Every Kirby game has something to love, but there are some entries in the series that are just on a whole other level.
Nintendo has developed some lovable franchise mascots over their illustrious career in the video game industry and Kirby has become one of their most consistent figures. The Kirby franchise has been going strong for three decades. It’s a series that’s taken some major risks when it comes to gameplay, most of which lean into Kirby’s unique physique, which have kept the games fresh for so long.
Inventive Kirby platformers have marked all of Nintendo’s consoles, including their handhelds, and 2022’s Kirby and the Forgotten Land for the Switch looks to be another triumph. Every Kirby game has something to love, but there are some entries in the series that are just on a whole other level.
10 Kirby Air Ride Is So Much More Than A Kirby Racing Game
The Kirby games are primarily platformers, but Kirby’s malleable nature has allowed the franchise to detour into other gaming genres like pinball, mini-golf, and in the case of Kirby Air Ride for the Gamecube, racing. Kirby Air Ride doesn’t get the same respect as Mario Kart, but the fact that it’s a racing game that’s directed by Masahiro Sakurai is why it’s such a standout title. Sakurai employs many of the extravagant unlockable features that would later become a staple of the Super Smash Bros. series. It’s one of the deepest racing games out there and also a satisfying entry in the Kirby canon.
9 Kirby Super Star Ultra Packs More Than Ten Games Into A Quality Compilation
The Kirby series has flourished as gaming technology grows more sophisticated, but all of its 16-bit entries are still very satisfying. The Super Nintendo’s Kirby Super Star was one of the best titles on the console due to its economical approach of breaking the game into seven smaller games of varying genres, as well as two mini-games. Kirby Super Star Ultra is the enhanced DS remake of the SNES classic that improves the aesthetics of the original, but also adds four more games and three more mini-games so that it’s packed with even more content. It’s the perfect Kirby title for newcomers.
8 Kirby’s Return To Dream Land Brings Kirby Back To Its Roots On The Wii
Kirby games have taken so many creative pivots over the years that sometimes the best course of action is to go back to the basics instead of continually reinventing the wheel. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is a Wii release that’s the first traditional platformer in the series since Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land looks gorgeous and makes solid use of the Wii’s limited control scheme. The game also features several mechanics that become recurring tropes in the series, like the ability to stack up allies and attack as a totem.
7 Kirby & The Rainbow Curse Is A Hidden Wii U Gem
The Wii U is a Nintendo console that’s slipped through the cracks even though it has some exceptional titles from major franchises. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse carries over the innovative gameplay of the Nintendo DS’s Kirby: Canvas Curse that makes brilliant use of the Wii U GamePad. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is fun to play and there are some playful vehicular transformations at Kirby’s disposal. It has the perfect balance in difficulty where both beginners and seasoned gamers will be challenged. The title’s clay art aesthetic is beyond beautiful and the true highlight.
6 Kirby & The Amazing Mirror Gives The Series A Metroidvania Makeover
Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance was such a strong step forward for handheld gaming and the Kirby series in particular thrives on the powerful handheld. Kirby & the Amazing Mirror’s biggest difference from the rest of the platformers is that it adopts a labyrinthine “Metroidvania” approach where the player has the freedom to tackle the game however they want. It’s a fun change of pace, but it also makes sense for the title’s new mysterious Mirror World setting. Kirby & the Amazing Mirror also incorporates multiplayer in a creative way for those with link cables.
5 Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land Reinvents An Iconic Kirby Classic
The original Kirby games are iconic in each of their own ways, but some of them remain dated and simplistic in certain ways. Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land is a Game Boy Advance game that remakes Kirby’s Adventure for the original Nintendo. This is such an exceptional upgrade that makes the fun title become a more substantial experience.
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land looks and plays better, but this remake also adds in six mini-games to increase the replayability, as well as extra characters to control, including Meta Knight. It’s also a great way to experience Kirby’s Adventure for those that never had a NES.
4 Kirby: Triple Deluxe Is A Strong Platforming Package In Every Area
Kirby: Triple Deluxe is admittedly a fairly easy Kirby game, but it’s so polished in every regard and undeniably fun that it’s hard to hold its lack of challenge against it. Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a Nintendo 3DS title and it takes full advantage of the handheld’s capabilities with a soundtrack and graphics that stand out, but there’s also impressive implementation of 3D. Triple Deluxe isn’t necessarily hard, but there’s still strong level design and creative boss battles that makes it a delight to thoroughly explore each new world.
3 Kirby Mass Attack Turns To An Army Of Kirbys For Big Success
Kirby is a character that can do so much and take on a wealth of different forms and the Nintendo DS’ Kirby Mass Attack is one of the more creative spins on the platforming franchise. Kirby Mass Attack takes its cues from Lemmings and similar strategy-platformer hybrids. Gameplay is entirely dictated by the stylus and touchscreen as the player controls up to ten Kirbys that can attack in tandem or fulfill separate purposes. It’s a choice that works and makes the standard Kirby experience significantly more chaotic.
2 Kirby: Canvas Curse Flourishes With Its Stylus Setup
The Nintendo DS took pride in its groundbreaking gameplay that hinged on its touchscreen and stylus controls. Many games incorporate these mechanics, but they can feel extraneous or even detrimental to the experience. Kirby: Canvas Curse arrives early in the DS’ lifespan, but it’s easily one of the handheld’s most entertaining titles. Canvas Curse is full of Kirby’s beloved characters and worlds, but its new ball-based controls add a welcome challenge to the platforming. Kirby: Canvas Curse is an important step forward for the franchise that makes many later games possible.
1 Kirby’s Epic Yarn Is The Ultimate Combination Of Style & Substance
Several Nintendo platformers have received gorgeous aesthetic makeovers, but Kirby has been especially fortunate in this area. Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii is the best of both worlds when it comes to inventive platforming and a unique art style. The new look for Kirby’s world is far from a gimmick and it’s able to actively enhance the gameplay in a way that feels natural for the series. Curiously, the Nintendo 3DS enhanced port, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, was released nearly a decade later and incorporates additional features, but it’s slightly inferior to the Wii original.
NEXT: 10 Games to Play While You Wait For Kirby and the Forgotten Land
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