Due to the new setting and characters, there's a popular theory that Cranky here is actually the DK from the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, with the new DK being his (grand)son and Diddy being a Generation Xerox of an older Diddy.
Annoying Video Game Helper: Once it appears, the only way to get rid of Professor Chops's offer to use the Super Guide is to beat the level.
Awesome Music: Much of the original Donkey Kong Country soundtrack was remixed, mixed in with original tunes. As expected of the series' music, it doesn't disappoint. The only songs missing from the original DKC are: Bad Boss Boogie, Ice Cave Chant, Cave Dweller Concert, Misty Menace, and of course, K. Rool's Theme.
With the addition of rocket barrel levels and the removal of water levels, there's been a debate between the rocket and water levels from previous DKC games. Fortunately, water levels return in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
K. Rool's replacement in the game with the evil Tikis. Some people welcome the new enemies citing that K. Rool had been suffering more Badass Decay with each sequel, while others sorely miss his presence as the Big Bad, thinking he's just as iconic to the Donkey Kong Country series as DK and Diddy themselves.
Demonic Spiders: A growing wall made of them in the level Muncher Marathon from World 5.
Mugly's death sequence, in which it essentially does three poses before falling.
The opening scene when a Tiki attempted to hypnotize Donkey. At first, he's confused by what it's doing, but after a second failed attempt, he gives it a Slasher Smile and promptly kicks its butt.
Game-Breaker: The Banana Juice power-up gives you an additional ten health points on top of the existing 2 (4 with Diddy), and only costs 20 coins (it's not hard to acquire that many during a single level, and almost guaranteed across two levels). This can make some levels go from mind-shatteringly difficult to extremely easy simply by equipping it. It only lasts for one life though, unlike the Heart Boost (1 extra heart), which stays with you for an entire level no matter how many times you die (but will be removed if you exit the level). Given the game's difficulty level, the Banana Juice is almost necessary in certain situations in order to get 100% Completion. Especially in the hidden temple levels; World 6's in particular. If you were dependent on these items, then good luck trying to complete these levels in Mirror Mode, where you can't use items, Diddy is unavailable, and you only have one heart!
After a particularly tough level segment, nothing boosts your spirits more than the sound of a Checkpoink, or the stage clear barrel fanfare.
The sound of repeated smacks, delivered by Wiimote shakes. Whether you're smacking open an end-of-level barrel for something on the order of 15 banana coins, or saying goodbye to that world's Tiki Tak tribesman, it's always a welcome noise.
One of the forest levels has an Advancing Wall of Doom... made of SPIDERS! Even worse, they're baby spiders that come from you smashing open egg sacks. And if you fall a little too far behind they'll drag Donkey or Diddy down into their depths, complete with look of utter terror on the poor ape's face.
The aptly named "Tidal Terror". Nothing like big rogue waves coming right at the screen.
Polished Port: The 3DS release has better controls and optional easy modes with more items to make levels less frustrating (e.g. green balloons to save your kongs from falling to their deaths, Crash Guards which let you take several hits in mine cart and rocket barrel sections), as well as more levels in the Golden Temple. The only drawbacks are a slight graphical downgrade and that it runs at 30 FPS (as opposed to the Wii version running at 60 frames).
Replacement Scrappy: The Tikis for the Kremlings. Many have their reasons as to why they're disliked, but for some it could be the sudden amount of wizardry and sorcery added into a series that didn't rely on it that much through the original trilogy and 64.
Several levels are scenery porn, to the point of hindrance because while you're staring at the chunks of rock slowly melting into the lava, the streams of lava pouring down from ledges, and the fireballs launching from below, you can forget that these things are there to kill you. Don't worry, the game reminds you soon enough.
The barrels that catapult you about a mile in Longshot Launch.
The Scrappy: Professor Chops, to some frustrated players. Mostly when offering the Super Guide after countless deaths.
The waggle abilities are already getting a reputation. The Ground Pound and the Blow aren't so bad. Having to waggle to do a roll (and thus perform a super jump, a key ability in the platforming) can really suck, especially if you're in a very chaotic and fast paced level. This is largely mitigated in the 3DS port, as waggle functions have been mapped to normal button presses.
Many players tend to dislike both minecart and rocket barrel levels, particularly the latter due to its control scheme.
The Mole Train is widely hated, because it seems to show no signs of ending and it's a matter of predicting when fighting the moles. Have fun on Mirror Mode.
Colonel Pluck (the world 7 boss) can be frustrating because his pattern is hard to figure out at first and it takes awhile for him to reveal his weak point.
The final boss, as well. If you die any time during the boss battle, you don't get Diddy back. This is after a Trial and Error Gameplay-filled rocket barrel section.
The bosses of world 7 and 8 are even more annoying in Time Attack Mode, because you have to fight them while hoping their random attack pattern is in your favor. Yes, those particular time trials are entirely luck-based.
That One Level: It's almost universal that Stage 4-5 is not fondly regarded. To an extent, World 4 as a whole is this due to the total reliance on navigating through the chaotic levels with a minecart or a rocket barrel (though in the latter's case, the Rocket Barrel levels in the game already have this reputation).
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: All of the animals that the Tikis hypnotize to fight DK and Diddy were animals they have never met before. But imagine if the Tikis instead hypnotized a fellow Kong or two they cared about (Cranky, Dixie, Candy, etc.), or otherwise somebody they cared about. That would surely create a more emotional response than controlling strangers.
Ugly Cute: Toothberries, the creatures first seen in Stage 3-5 and Snaggles, the sharks that leap out of the water to bite you.
Waggle: The most common complaint with the game, especially in regards to rolling.
What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The Golden Temple. Giant, floating fruit? Alright. A bunch of floating island things? Fine. Purple, tie-wearing flying koalas that toss bombs at you? Okay, now this is weird.