Kirby's Dream Course is an isometric crazy golf-style game starring everyone's favourite marshmallow with feet. The control mechanics are surprisingly deep, and battling through some of the courses can be a real test in skill. It's a cheerful, challenging game — certainly more of a test of skill than many of Kirby's platformers — and with a fun two-player mode it's definitely worth checking out.
Kirby Star Allies is a fun, relaxing game that does a good job of showing off what makes the main Kirby series so great. The slow pace, diverse powers, beautiful environments, adorable enemy designs, and light difficulty ensure that this is an enjoyable ride from start to finish. But with that being said, there’s a lingering sense that HAL was a little too keen to play this one safe, and the lack of new ideas may come as a disappointment to series veterans. It's not the Mario Odyssey or Breath Of The Wild of the Kirby series, then, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad game. If you’ve never played a Kirby game before, this is a fantastic place to jump in, but long-time fans will find little to get their pulses racing.
Kirby's Pinball Land isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it serves up a solid game of digital pinball starring everyone’s favourite pink amorphous ball. It's an experiment that didn't quite come together properly, but it's not without merit and its engine would be used again in Pokémon Pinball for the Game Boy Color. Kirby and pinball seem like a match made in heaven; this isn't quite that, but it’s a fun little mashup that showcased the potential for future Nintendo X pinball crossovers involving Pocket Monsters and intergalactic bounty hunters.
Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is a 16-bit sequel to the two previous Game Boy Dream Land entries, and a game which uses the SNES' extra horsepower to up the ante in every way. The improvement in visuals is a given, but the presentation here gives the sublime Yoshi's Island a run for its money, and there's also multiplayer support. The gameplay might not be the deepest, but Kirby's always got charm to spare and you won't regret giving this one a try.
Arriving just a year after the much-loved Kirby: Canvas Curse, the next DS entry, Kirby Squeak Squad (known as Kirby: Mouse Attack in Europe), suffers from doing little to build upon the tried and tested Kirby formula, and was always destined to be overshadowed by its predecessor. While it may lack originality or a truly captivating new mechanic, Kirby Squeak Squad remains a solid, enjoyable platformer and a worthy — if unremarkable — addition to your Kirby collection.
Kirby Mass Attack offers a unique take on the Kirby series with the ability to command up to ten pink puff balls at a time. If you're interested in a downsized and linear title that takes inspiration from the likes of Pikmin, Mass Attack is one to consider. In terms of Kirby's DS adventures, this probably isn't his grandest outing, but it certainly evolved with the times and showed that the developers understood that it took more than gimmicky touch controls to provide an appealing game experience on the portable system. More traditional Kirby outings still reign supreme, but it's definitely an experimental standout in the Kirby canon that has aged surprisingly well.
Showcasing the touchscreen of its host hardware, Kirby: Canvas Curse was a delight back in 2005 and once again showed how Kirby is one of the most versatile characters in Nintendo's catalogue. Using the stylus to draw lines, create paths and guide our rolling hero around stages to a goal, it was a merry experiment which helped sell then-unique concept to the Nintendo DS.
Going back to Canvas Curse (or Kirby: Power Paintbrush as it was known in PAL regions) all these years later, it arguably doesn't hold up quite as well as you remember. Those touchscreen elements — which once felt so fresh — can feel frustrating, especially when things get frantic. It's still fun, but affection and nostalgia might be helpful in propping up your expectations these days.
'Simple' needn’t equate to 'dull', and GameCube racer Kirby Air Ride features a fair amount of multiplayer fun in each of its three game modes. In fact, it might be the perfect way to introduce small kids and/or non-gaming spouses to the delights of race-based video games if you're not a fan of Mario Kart (which Kirby remains inexplicably absent from). However if you’re an adult looking for a game to play alone, or a hardcore racer looking for something that demands a higher level of strategy and skill, you'd be better off hitching a ride with Mario or Captain Falcon instead.
While the Metroid-esque gameplay is a refreshing change of pace for the Kirby series and works well in some parts, it also fails in others. The Metroid games have backtracking as well, yes, but it's not nearly as frequent and annoying as it is in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror. The multiplayer features are optional, but the game was arguably designed around the multiple Kirby aspect and it's at its best with other people.
Arriving nine years after its original launch on Wii (and a very late release for the 3DS), Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is a textbook example of how focused gameplay design, creativity, and strong art direction are timeless qualities. The fact that this port released for 3DS rather than Switch is one of the very few negatives of this lovely game. It includes a bunch of ‘extra’ elements, such as Ravel Abilities, new mini-games, and optional harder difficulty, which range from being harmless to actively changing the base game for the better.
For those of you that never got the chance to play the original, this is certainly the best way to experience it IF (big 'if', there) you're willing to forgo the big screen experience — and that could very well be a deal-breaker if you want to enjoy this gem around the TV as a family. Cracking game, though.
Kirby’s Dream Land was and remains an exceptionally charming platformer, although you might find that the pink puff’s debut Game Boy adventure feels a bit too elementary these days. Many years' worth of nostalgia gives us huge affection for Kirby, but looking over the top of those rose-tinted glasses for a moment reveals a slightly pedestrian title that was outpaced by its descendants in virtually every way. Kirby’s genesis is strong, especially considering the hardware, but the irresistible puffball has done better since. Naturally.
In Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, HAL Laboratory managed to keep the core structure many knew and loved about the Kirby series while glossing it up with a shiny coat of polygonal paint for the new console generation. Kirby's 64-bit foray into the third dimension stands out as one of the more unique entries into the series, feeling somewhat fresh in comparison to the many 2D Kirby platformers and still pleasurable to play to this day.