The 10 best Kirby games, ranked
Kirby would agree with us if he could read.
Since 1992, Kirby has been one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises. The pink puffball has been floating around and swallowing enemies for decades now and doesn’t look to stop soon. HAL Laboratory has shown no indication of slowing down on the Kirby output, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the games has dropped. While they will never be challenging experiences, you can find a lot of charm and cute fun in the best Kirby games. Here are the ten best Kirby games of all time.
10. Kirby’s Dream Land
Our list starts off where Kirby’s story began. Kirby’s Dream Land introduced all of the world to what would eventually become a pink puffball and the simple platforming action that comes in each of his games. Unfortunately, his copy ability powers would not be debuted until the next title, but everything else you love about Kirby is on full display here.
9. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is the first time the mainline series appeared in a 3D environment, although he would maintain his sidescrolling playstyle for a couple more decades. The main draw of this game was the number of abilities Kirby could combine to power himself up more than he previously could. Because it was still a 2D game, it wasn’t as revolutionary as some other memorable Nintendo 64 titles, but Crystal Shards was as cute and fun as any Kirby game before it.
8. Kirby’s Dream Land 2
In Dream Land 2, Kirby was introduced to three animal friends who would carry him around and modify his copied powers. Rick the hamster, Kine the fish, and Coo the bird became beloved side characters that would feature in the next game as well and are referenced countless times in the rest of the series. These were simple but effective ways to change up Kirby’s playstyle early in his life.
7. Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
Nightmare in Dream Land is a Game Boy Advance remake of the NES title Kirby’s Adventure. The game featured four player cooperative play, with each person controlling a different colored Kirby. Aside from looking gorgeous with its visual update, the game plays as great as it did years prior.
6. Kirby: Canvas Curse
In his normal form, Kirby is essentially a ball with feet. That’s why it makes sense in Canvas Curse to have him roll through courses as you direct him with the stylus and bottom screen of the DS. The level design fits this playstyle perfectly and fully makes use of what made the DS one of the most unique handheld consoles ever.
5. Kirby’s Epic Yarn
It’s not often that you see a game that strips Kirby of his copy powers, but that’s what Kirby’s Epic Yarn managed to do with great success. Kirby is pulled into a world of fabric, and his embodiment is turned into yarn, so he no longer has a stomach to swallow enemies like usual, and he can’t puff himself up because the air goes through him. Instead, he morphs into objects, wears hats that give him powers similar to his copy abilities, and interacts with the background to get through stages. Epic Yarn is probably the most traditional of platformers because of the way it limits Kirby’s usual abilities, and it pays off in a big way by providing a unique experience in the series.
4. Kirby’s Return to Dream Land
Kirby’s Return to Dream Land acts a lot like how New Super Mario Bros. did on the Wii. Both saw the returns of classic 2D adventures to the Nintendo home console market after lengthy delays and included simultaneously playing the game with four people, making King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandana Waddle Dee main protagonists in the story. On top of his usual copy abilities, Kirby could also get super abilities, which, as you might expect, were essentially ultra forms that could decimate enemies and affect the environment.
3. Kirby: Planet Robobot
When you think of a Kirby game, you probably wouldn’t envision our hero as the kind of person to pilot a mech suit. Regardless, that is what we got with Planet Robobot. While the Nintendo 3DS received eight different Kirby game releases, it was this game that stands leagues above all else there. Not only is piloting the mech suit and infusing it with Kirby’s usual copy abilities a blast, but the change to a mechanical area is a breath of fresh air from the usual Dream Land setting.
2. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
It took 30 years for Kirby to get a fully dedicated 3D game, and Forgotten Land was just what he needed. It isn’t necessarily a grander experience than anything else on this list, reminding us more of a cross between Super Mario 3D World and a Rayman game. Levels are still linear but investigating the small secrets in the corridors to find the Waddle Dees feels great, and we love being able to upgrade copy abilities. This game should pave the way for an influx of new Kirby titles in the future.
1. Kirby Super Star Ultra
Like Nightmare in Dream Land, Super Star Ultra is a remake of a beloved game that maintains all of the charm and fun gameplay that came before it, but adds more content, makes changes where needed, and updates the game to have it look even more beautiful than before. Over a dozen games are packed inside, with more boss fights than before and confirmation that while Kirby took a break from home consoles for a while, he was not slouching in the handheld titles.