With this year being Kirby’s 20th Anniversary, Nintendo celebrated it with the Kirby Collection, which just released last month, and with that in mind, we’re taking a look at the entire Kirby series, ranking each individual game from weakest to strongest. Take a look at which Kirby games stand out from the crowd, and discover why they are ranked where they are ranked. If you’ve ever wondered which pink-puffball platformer is the weakest and most forgettable, which power-copying adventure is the best, which Kirby games suck and blow, which Kirby games suck and blow, but are fun to suck and blow in, then read on. Excuse the bad pun. Let’s move on now.
The Kirby series is a platforming series by Nintendo, predominately developed by HAL Laboratory, known for the premise of taking your own enemies force by spitting it back at them or swallowing your enemies and stealing their powers. Kirby debuted back on August 1st, 1992 created by Masahiro Sakurai, someone who has risen through the ranks really fast with Nintendo.
On a side note, Shigeru Miyamoto wanted Kirby to be yellow, and Kirby was named after the Kirby vacuum because he sucks like a vacuum—never mind let’s just get to what you wanna see!
You wanna see which Kirby’s are the best. Before we get to the list, we’ll lay out the color coding system that will quickly tell you the quality of the game.
Red = Skip this garbage! It’s awful!
Orange = The bad outweighs the good, you would need a very forgiving stomach
Yellow = A mixed bag that will either hit or miss with you. Rent it or approach with caution
Green = Good game, recommendable with some flaws to get past
Blue = Instant classic with little to no flaws, a definite must buy and play.
Another thing you should know we’re going to rank the 12 mainline Kirby platformers within the series, no spin-offs. We’re not going to include remakes of any of the Kirby games either, just the original product will be judged. All of these games are being judged by the expectations during time period they came out in, with some factoring of standing the test of time. The games are ranked from weakest to strongest and their release dates are North American release dates. While this list is an attempt to try to be objective as possible, it’s understandable to disagree with the list but don’t take it too seriously, this also kind of for fun! =)
Incoming giant ranking article!!!
So with that, let’s count down the Kirby series! We start with our weakest Kirby game and it is…
12. Kirby: Squeak Squad (Nintendo DS)
Release Date: December 4, 2006 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Flagship, Natsume
It should be well known that there isn’t a particularly bad Kirby game. There are, however, some games that feel uninspired, generic and underwhelming. This is one of them. Some traditional Kirby purists got upset at the lack of traditional Kirby. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror was of the non-linear side scrolling platforming genre or more prominently known as a Metroidvania. Kirby Canvas Curse cleverly controlled Kirby exclusively with the Stylus. What do we get when Kirby goes completely traditional again? We get a watered-down streamlined Kirby experience. No horrendous flaws, but the platforming is pathetically easy and even the purist of Kirby completionist will 100% this game too effortlessly. Its big crime is that it’s the most simplified definition of what a traditional Kirby game is. Aside from cake… I can’t even remember what was so important about that cake..
Again, nothing is really outright terrible, but it’s definetly disappointing considering it’s the same team that worked on unique offerings like Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, Resident Evil Zero, and 3 handheld offerings of The Legend of Zelda in, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages and The Minish Cap. This is what Flagship last works on before getting dissolved into Capcom? What a waste of talent and that fact helps solidify this installment at the bottom of the series. When you think about it however, if this is Kirby’s weakest game, that’s a pretty good weak point considering how far other platforming mascots have gone such as Sonic The Hedgehog and Spyro The Dragon. Better it be forgettably bland than to be horrendously painful. The cake is still a lie!
11. Kirby’s Return to DreamLand (Wii)
Release Date: October 24, 2011 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
It’s really de ja vu all over again with this game, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Mass Attack not being accepted the purist of Kirby players (really the worst part of the fanbase), what do we get? Yet another watered-down experience. I would normally say “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”, but because what is not broken (Kirby Squeak Squad) pales in comparison to when they fixed it (Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Kirby Mass Attack), I need to make up an entirely different saying for this: If it’s not broken, but you tried to fix it and then by fixing what isn’t broken made it better, don’t unfix it? Don’t go back to the older version? Don’t go backwards? Don’t…downgrade—Oh whatever you get my point! Kirby’s Return to Dreamland brings Kirby back to his roots unfortunately again in an over streamlined manner. It’s easy, underwhelming and forgettable. I haven’t even mentioned the awful midi music that is terribly dated and can even ring in your ears, the whole package just isn’t acceptable in 2011.
Some of the side stuff can be entertaining and fun, because that’s the only real part that feels like challenge, everything else feels criminally underwhelming that it can hurt if you are an experienced gamer. Along with those challenges, sure this game has some things going for it. It has super ultra mega powers that are new to the series, it can be satisfying to plow through enemies with a giant sword and what not. The 4-player co-op is also a plus. The speed from Kirby’s Adventure and Kirby Super Star also returns, so the gameplay will always stay fast. As much as I did wring this game, there are still good aspects to it that can possibly make it reminiscent to that of Kirby’s Adventure. It is kinda fun though, so it’s at least worth a rental, but if this is the Kirby game that we’ve been waiting for, for over a decade, then what a disappointment. Did I mention the story is also forgettable? (Even for a Kirby game)
10. Kirby’s Dream Land (Game Boy)
Release Date: August 1, 1992 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
The game that started it all: Kirby’s DreamLand. A lot of things can hold this game back such as the simple fact that Nintendo of America didn’t even know what to do with their new platforming mascot as they couldn’t even advertise him as the right color for his first game! One limitation of the original game is that well: Kirby doesn’t suck. However, there’s two games at the bottom of this list that where Kirby does suck. Like this game, Kirby doesn’t suck, as it forces you to be clever with swallowing and spitting up enemies/objects as your main attack, a staple in the Kirby series that some players don’t even use in future Kirby titles because of the power ability that debuts after this game.
The levels and platforming may not be as fun as it’s successors however, this is one of the few Kirby games where the difficulty can’t be broken, for since you can’t have powers in this game, you have to always be clever with how you inhale objects/enemies and exhale them back at other enemies or bosses. You have to do this to beat bosses or solve puzzles. If you give this Game Boy classic a try, trying playing some other Kirby games of your choice without powers, I bet you they will be the true difficulty they were meant to be, because an average Kirby game can be broken with an abuse of powers and can suck the difficulty out of things, however the best Kirby games find a way to combat the powers and still make it just as difficult. As for this game, while it hasn’t aged extremely well and it is often considered too short (and I mean SHORT), it’s definetly worth a try, dust off your Game Boy or even buy this on the 3DS’s eShop and you won’t be going wrong, but the test of time and it’s length do hurt this one quite a bit!
9. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
Release Date: November 27, 1997 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
Alright, now we’re getting into Kirby games that have better difficulty balance. This game still isn’t recommendable for everyone but it has it’s perks and it has it’s cons. Being lower on the list has nothing to do with it being released on the Super Nintendo when the era of the Nintendo 64 had already begun, nor because it had a tough act to follow in Kirby Super Star. It does, however, have to do with a tad bit of staleness by this time. It does go back to the formula that was popular on the Game Boy. However, just because the formula was on Game Boy doesn’t mean the formula itself is dated, it’s more so because it’s something too familiar and not always in a good way, as in it feels like a Game Boy game under the guise of a 16-bit cartridge with luscious art design. Though it doesn’t hurt as much as Kirby’s Return to Dreamland trying to be like Kirby’s Adventure, the substance still feels like the last of a great era in Super Nintendo sidescroll platforming (though a bit stale variation).
It’s still a very worthy challenge that pays homage to that of Kirby’s Dream Land 2, it’s one of the most challenging games to 100% in the Kirby franchise and brings back the animals that keep the experience fresh that change up the power you hold depending on rich animal you are riding on. Try being a completionist with this game, it will be frustrating (not all for the right reasons) and will end up making you replay through levels trying to get what you missed. It’s only a shame that if you’re not a completionist, the journey will fly by fast, because the amount of game you seem to get between just beating the levels and getting all of the collectables is one of the problems that occurs too often in the Kirby series and this is probably the worst case scenario of it. (If anything, play this game because R.O.B. and Samus cameo’s are in it!) Regardless, it can still be a fun play, just don’t expect anything to blow you away, it was the first game without Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai’s direction and it shows. It didn’t turn heads in 1997, so it really doesn’t turn heads now.
8. Kirby 64 (N64)
Release Date: June 26, 2000 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
Kirby 64 has quite a lot of things that fans wished were in other Kirby games. It has some of the coolest imagery seen in a Kirby game, making great use of the 2.5D aspect, having a tilted camera doing what a lot of other 2.5D platformers fail to do and that’s use the .5D, 3D models on a 2D plane, use that 3D please, it’s one of the problems Return to Dreamland had, having to look at the same camera angle the entire game can really became a bore. Kirby 64 has a unique implementation of swallowing enemies and holding them above your head to make them aid you. Thirdly, Kirby 64 is one of few Kirby games where you can’t just float over the entire levels, you need a bit more skill with the platforming. Last and definetly not least, this game also has the innovative combo-power combination that no other Kirby game has (not counting that half-baked mechanic in Squeak Squad), you could toy around for so long finding awesome power combos like Cutter + Spark to go Darth Maul on the bad guys with a double-edged life saber or find powers as lame as Burn + Ice where you turn into an ice cube and burst into flames…yeah really effective. With 35 power-ups in total to spice up the gameplay what could go wrong?
I think the critical reception of this game is right on the money, while within the Kirby fanbase, it’s definitely overrated. Okay okay, hear me out, put down your torches and pitchforks. Like with Dream Land 3, you can see some quality aspects absent from Kirby 64 with the absence of Masahiro Sakurai as much as there are some quality aspects to offset those shortcomings. What can easily kill this game is it’s length, even when you 100% it, while it is a fair challenge to 100%, I’ve seen it done and have done it in less than 5 hours and that’s a true bummer for a game with very exciting level design that could have kept it fresh for much longer than that. Secondly, the powers tend to break the games difficulty and that’s a real shame. In general, for a platformer in 2000, while I’m not asking it to be a 3D Kirby (Nintendo, get on that please!), look at other Nintendo platforming mascots in Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64, they were huge and epic. In the non-Nintendo realm, you have Rayman and Klonoa on the Playstation exceeding in overwhelming creativity more than Kirby 64, so for the time this wasn’t really all that mindblowing aside from it’s well presented cut scenes that look like that of an early GameCube title, it’s really part of the above average status quo that often happened with Kirby games as Masahiro Sakurai left the series. Good game but not the masterpiece fans try to make it. (P.S. I know there’s some mini-games in there but nothing groundbreaking about those either!)
7. Kirby Mass Attack (Nintendo DS)
Release Date: September 19, 2011 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
What’s better than one Kirby? Two Kirbys. What’s better than Two Kirbys? Ten Kirbys. Ten Kirbys is the maximum Kirbys you can have with this game. Ten Kirbys also multiply the fun factor by ten, as with these ten Kirby’s you can have ten actions being done at once. Ten Kirbys, controlled with one stylus, how is it possible? It works like a charm. The presentation, just makes you feel fuzzy and warm. Ten Kirbys has been so much fun, I don’t know if I want to go back to one. Speaking of one, you only have one command in this game and that one command is tapping the screen, you use one command to control ten Kirby’s. It does a lot different than the traditional Kirby, rather than focusing you on your actions with powers, it has more puzzle like elements.
Some of these puzzles make you use all ten of your Kirbys to do different things! Almost to the point where it’s real-time strategy in a way of similar to Pikmin where you need a certain amount going into the level forcing you to replay older levels to get the required amount. (Okay don’t hold me to the term Real-Time Strategy, I don’t want to get flamed!) It’s a great breathe of fresh air. If that’s not original enough, how about composer Shogo Sakai who composed Mother 3 to breathe life into the game with original great music. With the only real setbacks keeping it lower on the list are the possibilities of repetitiveness or the feel of easiness, though not disgustingly easy like the bottom 2 games on this list. Don’t break your screen tapping with the stylus though, because you do a lot of tapping! More tapping than when Savior Glover dances
6. Kirby & the Amazing Mirror (Game Boy Advance)
Release Date: October 18, 2004 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Flagship, Dimps, Hal Laboratory
If you’re a Metroid or Castlevania (Symphony of the Night breed) fan, you might wanna check out Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, as this game is of the non-linear sidescrolling platform genre or for slang term “Metroidvania”. On top of the tight controls you’ve come to know and love from games like Kirby Super Star and fun platforming, now you have the freedom to of open-ended gameplay through a giant map. This kind of freedom really makes up for the shortcomings this game (we’ll get to those in a moment). With so much to do in this huge world, this game will keep completionists busy. This game even has a Super Metroid like community making up speedruns and exploiting shortcuts and what not, that’s pretty cool and it’s a shame Kirby never went back to this. On top of that, the levels are fun in design and the 4-player co-op, while probably underused, also adds fun to it if you can scoop up some cable links.
I said there were shortcomings, but they may appear minor. The non-linearity of this game can also be a double-edge sword and make things feel cluttered and it may not exactly be your fault that you don’t exactly know where to go and that’s a shame because otherwise this has the potential to be one of the best Kirby games if not one of the best handheld games period. Another flaw is with the AI, when you are playing alone (which most of the time you probably will be), the AI can actually be more of a problem then a help at times too. It is good that we are getting less and less flaws going up this list, but it is getting tougher to rank.
5. Kirby Canvas Curse (Nintendo DS)
Release Date: June 13, 2005 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
Back to the stylus again are we? It’s glad to be back, but this was an even earlier example of how to use the stylus only on the DS. It’s also a much faster example than Mass Attack, even to a point of overwhelming magnitude. You will always be kept on your toes as Kirby doesn’t even walk in this game. Kirby is trapped in the form of a ball, a round ball that you must guide with your stylus, by pushing it or drawing beautiful rainbow paths that makes Kirby go in rollercoaster-like movements! With this being the premise of a game, it was executed so well. When it is said that the game will keep you on your toes, you really will be moving that stylus all over the place as the level design and requirements of what you will do with stylus is fun and intuitive.
It’s faster pacing is also what in general puts it over Mass Attack, the other stylus-exclusive Kirby game as well as some of other installments of Kirby. The only real drag about this game is that…well, besides what you constantly do with the lovely stylus (did I mention that you use the stylus), is that the difficulty of the game doesn’t incline too much, oh don’t get me wrong, it gets harder progressively, but not as fast as it really needs to be, so it might grow tiresome when the game isn’t forcing you to use too much more effort. That being said, the difficulty that it’s at, is certainly more commendable than, once again, the bottom two games on this list, oh you disgustingly easy games, how must you keep getting used as the butt of the comments, as you are after all on the butt of this list!
4. Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)
Release Date: October 17, 2010 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Good Feel, HAL Laboratory
This game has a Good Feel to it if you know what I mean (wink wink). Everything about Kirby’s Epic Yarn is genius. This game is a thesis statement on why video games have the right to be considered an art and a strong thesis statement. Its look alone had GameTrailers giving it the best graphics of E3 2010 award, over Gears of War 3, Killzone 3 and Crysis 2. Crysis freaking 2, that is saying a lot. The graphics also are part of what makes the gameplay special. Everything in this game is made of yarn and follows the rules of Yarn while still keeping a sensible balance of physics. When fire (which is also made out of yarn) is coming at you and it hits Kirby (who is also made out of yarn), the yarn burns to a crisp but if you undo the threads/buttons with your yarn whip, the fire is no more, that idea alone is just so unique and I could go on for hours about the theory of yarn physics and the equilibrium of physics within those yarn physics but I won’t bore you to death like you’re in class. The game itself feels like you are in a preschool class anways in presentation, with a PBS Kids-esque Narrator telling the story in between bosses and it makes you feel like a kid again.
The platforming in general is also crazy tight and challenging, challenge that you don’t see often in a Kirby game, sure you can’t die, but that just skips the arbitrary wasted time spent by a “retry screen”, a dated design in gaming. Full completion on this game, my goodness, it is a blast of a challenge to have to basically go through entire levels without getting hit or falling once or your gold medal goes out the window. The sidequests? There tons of them, all great fun. The music? It is fantastically orchestrated. Good Feel definitely has the better platforming prowess than modern day HAL Laboratory without question. Here’s what I say: The last two games before Return to Dream Land didn’t suck as Kirby did not suck in those, Return to Dream Land went back to sucking, a lot of fans backlashed the two Kirby’s before that because they didn’t suck, but then they finally got one that did suck, what kind of fanbase wants their mascot to suck anyways isn’t that masochistic? Point being, if it takes Kirby not to suck for the game not to suck, then I don’t ever want to see a Kirby game that sucks again after Return to Dreamland.
3. Kirby’s Dream Land 2 (Game Boy)
Release Date: May 1, 1995 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
This is the great Sakurai trio, sticking together in the top three, no matter which order I throw it in, I can’t really be wrong, even though I am trying to make this list as objective and unbiased as possible, but that’s what we have comment boxes for now isn’t it? It was really hard to decide between Kirby’s Dream Land 2 and the number two game, but in the end, the slower speed of the gameplay and less amount of powers (even though the animals amplify those said powers in different ways but we’ll get to those in a minute), put this one below the number two game. Nonetheless, this game turned up the creativity dials abundantly and with three sharp minds such as Masahiro Sakurai, Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata working on this game, it’s no surprise and I wouldn’t be surprised if Iwata’s work on this game lead to him leading the Big N itself, because you gotta know how to make a game to lead a gaming empire like Nintendo! This game was an instant Game Boy classic for all of the right reasons, one of those reasons, this game was indeed a challenge to completionists. Within the Kirby community this is the hardest game (if not Amazing Mirror) for the player to achieve 100% completion within the game.
Even if you’re not a completionist (of course sadly the game does seem to punish the player for not being one), the game itself is generally a challenge, something that the Kirby series lacked (even for a Kirby game) after Sakurai and Iwata left HAL Laboratory. The level design forces skill out of the player as do the arrangement of enemies, if I sound bland or like I’m repeating myself I apologize because at this point of the list, these top 3 games just get down what makes a fun platformer pat with little flaws and you can’t go wrong with any of the games at this point in the list. The animal friends in Dream Land 2 are as intuitive as animal friends in Donkey Kong Country, they make the game a lot more interesting in the same way, as there are a variety of them to ride and as I just drew a comparison to Donkey Kong Country, I just realized that game has a rough task of achieving 100% completion as well! With Kirby now having his power ability unlike the original DreamLand, he has 7 powers he has to pick from, when he gets on animal friend, each ally has their own way of producing the power and makes you experiment, so it’s a surprise. Unfortunately, this might mean running into lame variations of the power, which will immediately make you either drop the animal or the power, but that’s how experimentation works!
Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is often put in the “Dark Matter Trilogy”, alongside Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64 because they involve the main antagonist of the Dark Matter. That bothers the mind a bit considering these two games are quite a bit below the quality of this one. It more so makes sense to look at it as, the original Dream Land is a rough dated cult hit, Dream Land 2 is that big blockbuster release, then Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64 are like Direct-to-Video sequels, they take the same foundation of Dream Land 2, but the platforming isn’t as strong, the level design isn’t as strong, the balancing of traditional Kirby tropes isn’t as strong and the overall polish of those games just isn’t there like Kirby’s Dream Land 2, which has very entertaining action, a fair challenge (aside from a few completionist favoring designs) and fun platforming. Commenting on it’s presentation, the graphics are as good as you can possibly demand from the Game Boy, it sure doesn’t matter that it’s not in color, it’s still crisp! The sound? Oh man, the music is just some of the best Game Boy music you will ever hear. Aside from a few minor rough edges, Kirby’s Dream Land 2 is a package well done right and deserves to the right to be a Game Boy best-seller, the high critical praise and praise it gets from within the Kirby fanbase and gamers period.
2. Kirby’s Adventure (Nintendo Entertainment System)
Release Date: May 1, 1993 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
If you asked me what game you should play to get into the Kirby series, I would tell you to play this one, because this is what defines the series, it is the keen-essential game to understand what Kirby is about. It is a fun platformer where you take your enemy’s force and use it against them, being their projectiles or their own powers you steal from them, a much different premise than jumping on your enemies in Super Mario Bros. games. What makes this one the gateway into Kirby fandom is that all of the common Kirby tropes found in this game are used properly, where as in some other Kirby games on this list, the tropes are exploited to extreme measures that alienate certain gamers, which is why the game is so recommendable because it has the least amount of things that can put you off. For example, a common problem with the Kirby series is the implementation of side collectables and secrets, where they are either so easy to collect that it feels like a joke (Return to Dreamland) or not only are they unfairly hard to collect, but you get a gimped ending that might as well say “A Winner Is You” after defeating a pathetically easy final boss that isn’t even the real final boss (Dream Land 3, this trope needs to die by the way). In Kirby’s Adventure, you aren’t getting a stripped down experience because you aren’t a completionist yet at the same time you are still challenged if you are a completionist, it’s your profile, you decide how deep you want to dig and you decide the pace you want to go at. The difficulty of a Kirby title is usually easier in proportion to other Nintendo games of the same system, the NES was known for the term “Nintendo Hard”.
So with that measurement, the difficulty of Kirby’s Adventure is simply “not masochistic”. so while that was below the average difficulty then, right now I’d say this game is on the same level if not just a tad harder than the modern average difficulty. Contributing to the challenge of Kirby’s Adventure, once again, unlike other Kirby games, the powers in this game do not (as much) break the difficulty and make it awfully (Kirby 64), on the contrary they become part of your tactics as trading a power for another one can be a life or death situation, to the point where you actually need to experiment with the 25 abilities to see what helps in what situations and bosses, some powers may surprisingly disable parts of the boss that forced you to multi-task, thereby giving you less things to multitask with, it’s all part of your planning and that’s fantastic. Not to mention, the 25 powers in this game are all brilliant and diverse, none of them are utterly useless (excluding Sleep, which is an anti-power that you can accidentally get but you don’t want!) and each of them have their own way to spice things up. You can float for as long as you want (a poor Kirby trope) however with a lot of the levels it doesn’t always work with the clever design of the levels that make it a bad strategy to do so and speaking of the design of the levels, they are very fun and adrenaline-lifting. What helps this adrenaline is that the speed of the gameplay is fast-paced, making the movement of the DreamLand games look turtle-paced. Even the mini-games within Kirby’s Adventure are just plain fun between levels and only inspire what comes next on this list..
While Kirby’s Adventure isn’t as strong as other platformers of the NES library such as Super Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man 2, Castlevania III or Ninja Gaiden, it definitely serves as a proper swan song to the aging NES and is actually pretty impressive for the hardware itself, by this time in 1993 there was still untapped potential in the NES and Masahiro Sakurai found it in both graphics and sound for this game, as it displays gorgeous colors that pop off the screen and well crisp shapes, with the famous example of Butter Building that showed off the illusion of 3D rotation going up the tower. The sound effects are 8-bit cuteness at it’s best and the music some of the most memorable music of the series. This game had a very tough act to go up against while the Super Nintendo was popular and booming, this game had to give you a reason to dust off your NES and turn it on and it most certainly did. I could go on and gush over this game forever, but let’s put it this way: It’s a great post-generation NES classic to solidify the platforming series we have today and not only is it one of the best games of the NES library but it’s one of the best 2D platformers to date and you don’t even have to be a die-hard Kirby fan to enjoy this, it’s a must play. (If you want an even more vibrant experience, oh goodness you have to try Kirby Nightmare in DreamLand, it’s remake on the Game Boy Advance!)
1. Kirby Super Star (SNES)
Release Date: September 20, 1996 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: HAL Laboratory
All that gushing I did over Kirby’s Adventure, it sounded like it deserved to be number one! Remember all of that stuff I gushed about in Kirby’s Adventure? This game is like Disney’s Fantasia of Kirby. Instead of one linear coherent game, you get nine smaller activities that can be experienced in a non-linear order. Why it’s recommendable to play Adventure before Super Star? You have to understand what a traditional linear Kirby platformer is like, then when you become a fan of its gameplay, you now get that same premise but amplified in multiple forms of interactive art. I actually did have a problem with this game as some of you may even feel the same: Super Star seems like a glorified mini-game collection and the fact that it wasn’t one big linear platforming adventure is possibly detrimental, but on the contrary, they aren’t really mini-games, these are games that are potentially fleshed out enough that they could even have their own cartridges. HAL Laboratory had a bunch of ideas for Kirby and they threw all of them on a giant digital canvas like an artistic collage and what a beautiful looking collage this is, they just threw a dash of every color of paint at the canvas, each color being a different scenario and type of gameplay for Kirby to play in. It’s like the KirbyMuseum. While I would prefer it that Kirby games are of the breed of Kirby’s Adventure, there’s just no single Kirby title better than this.
The gameplay is the fastest of the series on top of the traditional robust level design of your general top tier Kirby game.The powers? Oh my goodness, like everything else in this game, they have taken a 16-bit upgrade, making Kirby dressed up in things associated with the powers. If that’s not enough, you now don’t always have to toss away a power that you like because you see another one you like, oh no, you can make that discarded copy ability turn into an AI controlled partner or even a human-controlled partner, playing as the enemy you swallowed to get that power! With the addition of the guard-button to have more in-depth combat, you have yourself Kirby gameplay at its best. Now we might as well touch on each of the sub-games within this cartridge as there are six main ones. You get two traditional Kirby fare sub-games in Spring Breeze and Dyna Blade, the former being a truncated remake of Kirby’s Dream Land and the latter being a slightly harder quest to find out why a giant bird is destroying crops in Dream Land with a visually emotional conclusion. In The Great Cave Offensive you get the inspiration of Amazing Mirror, in a Metroidvania where you collect treasures and find a boss somewhere in a big non-linear map. Race King Dedede in a foot race to the finish line in Gourmet Race! Beating Dyna Blade grants you Revenge of Meta Knight, where you get to find out the culture of Kirby’s universe through a more plot-heavy adventure where you stop Meta Knight from conquering parts of Dream Land, where it’s a race against the clock in every level (I assume when the clock reaches zero, I guess Dream Land is blown up), between each section you get lots of cute cliché dialog from Meta Knight’s crew while your heart races to platform with Kirby at adrenaline-pumping, demanding time limits.
After all of that, you get another plot-heavy adventure that is a true test of Kirby prowess; In Milky Way Wishes, the story is that you have to make peace between the Sun and the Moon by gathering the power of the Dream Fountains to summon a wish-making Macguffin, the only catch, you cannot copy enemy powers in this game, you have to find the abilities scattered around levels in a non-linear fashion, once you find the power keep it forever and can switch between multiple powers, the difficulty behind this game is that you won’t be able to pass through certain parts without certain powers. Aside from those 6 main attractions, you get to have a Boss Marathon in Arena, text your reaction reflexes in Samurai Kirby and can try to cause the bigger cracks in the planet than your opponent in Megaton Punch, if skilled enough you can crack Pop Star itself in half! Kirby Super Star serves all Kirby fans in it’s collage-style presentation, your classic traditional Kirby adventures, non-linear collection quests, time trial endurance rounds, plot-heavy presented platformers and even a footrace! It’s a love-letter for Kirby fans giving all possible ways Kirby can be great, Super Star improves on past Kirby games and inspires future Kirby titles. What can I say? Kirby Super Star is a beautiful work of 16-bit art and is the best Kirby title period.
So there’s the ranking of the Kirby series. Take it for what it’s worth, take your pick of Kirby’s but now you know which ones are do’s and which are don’ts. Here’s a quick recap before the close:
12. Kirby Squeak Squad
11. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
10. Kirby’s Dream Land
9. Kirby’s Dream Land 3
8. Kirby 64
7. Kirby Mass Attack
6. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
5. Kirby Canvas Curse
4. Kirby’s Epic Yarn
3. Kirby’s Dream Land 2
2. Kirby’s Adventure
1. Kirby Super Star
Overall it seems like Kirby, while he may not always be the king of Nintendo mascots in comparison to other games, his best games do not fail to find the more creative side of Nintendo, even if it is on an above-average level like a notable amount of games on this list. Voice your opinion in the comment boxes and go reflect on some Kirby!