As a big fan of the character and some of his classic games, I thought that it would be a good opportunity to explore Kirby’s history. Please feel free to let us know what your favorite game in the series is and why.
Kirby’s Dream Land – Game Boy – 1992
The round, pink hero started out on Nintendo’s first handheld console back in 1992 and was also mine and many others first game on the system. HAL Laboratory had great success with their title character as the game went on to be the fourth biggest release for the Game Boy and introduced people to a platformer that offered fun and accessibility for younger gamers as well as recognizable characters, enemies and stages.
As a result for Dream Land’s success, two sequels were made and released in 1995 and 1997 (although Dream Land 3 was released in the SNES instead of the Game Boy in Japan and North America).
Kirby’s Adventure – NES – 1993
A year later Kirby appeared on the NES and while it came out within the last years of the console, it did receive positive reviews and praise. This was also the first time Meta Knight, one of Kirby’s rivals and a popular character among fans.
Even after all these years, the game is still available to purchase as a downloadable for the 3DS as one of the 3D Classic re-releases and was remade back in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance as Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, where it had numerous new features including mini-games, multiplayer games and a mode where you can play as Meta Knight himself.
Kirby Fun Pak – SNES – 1996
After a few years of Dream Land games and exploration into puzzler games, Kirby returned to the SNES in compilation of eight new platform and mini games. Each game uses different graphic designs and gameplay from previous games, seeing Kirby tacking on new bosses and levels that offered players eight games for the price of one that sold more than a million copies in Japan alone.
The remake was released in 2009 for the DS as Kirby: Super Star Ultra and while it included the original games, it also included some new mini games that took advantage of the DS’ unique functionality that made it popular in America and Japan.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards – Nintendo 64 – 2000
The character made his three-dimensional debut on the Nintendo 64 and added some tweaks to the gameplay in terms of how you would use your ability to copy. One of these new tweaks is being able to fuse two abilities that you have managed to obtain and create a new one for you to use against your enemies.
Besides the use of abilities, trying to collect scattered crystal pieces throughout the game and having some nice graphics at the time, the way you play the levels have remained the same and it came with a collection of mini games to add length to it.
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble – Game Boy Color – 2001
After some years of experimenting with puzzle and adventure games, HAL Laboratory blended the two that resulted in a unique tilt-controlled cartridge that gave owners of the Game Boy Color a new way to play their system. Moving the console tilts Kirby around a number of courses to reach your goal, avoiding walls and enemies while collecting stars.
While the game was positively received, this was not enough for Nintendo to cancel the sequel that was being developed at the time for the Game Cube and while there has not been plans to make the sequel, screenshots of the cancelled game are available online.
Kirby Air Ride – Nintendo GameCube – 2003
Featuring characters, enemies and worlds from others games within the series, the game had three different modes to play the courses in unique ways while having a wide selection of vehicles to choose from and unlockables to keep players entertained.
The soundtrack for the game was released in Japan after the series’ success with the anime series Kirby: Right Back at Ya! and the fact that the same composer from Super Smash Bros. Melee was involved with the music for the wacky racer.
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror – Game Boy Advance – 2004
Taking place in the Mirror World, the star gets split into four different colored Kirbys by Dark Meta Knight and must save the original Meta Knight who is trapped in the Mirror World. Being able to summon your other Kirbys to defeat a room of tough enemies, taking on a boss or even making it easier to reach your goal at the end of the world.
The game also had a good use of multiplayer options and the game could let you connect with four players with just one cartridge to enjoy taking on levels and enemies with your friends.
Kirby: Power Paintbrush – DS – 2005
Using the touch screen, players would draw a path for a rolling Kirby and make sure that he reaches the end of the stage while using the same control scheme to protect him from enemy attacks and floating obstacles. The game is made more challenging, as you have to be careful of your limited paint and to make sure a new path is painted before the previous one is disappeared.
The game received a high number of positive reviews and was one of the best-rated games of the year it was released. Even though Kirby: Mouse Attack was released on the DS a couple of years later as well, it was not as positively praised (despite getting some good reviews) and the character has gone back to his routes ever since.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn – Wii – 2011
The evil sorcerer Yin-Yarn has transformed Dream Land and it’s citizens into yarn, including our hero Kirby. He then bumps into Yin-Yarn, who sucks him into a sock that is tied around his neck. Kirby must now find his way through the colorful and odd world with the assistance of Prince Fluff, the leader of Patch Land.
Taking advantage of the unique designs and style of yarn and patches, the developers added new ways to explore levels and being able to turn your shape and size into different forms. For example, Kirby can throw a piece of his own thread to catch a button and with a tug, he can find a hidden item or to pull two pillars together to reach the next section of the level.
Kirby Mass Attack – DS – 2011
Blending touch screen and platforming, Kirby Mass Attack sees Kirby being split into ten by the evil magic of Necrodeus and as ten individual Kirbys, you must all work together in order to beat the magician and his Skull Gang.
You use the touch screen to move the Heroic Heart for all the Kirbys to follow and instruct throughout each level and to complete an obstacle is done with a simple tap with your stylus to get through it. The game uses a bunch of different motions for you to perform that gives your little gang a different instruction to perform.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land – Wii – 2011
The last Kirby game to be available in stores was Kirby’s Return to Dream Land and while it received positive reviews, the game was not the widest release as it was competing against bigger titles such as Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Super Mario 3D Land, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Keeping to the simple and traditional elements of a Kirby platformer, the game’s main feature was to be able to play with up to three other players and play as Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight or Waddle Dee and was part of a great year for video games, particularly with Kirby.