Let’s begin with the stuff I wouldn’t recommend playing. In truth, there aren’t any, because the worst Kirby game – Kirby Air Ride
on the GameCube – is still worth a shot, if only out of morbid curiosity to see how it went on to influence the latter Smash Bros. games. That said, I don’t think Air Ride's core idea or mechanics work all that well, or that it is worth the high price that it goes for second hand. Next on my rankings from worst-to-best is Kirby’s Dream Course
on the SNES; it’s a good idea for a game that, again, I don’t feel works very well. Like Air Ride, it’s too clever for it’s own good, and is overly complicated as a result. The same could be said about Kirby’s Pinball Land
on the Game Boy; it just doesn’t ever come together. I think that these three are missable enough.Kirby Star Stacker
and Kirby Block Ball
are unusual Game Boy puzzlers, and unlike anything that’s come out since, but they’re quite shallow. They’re decent, unquestionably, but you can’t talk about them in the same breath as other Game Boy games in the genre, like Tetris and all that. Kirby’s Avalanche
on the SNES is just the same as any old Puyo Puyo game, but with the usual Kirby sounds and ditties. Nothing fantastic or massively exciting, but, again, it’s unquestionably decent.
I’m not mad for the Metroidvania approach that Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
goes for, or the way in which it recycles so many of the assets from Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
. I don’t think Kirby had the best time of it on the Game Boy Advance; to me, these are two fairly ordinary, middle-of-the-road platformers on a handheld that had loads of them in the first place. A big issue with Nightmare in Dream Land is that it is a loose remake of the original NES Kirby game, 1993’s Kirby’s Adventure
. That’s still a good game…by NES standards. Ancient, but good-ish. If you keep your expectations in check, you can still have a reasonably good time with it. Very basic, but it’s perfect Sunday afternoon fodder, in my opinion.
Moving into 'aye, it's all right' territoy here, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
passed me by when it originally came out on the N64 in 2001; it was either this or Zone of the Enders on PS2 with that AMAZING
Metal Gear Solid 2 demo. I picked it up in around 2007-2008 for the bargain price for fifteen smackers in GameStation and…didn’t really miss much! The hybrid abilities are a great idea that should be revisited, but otherwise it lacks vitality. All in all, I’d say that it’s quite good for what it sets out to do. Ultimately, nostalgia is find, but I definitely prefer the more ambitious, varied and forward-thinking Kirby games that appeared after this.
I'd say that Kirby: Mouse Attack
on the DS fails to make the most of the unique features of the system, and plays like a platformer straight out of 1993 (BC) as a result. Still, NGamer said something to the effect of “Kirby on autopilot still makes for a reasonably fun platformer”, and I suppose they’re right. It’s inoffensive enough, if you fancy giving it a swatch on the Wii U Virtual Console. I find it difficult to remember, though. Nothing stands out.The three Dream Land games
(the original and 2 on the Game Boy, and 3 on the SNES) are all of the same vein, and all of a similar quality. The graphical and audio flair of 3 can’t disguise it’s wholesale lack of new ideas, but –as traditionally-styled Kirby platformers go, I think that 1 and 2 still impress. I’ll always love the original Kirby’s Dream Land the most though, as it was my first computer game.
The rest of my list is almost entirely made up of Kirby games from the last decade. There’s not a duffer here; ever since Mouse Attack in 2016, I think the Kirby series has been largely excellent, and far surpass anything that people might have thought they previously had to live up to.
I think that Kirby Mass Attack
stands out as being one of the series’ better experiments. It reminds me of a downsized Pikmin rather than a more traditional Kirby game. It understands the DS well, which adds to it’s likeability. A very respectable effort, is this. Kirby Adventure Wii
is rock-solid, and – up to it’s release in 2011 – arguably the very best ‘classic’ Kirby platformer. Visually and aurally superb, and plays effortlessly. I felt that it was hugely underrated by the likes of Nintendo Game and ONM at the time – they gave it scores of around 70% or so, whereas it’s an easy 8.5-9 from me. Top drawer 2D platforming!
Which is better: Kirby: Power Paintbrush
or Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush
? In truth, I think that they’re both class, but the latter just edges it for me. While the DS original was rightly heralded as one of the best handheld games ever when it first came out in late 2005, I had a brilliant time with Rainbow Paintbrush on Wii U last year. It’s a really nice game, and it really highlights that games don’t always have to be complex; it’s sometimes good to just play something that’s joyfully uncomplicated.Kirby Fun Pak
might be my favourite game on the SNES. I love how imaginative and vibrant it all is. It’s an absolute delight to see, hear, and play. The 2008 DS update – Kirby Super Star Ultra
- adds all sorts of new content. They’re both fantastic games, and amongst the very finest in the series.
Both Kirby Triple Deluxe
and Kirby Planet Robobot
don’t put a single foot wrong. Never mind that they’re excellent Kirby games, they’re just excellent games, full-stop. Both are comfortably in my 3DS top five, and I’d have to imagine that I’m not the only one who’d say that. Superb showcases not only for the 3DS, but the Kirby series altogether.
And, lastly, my favourite Kirby game of all time is 2011’s Kirby’s Epic Yarn
, on Wii. This is one of the most captivating and charming games I’ve played in my life. I admire so much of what Good Feel did with this – it’s boundless enthusiasm, superlative animation and gorgeous soundtrack are all as good as it’s dazzling and peerless visuals. It’s unbelievable. I’ll wrap this up by saying that Kirby’s Epic Yarn is, to my mind, one of the best games of all time.