EXCLUSIVE: Mumbo Monday- Is Donkey Kong Country a Better Game than Super Mario World?

Back in the 1990s, there were two games that helped to define the SNES for the console that it was: Nintendo’s Super Mario World and Rare’s Donkey Kong Country. Both were critically acclaimed titles that sold millions upon millions of units and were considered the greatest platformers of their time and still among the best today. But which title could be considered the best? Is one greater than the other or could they both be equally justified? Let’s examine both titles and conclude this debatable question.


  • Super Mario World-A whopping 96 levels of platforming bliss.
  • Donkey Kong Country- 40 levels of barrel throwing, banana snatching fun.

Winner: Quantity matters here, so Super Mario World is clearly the winner.



  • Super Mario World-There were levels throughout the game full of hidden exits and secret areas filled with 1ups and items. Levels that obtained a hidden exit could be determined by the color of the levels icon on the map screen: red if there is, yellow if there isn’t.
  • Donkey Kong Country- Water levels aside, there isn’t a single level in this game that doesn’t have a secret within. Each level has at least two secret bonuses and several even have more. They are more than just simple hidden exits too as they’re cleverly hidden behind walls and even in pits!

Winner: With so many secrets to find, Donkey Kong Country wins this one by a landslide.



  • Super Mario World-While it may have been a launch title for the console, Super Mario World’s cartoony graphical style managed to hold up throughout the entire lifespan of the SNES. Great effects and a bright and vibrant world left never a dull moment.
  • Donkey Kong Country- This was one of the first titles to feature pre-3D rendered graphics on a home console using SGI technology that was modified in-house at Rare to work exceptionally well for Donkey Kong Country. This allowed the game to have the amazing 3D looking visuals and realistic backdrops seen throughout the game.

Winner: With it’s jaw dropping graphics and revitalization of the SNES console, Donkey Kong Country absolutely wins with it’s astounding graphical achievements.


Power-Ups and Abilities

  • Super Mario World-Stars, fireflowers, capes, mushrooms… These were the awesome power-ups that Mario could use to help in his adventure. He could also pick up and throw koopa shells and even had a special spin move to break through blocks!
  • Donkey Kong Country- Donkey Kong could roll, Diddy could cartwheel, and they both could throw a variety of different barrels and even ride one! Aside from this, there wasn’t really a lot of special abilities and power-ups for the Kongs to rely on, just a whole lot of jumping and surviving!

Winner: Super Mario World had a ton more to offer in this regard, so Donkey Kong Country was definiteny trumped here.



  • Super Mario World-Player one was Mario and player two was Luigi and both swapped turns to work together to the game’s end. If one player was running low on lives, the other player could actually share their lives with them!
  • Donkey Kong Country- In DKC, there were a couple of different modes available. There was the two-player contest which had both players competing to see who could complete the game first; two-player co-op actually had both players working together almost simultaneously: player one being Donkey and player two being Diddy, with a simple press of the select button to have the other player take control of the game!

Winner: I would say that with a better way of working together and an added touch of competitiveness, Donkey Kong Country had much, much more to offer.


Animal Buddies

  • Super Mario World-There were four different Yoshis available that each had their own special abilities: Green, Blue, Red, and Yellow Yoshi.
  • Donkey Kong Country- In DKC, there also four animal buddies to use, but they were more than just different variation of the same creature. Each were different and unique with special abilities of their own. These animals were Rambi the Rhino, Winky the Frog, Expresso the Ostrich, and Enguarde the Swordfish.

Winner: More variety, more creativity and better animals definitely allows Donkey Kong Country to take the reigns here.


Based on the above examination, Donkey Kong Country is definitely a better game than Super Mario World with so much more to offer in regards to it’s many secrets, variety of play options and astounding graphics. While not mentioned above, who would argue that DKC’s soundtrack and final boss, King K. Rool, isn’t better than Super Mario World’s as well? It’s not to say SMW is a bad game, it isn’t, but DKC is ultimately the better experience and I would choose it over the other any day, any time.

What say you? Do you agree with the above analysis or would you still take a preference over Super Mario World? Why? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!