Few franchises are willing to throw away their established gameplay from one release to the next quite like the Kirby series. Always experimental at heart, the franchise has seen the pink hero touch upon many different genres over the years from pinball to racing games. However, he’s most at home when platforming and in celebration of Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, we’re taking a look at the best Kirby games.
Much like the 3DS release, there have been plenty of remakes and compilations in the Kirby series. For the purposes of this list, games that weren’t primarily original content were not counted (such as Kirby Dream Collection or Kirby Super Star Ultra). With that being said, check out the 10 best Kirby games ever made below least great to most great.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby Star Allies
The latest new release in the series, Kirby Star Allies is fairly traditional in its gameplay. Players pick up an array of abilities from foes and have to make their way through a series of levels and boss fights. It’s a highly polished affair and one that encourages cooperative play (although solo players can throw hearts at enemies to turn them into their friends). Star Allies is also a wonderful celebration of the series’ history as updates have added characters from nearly every game as playable allies.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby and The Amazing Mirror
One of the most ambitious entries in the series, The Amazing Mirror is a full on Metroidvania-style platformer for the Game Boy Advance. Beyond having a huge map filled with secrets to explore, up to four players can get in on the action with only one needing to have the game. The fact that it’s on a handheld keeps it from reaching its full potential, but there is still plenty to enjoy here whether solo or with friends.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
The pink fluffball’s debut 3D entry was a great one as Kirby 64 put its own spin on its traditional platforming. Abilities received by enemies could now be combined with one another to create even wilder variants and this made getting through the colorful stages to be quite fun. The charming title also had three minigames that could be played with friends. The highlight being Checkerboard Case, which was a fun diversion where players destroy a chess board in order to eliminate one another.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby’s Adventure
While Kirby’s Dream Land for Game Boy is the first entry in the series, Kirby’s Adventure is the title that started Kirby as we know him today. The character went from being white to pink and gained the ability copying skill that has been attached to him ever since. Beyond creating the mold that nearly every Kirby game would follow since, the NES title is also just a great platformer in its own right.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby’s Return to Dream Land
One of the few Kirby games to wind up caught in development hell, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land was originally announced back in 2005 for the GameCube. It wouldn’t release until six years later for Nintendo Wii, but it wound up being worth the wait. Supporting up to four players, this by-the-numbers platformer had everything players wanted in a successor to Kirby 64. Despite not being challenging, there was plenty of replayability and the cooperative play was an enjoyable twist for a console entry.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby Mass Attack
While there have been multiple Kirbys (or is it Kirbies?) in a game before, developer HAL Laboratory took it to the extreme with Kirby Mass Attack. This touch screen-only game had players commanding up to 10 pink fluffballs to take down enemies. It continued the stretch of experimental Kirby games on the Nintendo DS and was a resounding success.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby Super Star
This Super Nintendo title was an instant classic and it’s easy to see why when looking back at it. Comprised of six main modes, one of which is an enhanced remake of Kirby’s Dream Land, the game is filled with a massive amount of content. Some of the levels are more simple in nature, and one is even a weird hybrid between a foot eating contest and footrace, but all of them offer up a unique experience. It also marks the debut of Meta Knight, who would become one of the series’ most iconic characters.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby: Planet Robobot
The sales pitch for Kirby: Planet Robobot was quite simple: what if we put the adorable hero in an awesome mech suit? It’s an addition that winds up being a ton of fun, and the game builds upon its predecessor, Kirby Triple Deluxe, in nearly every area as well. As far as the more traditional platformers go, this is easily at the top of the list thanks to its ability to keep the player grinning from ear to ear the entire time.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby’s Epic Yarn
While the Nintendo Wii wasn’t a graphical powerhouse, Kirby’s Epic Yarn was absolutely gorgeous. It also completely changed how Kirby controlled as his ability to inhale enemies and fly was entirely gone. Instead, Kirby had to transform into different objects to get the job done. It winds up being a relaxing, almost therapeutic, experience that is just a joy to complete.
The Best Kirby Games Ever | Kirby: Canvas Curse
One of the earliest Nintendo DS titles that truly made the case for touch screen gaming, Kirby: Canvas Curse was a totally unique spin on the series that transformed the lovable blob into a ball. It was up for players to make sure he could make his way to the end of levels safely. Despite the new form, Kirby still could copy abilities from foes, so it never felt like it was another game with Kirby just slapped upon it. Even though it was different, it still represented what was so special about the series in both design and spirit.