Game Review

Kirby's Adventure Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Adventure time

Though Kirby made his debut a year prior on the Game Boy, it was 1993's Kirby's Adventure on the NES that cemented his appearance, his power-stealing ability, and his vast environments full of hidden secrets. Kirby's Adventure did a lot more than expand on the simple charm of Kirby's Dream Land; it earned him a place as one of Nintendo's gaming icons.

By now you may have already picked it up, what with a release on the Wii's Virtual Console and a welcome portable revival as a 3D Classic, but if you haven't there's no time like the present.

Kirby's Adventure is a deceptively rich and complex experience. On its surface it seems like a relatively straight-forward platformer; you can hop, swim and fly through stages across eight worlds, collecting pieces of the legendary Star Rod so that you can stop the game's main antagonist. In fact, you can play it that way if you like, and you'll have a great deal of fun.

However, for those who wish to dig deeper, there's an absolute wealth of hidden rooms, powerups, secret exits and more that will make 100% completion a genuine challenge. You can play Kirby's Adventure either as a simple, fun trek through a magical world, or a surprisingly difficult expedition that finds you desperately clinging to the powers you need to open up hidden switches and rooms. It's a brilliantly layered game.

The powers that we refer to come from the enemies that Kirby encounters. Whereas Mario stomps, Link slashes and the Belmont family whips, Kirby sucks. Or perhaps we should say inhales. By pressing B the little pink puffball can gobble enemies up, from which point they can be used as a projectile or consumed in order to gain temporary usage of their abilities. This has been a staple of the Kirby series ever since, so it's nice to find it so fully formed in its first appearance. There are abilities to help with offense, abilities to help with defense, abilities to help you maneuver and more. Additionally, each ability comes with its own unique set of advantages, drawbacks, and animations. It's a very well-handled system, and it adds a lot to the game's replayability.

Taking damage will cause you to lose the current ability, but you can gobble it right back up if you're fast enough. This is extremely important when ferreting out the secret exits, as many of them can only be reached with one specific weapon or utility. Lose it along the way, and you'll need to go back and gather it up again. This can lead to frustration, to be sure — though if you're precise enough you can get around it with the Wii U's save state — but it's really just there to keep you on your toes.

Each world contains special levels outside of the main platforming stages, such as simple mini-games, museums from which you can select the power of your choice, and arenas that allow you to re-fight defeated mini-bosses. Many of these are hidden, with the later worlds encouraging serious exploration in order to unlock all of their secrets.

Visually the game is lovely, with some gorgeous spritework and appealingly cartoonish graphics. Kirby's sprite in particular is very expressive, with between-world interludes being a cute comic highlight. The enemies are impressively detailed, and while the backgrounds are simple they do a great job of making each world (and sometimes room) feel unique from every other.

The game's audio is also fantastic, with every track being memorable in some way and many of them ranking among the best the NES has ever had, which as you know is high praise indeed.

There isn't much we can take issue with when it comes to Kirby's Adventure. Younger gamers will be drawn in by the cuteness and the comedy, and advanced gamers will have a long road ahead of them trying to find each of the hidden areas. 100% completion awards access to a more difficult pass through the game, but seeing as achieving 100% completion is hard enough the reward feels somewhat redundant.

Regardless, Kirby's Adventure is a great game, and one we're always happy to take the chance to rediscover.


Time has done nothing to dull the charms of this late-NES masterpiece. Kirby's Adventure is as vibrant, imaginative and fun today as it was twenty years ago; yes, we just made ourselves feel very old by typing that sentence. This isn't just high on the list of great Kirby games; it's high on the list of great games period. If you've somehow let this one pass you by, do yourself a favour and pick it up today. It's guaranteed to suck you in.

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User Comments (70)



Sonicfan11589 said:

This is the one Wii U VC game for $0.30 that i'm having a blast with. All the others i have played once, maybe twice. The next is likely Super Metroid next month.



TheRavingTimes said:

Even if I have a Wii U I wouldn't buy it. I've already played the remake, the Virtual Console edition, the 3DS version, and on the Kirby Dream Collection compilation.



Toodles said:

My favorite NES platformer right here, and one of my favorite games ever. The 3D Classics version is one the of the games I revisit the most frequently on the 3DS. So glad to see this masterpiece come to the Wii U so early!



Kirbic said:

Since I've already got this on my Wii Menu, I'm not getting it. But that doesn't change the fact that this is EASILY my favourite NES game. Actually, I like Adventure more than Super Star. Dodges incoming bullets 30p? Bargin!

I personally think this game has more asthetic appeal than it's remake too, BTW. For one, IIRC, the towers in Butter Building don't rotate on the GBA whereas they do here.



Peach64 said:

Is this on a US console? Some of my friends were complaining the slowdown on this makes it seem almost unplayable compared to the 3D Classics version.



HiroshiYamauchi said:

This release suffer from serious emulation problems, it's plagued with graphical glitches and slowdowns. None the less, it's a great game, but Nintendo should try to fix those problems.



Late said:

This was once my second favorite game. It's still as fun to play as it was when I was 5 years old. Not my second favorite game anymore but still second best Kirby game.



nik1470 said:

I never really got into this the first time round but have to admit this time it has hooked me in. Great little game.



NintyMan said:

I already have it for the Wii VC, Dream Collection, and as a 3D Classic for 3DS, so I'm not quadruple-dipping. Otherwise, this is a great game and certainly one of Kirby's best.



Shiryu said:

Such an awesome game, representing the late NES cycle of video game development, I use to finish his from time to time just to remember why I love video games in the first place.



Knux said:

This is one of those games that never gets old. Even though I own this game in every possible form except for the GBA remake, I still bought this version. After all, thirty cents is a steal for this game.



TromboneGamer said:

Honestly I just want to play nightmare in dreamland. My first and probably favorite kirby game of all time.



zipmon said:

Great review, Phil! I'm having a blast with this - it's one of the few Kirby games I'd never played!



GiftedGimp said:

Those with the Wii VC should be able to upgrade next week, having said that 30p offer is cheaper than the upgrade fee, giving the of tv play, miiverse etc..

As for the game in all my yerts gaming Kirby is one franchise I had never played any titles.
For the sake of 30p I downloaded Kirby and really suprised how enjoyable it is compared to some modern releases, its almost as if, if they changed absolutly nothing exept upgrade the graphics to NSMBU standard you would never know how old this game is.. without prior knowledge.



Skeet102 said:

this game is awesome. but it taunts me how its $0.30 on the wiiu eshop and i got the 3d classics version for $6.99



Swithom said:

I've enjoyed it, mostly.
I'd like to point out though again for PAL users, this is a 50Hz game. Which is a shame after the last two were both 60hz. The difference between this and Balloon Fight however is they have 'sort' of optimized it.
Kirby moves faster than he would if it was a straight 50hz port, however other things are still off. It is still... well not great.
But its not as Balloon Fight either so hey.



Tertis said:

I'm surprised why anyone would pass up a 30 cent game.
Especially this one.



luminalace said:

Even though the PAL release is based on an optimised Euro version of the game, it still runs in 50hz and thus has black borders on all sides of the screen. It's a shame as I love playing VC titles just on the Gamepad.



Nevergreen said:

@HiroshiYamauchi Actually, the game is emulated just fine on the Wii U (the original game running on an NES was susceptible to slowdown and had a strange, discolored column at the very left side of the screen). Slowdown is attributed to the fact that it pushes the processor of the NES to its limit, having been made late in the NES's lifetime. Though, I wouldn't know if the PAL version suffers from any other problems than the NTSC version.



DrMonk said:

What is with the graphical glitches whereby you've got the changing column of colour at the edge of the screen. Why wouldn't they fix such an obvious glitch?



Tasuki said:

@Tertis: Because I already have it on the Anniversary Collection for the Wii.

Still need to pick up the 3D remake.



Ketchupcat said:

Does anyone else have an issue with the sound? For me, the "music " on the TV only has random notes instead of the actual song. The gamepad is fine though



Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@HiroshiYamauchi Yeah I definitely noticed that as well. On the far left side of my Gamepad screen there was a vertical white stripe, and the game certainly lags at times. It is playable, but Nintendo should fix that. This has to be one of my favorite NES games, along with SMB3 and a few others.



Philip_J_Reed said:

Is this on a US console? Some of my friends were complaining the slowdown on this makes it seem almost unplayable compared to the 3D Classics version.

It was indeed on a US console. The slowdown is due to its origins as an NES game, where that was very common. The 3D Classics version was reoptimized for new hardware, which is why that plays a bit more smoothly. I definitely wouldn't call this one unplayable. If it were I don't think I would have been able to 100% it!



Pichuka97 said:

One of my favorite games of all time, slowdown or not. Please Nintendo, now release Nightmare in Dreamland.



Painmaster212 said:

@TheRavingTimes The Wii U Version seems to lag in places too which is odd since its a NES game? I see a wide range of lag when getting certain powerups and using some of them as well.



Zeldalover said:

This game defines the word "CUTE". Everything in it is so cute and it really feeds the soul of many young players. Even the enemies look cute!



Absolute_Zero said:

I love Kirby's Adventure! I would get it on Wii U, but I already have it in the Dream Collection.



DreamOn said:

Before I downloaded this I have been playing thru Amazing Mirror and Superstar Ultra and Mass Attack, and a lag was so noticeable then i just couldn't play it. Sounds like 3D classics would be the way to go.



MitchVogel said:

I agree that this game never gets old. I never bothered to get it before, so this has been my first trip through and it is fantastic!



Dpullam said:

I purchased the 3D Classics game quite a while ago and I liked it. I just wasn't as into it as so many others are. I might give it another go sometime to see if my opinion has changed.



banacheck said:

The PAL is 50Hz this on it's own slows the game down by 17% compared to thier NTSC counterparts, and the game has also been optimised. To offer gameplay and music speed similar to the US version, but demos and animations may run at PAL speed noted Nintendo UK.

But for 30p you cannot complain.



Ryno said:

Even if I had the Kirby's Collection I would still get this for .30cents.



RevolverLink said:

There've been many great Kirby games over the years, but Kirby's Adventure still stands as my favorite. I still replay it every 3 years or so.



Kyloctopus said:

I've never been too much of a fan of Kirby. To me, it just seems like Mario, only a bit redone.



Ras said:

I just realized why I never played a Kirby game until recently. '93. I bought my Genesis pretty early, and I guess I abandoned the NES. I never even played SMB3 until Wii VC. I have this as a 3D Classic, but I'll get it for $.30. I have yet to catch the Kirby bug, though.



Moshugan said:

@NintendoLife You should do a feature on VC in general and emulation in particular. There seems to be some confusion regarding the way Nintendo chooses to present the games.



Zodiak13 said:

@Ras I too have just recently played/owned my first Kirby game. Always thought I was to cool to play a game w/ a pink mascot, lol. Fun game although it doesnt wow me. My son is really enjoying them however.



Bitronix said:

I feel a bit jaded having to buy this for the fourth time, but i probably will for 30p! Hoping they continue this introductory offer for future VC games!!



GiftedGimp said:

I Think sometimes people forget VC titles are emulations of games on old systems, and not an older game being converted for the wii/wiiu.
An emulation means you play the game as was, with the same limitations of the hardware it was originally made for, and the same bugs/ glitches as was in the original version.

I get the 50/60hz thing, as even if you originally had it in 50hz in your region the game else where was made originally for 60hz (personally It doesn't bother me but would like an option to choose)
But if the game originally had slowdown, or a bug/glitch then it should be in the VC version. although off course if a bug or glitch is purly caused by the emulation software then it should be fixed.



WaxxyOne said:

If you're seriously doubting the decision to buy this at this price, you're crazy. It's not the greatest game of all times, but it's certainly one of the best for the NES, and at this price it's an absolute steal.

I do remember the lag on this game from the original NES, so that's not the emulation slowing it down. The game came out very late in the NES' lifecycle. As such, it pushed the NES to its limits and unfortunately it often shows when there are more than a couple enemies or effects happening on the screen. Fortunately I don't believe it detracts too much from the experience.

Also, if you have a 3DS and are willing to pay more (which you should be for this fantastic game), the 3D Classics version does not lag.



WaveGhoul said:

SMB.2 & 3 completely cripple this Adventure. And what has always annoyed me most about Adventure(Along with Dreamland) is that you have to first press 'up' on the d-pad to float, rather than just pressing the jump button. It makes for some akward sloppy feeling controls. Still, the final Boss battle desserves recognition as it's one of the most memorable of the NES platformers and the soundtrack is completely kirbalicious!



RR529 said:

I loved Nightmare in Dreamland & 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure, so I'd say it's definitely worth a buy at 30¢.



otatious said:

I love this game. I had to buy it for the 3rd time on the Wii U because it was just 30 cents! Does have some glitchy framerate though. :I



HandheldGuru97 said:

If you have both a Wii U and 3DS get the 3D Classics version, I have both and while the 3D really dosen't add a thing it just plays better, less graphical glitches on the portable version. Still it is one amazing game and I recommend to to anyone on any platform 9/10 for me.



Mewtwo21 said:

I definitely love this game. I've played this one more than all the other virtual console games that have come out on the Wii U



SMW said:

I'd question anyone's decision to turn down this 30 cent gem! Its KIRBY and its 30 CENTS. What else could you possibly use your 30 cents on in this day in age?

Too bad Nintendo doesn't like to fix VC games. True to their form or not, lag shouldn't be all that hard to fix. Just create a faster and stronger virtual NES to play it on.



dragon_rider said:

Even though I have it on the Wii, I got the upgraded version for 0.30, which is a real steal seeing as I refuse to pay the full update price.



JSuede said:

I distinctly remember buying this from Toys 'R Us when I was a kid. Absolutely love the game and honestly, I'm not sure it would feel "right" without the glitchy left side and the slowdown at points.

Still have to pull the trigger on this .30 version though. Monster Hunter is making it very hard to play anything else.



allav866 said:

I've been playing this game at least once a year for 20 years or so, and even after trying each copy ability, finding every secret, and beating Extra Mode using Sword only, this game still surprises me. I give it a 10/10.



crazyangrygamer4 said:

i have the for 3ds classics nintendo wii virtual console i have this for nintendo wiiu and i also got this in Kirbys dream collection sorry this computer im using dose not have spell check



NIELS_ said:

I really like this one, didn't really enjoy the other 30 cent games, but this one is great! Looking forward to the next ones!



Henmii said:

I'll say it here: It's a shame that we Europeans never got the anniversary collection on Wii! At this point, I have lost all hope!!



KAHN said:

meh. i was never one for kirby. they never really did it for me, so i'll skip this one.



Gregor said:

I've been playing it and the game is very good. It seems to be one of those rare games for that old system that looks to the future and doesn't pull crap like making you use a guide to beat the game because its that cryptic. Not this one. This is just a really fun enjoyable and challenging game. The only problem I can see is that in the Wii U version there is MASSIVE slowdown. However this actually helps in most situations or is excusable.

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