike multiple opponents. Each bwananarang can ricochet a certain number of times, and whether or not it will do so has to do with the proximity of the enemies you’re attacking and the arc of your throw. Each successive hit does a little less damage, so part of your strategy with a bwananarang is going to be figuring out an arc which will allow you to distribute the most damage to the target you want to bring down the most. Bwananarangs have either bounce or burn as their special effect – the good thing about this is that both of those conditions combo well with DK’s Hairy Eye ability and Rabbid Cranky’s Stink Eye, so it’s pretty easy to whittle down a strong enemy when you get a critical hit.
DK Ground Pound is a melee area attack, dealing high damage to all targets in a close range around Donkey Kong. Melee attacks can be hard to use effectively against multiple enemies, but luckily DK’s Magnet Groove is here to help you with that particular problem. DK can draw enemies nearby directly towards him by playing his bongo drums, and the move causes every enemy within reach to come stand in the range of Ground Pound. This is a simple but powerful combo – I once defeated five rabbids at one time by throwing two Smashers into each other and then getting a critical hit with this combo against them and three Hoppers I pulled in along with them. This combo won’t always be helpful to you, but in tight areas where lots of opponents are within reach of Magnet Groove, Donkey Kong can deal some serious damage.
When it comes to weapons, DK’s main weakness is his low range. Without the help of DK panels, he can’t travel particularly far – combine this with the low reach of his bwananarang and you might find yourself in quite a few situations where he simply can’t get to the enemy that you’d like him to target. The good news is, Donkey Kong has so much power that once he does get to where he’s going, he can do a ton of damage. It was normal for me to take out two or three enemies in a single turn with a combination of DK’s Grab and Launch, a skill like Hairy Eye or Magnet Groove, and then attacking with a weapon. And while his low range puts him close to the bad guys and often gets him shot, DK has the highest health in the DLC so he’s able to take a few hits without worry.
Because of his impressive power and unique movement options, the most effective use for DK is to send him off alone to smash a group of enemies. In missions where defeating specific enemies is the goal, the DK panels are often positioned in such a way that our hero can reach the ones which are furthest away. This is particularly helpful for missions where you have to stop smugglers from reaching a specific area on the map. I also like DK a lot for missions where you need to defeat a certain number of enemies in a limited timeframe. One of the abilities you can purchase with power runes is the ability to yank rabbid ears out of the ground with Grab and Launch, allowing you to throw a rabbid that hasn’t even fully spawned on the battlefield. This is great for reducing the number of turns you spend on this mission type, as it exposes enemies faster for the rest of your team to wail on.
Finally, let’s talk about how Donkey Kong combos with his allies. Unlike the main game, you don’t have a variety of characters to switch between in the DLC chapters. Your team will always consist of Donkey Kong, Rabbid Cranky, and Rabbid Peach. So what kind of tricks can DK pull with these characters specifically? One of my personal favorites is to scoop up Rabbid Cranky when DK can’t reach an enemy to pick up. Rabbid Cranky has a jumping ability that deals damage to enemies close to him as he lands – being thrown by Donkey Kong activates this ability, allowing him to effectively pull it off twice in a single turn. Since DK’s weapons all have super effects which cause enemies to move, and his Magnet Groove pulls enemies towards him, it’s quite easy for him to set up opportunities for Rabbid Cranky to fire off Stink Eye shots.
When it comes to Rabbid Peach, her combos with DK have more to do with her weapons than her special skills. One of her most common super effects is the push effect, which knocks enemies backward on a critical hit. Have Donkey Kong use Hairy Eye just before Rabbid Peach fires a shot, and a critical hit will give him an opportunity to follow up with a reactionary throw of his bwananarang. Rabbid Peach’s sentry is also one of the types of objects that DK can pick up with Grab and Launch, so you can have her send a sentry towards a distant target and then send DK to carry it the rest of the way. Alternatively, you can use Donkey Kong to set up a good target for her sentry. Use Magnet Groove before moving to get a whole crew of enemies close together, attack them with ground pound, and then use your movement to get away from the center of the group. Rabbid Peach can then send her sentry into that closely-huddled enemy squad and finish off what Donkey Kong started.
Overall, DK serves as your offensive specialist in the DLC chapters. His movement ability and weapon attacks have a lot of power behind them in exchange for their short range. Keep him close to the action and this powerhouse should be able to deal maximum damage every single turn, regularly taking out multiple enemies and causing battles to progress faster. Take advantage of his unique movement options when they are available, and use his grab to propel allies along even faster when you need to get Rabbid Peach or Rabbid Cranky somewhere as quickly as possible. If you have any questions that weren’t answered by this character guide, please post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to find out the answer if I don’t know it already!