Top 10 Kirby Games [Best Recommendations]

Surely, everyone with a Switch and a penchant for platformers is excited for Kirby Star Allies. It’s hard not to be; Kirby is the epitome of the pure joys of game design. The cute design, the imaginative worlds, the unique copy ability system, the detailed level design… Kirby games have really got the whole package. How can anyone not love the little fella? He’s certainly withstood the test of time and has somehow never seen much of a shift from game to game. Certainly, his repertoire has been upgraded, and his games get new ideas, but for the most part, the Kirby franchise has remained pretty true to its core system of inhaling enemies and spitting them back out. Not even Mario and Legend of Zelda have been as consistent as Kirby.

So to honor everyone’s favorite creampuff, and in anticipation of Kirby Star Allies, we thought we’d count down the top 10 Kirby games! We’re sticking to the mainline platforming games since they’re the games that influenced Star Allies the most, and we want you to have a strong selection of quality games similar to it to choose from!

10. Kirby Squeak Squad

  • System: DS, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Flagship, HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: December 4th, 2006 (US)

It was supposed to be a lovely afternoon! Kirby had just settled down for a relaxing picnic and was about to partake in his desert, but just as he was about to dig into his strawberry cake, it vanishes! Who could have taken it? It most certainly must have been that traitorous King Dedede, who’s always making mischief on Popstar! Kirby sets off to confront the bad king, but is shocked to discover along the way that it was actually a notorious band of thieves called the Squeak Squad!

Squeak Squad was made when touch screen controls were still a relatively new concept in video games and companies were trying to figure out how they could apply them in a traditional gaming context. This led to the addition of being able to store different abilities and health restoring items to the bottom screen for Kirby to use for later. The added touch functionality was a welcome quality of life upgrade for the series at the time, as it could be frustrating to enjoy using a certain power to have to abandon it forever to get a different one required for a separate path.

9. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland

  • System: Wii, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: October 24th, 2011 (US)

Possibly wanting revenge for the unnecessary smackdown from Squeak Squad, King Dedede and Bandana Dee chase down Kirby. Before they can catch up, though, a giant wormhole opens up in the sky and an airship (later discovered to be the Lor Starcutter) crashes down into the planet. Setting aside their differences, Kirby, Dedede, and Bandana Dee (along with Meta-Knight, who happened to be in the area) run off to investigate the mysterious star ship. They discover Magolar, an interdimensional traveler who seems to have lost his way. The four set out to recover the Energy Spheres that dropped from his ship in hopes of repairing the fallen vessel!

It had been over 10 years since the last traditional Kirby platformer found itself on a home console, so for a series that had been stuck to handhelds for so long, Return to Dreamland was a huge upgrade! Even if it was just the practically ancient hardware of the Wii, Dreamland was a smorgasbord of bright, vibrant colors that popped out everywhere that gave a real sense of spectacle. To take advantage of that heightened sense of wonder, HAL Laboratory added in the Super Abilities, which for a limited time, gave Kirby access to screen-clearing attacks that would also be needed for puzzle solving.

8. Kirby’s Adventure

  • System: NES, GBA, Wii, 3DS, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: May 1st, 1993 (US)

Kirby was trying to take a nap, but something was a bit off. He wasn’t having any dreams. That can’t stand when he lives in Dreamland of all places. There’s a reason for his delusion-less slumber, though; Dedede broke the Star Rod into pieces! And then hid them all around Dreamland to boot! Kirby will need to track down all of the different bits of the Star Rod if he wants to go back to having cake-filled visions at night, but he’ll need to fight through hordes of Dedede’s minions.

Anytime people think of Kirby, they think of eating enemies to steal their powers. Well, you can thank Kirby’s Adventure for that, as this was the first game that featured that particular feature. Since Kirby kind of straddles the line between a platformer and a cutesy 2D beat ‘em-up, giving him different powers added some much needed versatility to his moveset. Rather than just sucking up and shooting up enemies, or being stuck with one power, you could mess around with a whole host of different powers and swap them out when you got bored.

7. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

  • System: Nintendo 64, Wii, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: June 26th, 2000 (US)

Dark Matter, a space-dwelling Cthulhuian monster, has its eyes set on Ripple Star. See, Ripple Star houses a gigantic Crystal, an incredible energy that protects the planet from harm, and Dark Matter wants to use that power for itself. The fairies that dwell there are horrified when Dark Matter comes to attack, so in response, the Queen sends out a young fairy named Ribbon to go hide the crystal elsewhere; but on her way out, Dark Matter attacks and breaks the Crystal into 74 little pieces that go flying across the solar system. As it just so happens, one of those shards lands right near Kirby, and when Ribbon explains her plight, she and Kirby go off to collect the pieces of the Crystal and save the galaxy from Dark Matter.

One of the reasons people are so excited about Star Allies is that it brings back the ability to combine different enemy powers into different forms that was created for Kirby 64. And there’s good reason why people were excited about that! While everyone loves Kirby’s copy abilities, they had become kind of stale by the time Kirby 64 rolled around. You can only add so many before it starts to get old. But combo powers opened up the puzzle and combat design to new possibilities when Kirby wasn’t limited to a single basic element or weapon, like allowing Kirby to explode into fireworks or turn into a refrigerator to make food for himself.

6. Kirby Triple Deluxe

Kirby-and-the-Amazing-Mirror Wallpaper Top 10 Kirby Games [Best Recommendations]CTR-P-BALJ

  • System: 3DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: May 2nd, 2014 (US)

Huh, whadya know? A Grimm’s fairytale-sized beanstalk just grew underneath Kirby’s house. A little ways above, Kirby can see that Dedede’s castle was lifted by the humongous plant too. He goes to visit his good buddy, but is shocked to see him indisposed! A strange, spider-like villain named Taranza has kidnapped him and for some reason, is determined to bring him to the top of what he calls the Dreamstalk. Kirby goes on the chase to save his friend and possibly all of Dreamland itself!

While Triple Deluxe follows the gameplay model set by Return to Dreamland, it makes a few cuts… but actually, we feel this is an improvement. There’s just one super ability this time; Hypernova, which boosts Kirby’s suction ability a hundredfold. With only one power to work with, though, this actually gives Triple Deluxe more focused level design, with stages designed around timing out when to use the Hypernova and fun boss battles where you need to bait them into making themselves vulnerable for your inhalation. It’s just about one of the tightest Kirby experiences out there!

5. Kirby and the Amazing Mirror

  • System: GBA, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory, Flagship, Dimps, Arika
  • Release Dates: October 18th, 2004 (US)

The Mirror World: A land entirely parallel to that of Dreamland that only copies the evil that lies in the hearts of its inhabitants. Meta-Knight immediately understands the threat that Mirror World poses to the world and sets off to investigate what can be done. But unfortunately, all this does is get Kirby wrapped up in his plan, as his visit spawns a Dark Meta-Knight, which immediately breaks out and attacks Kirby. But, rather than striking the poor creampuff down, it instead breaks him into 4 separate Kirbys. Wanting to reassemble himself, the Kirbys chase down Dark Meta-Knight into Mirror World and hunt for a solution!

Amazing Mirror was most likely conceptualized after the Great Cave Offensive game in Kirby Super Star found popularity. Rather than being a straight platformer, Amazing Mirror experiments with a Metroidvania-style of game where you actually have to hunt down every boss yourself! It’s a little rough around the edges at times, but Amazing Mirror is a game unlike any other Kirby game and proves how Kirby could evolve into a more adventure-style game.

4. Kirby’s Dreamland 2

  • System: GameBoy, 3DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: May 1st, 1995 (US)

Poor Dedede. He gets a lot of flak, and he can be pretty selfish sometimes, but he does try to do right for the inhabitants of Dreamland. But, unfortunately, he tends to find himself as a target more often than not. This time, Dedede’s been possessed by the evil Dark Matter to destroy the Rainbow Bridge, which connects Dreamland to the Rainbow Islands. Kirby sets off to find the Rainbow Drops and take down Dark Matter!

In addition to being the first appearance of the recurring villain Dark Matter, Dreamland 2 is also the first step we see Kirby take towards the puzzle-platforming that we later would see get incorporated into all the different Kirby games. It’s the first time we had a secondary puzzle to solve that spans the entirety of the game; you can very easily miss out on all the Rainbow Drops if you aren’t paying attention, and you’ll need to use the right combination of copy ability and animal partner (another first for the series!) in order to see the true ending.

3. Kirby’s Dreamland 3

  • System: SNES, Wii, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: November 27th, 1997 (US)

It was just supposed to be like any other day on Popstar… until Dark Matter returned. This time it stretches itself all across Popstar and envelops the entire planet. Kirby and his pal Gooey aren’t thrilled about how this interrupts their fishing time, so they set off to banish Dark Matter once again. They’ll collect the Heart Stars, which spawn when one does a good deed for another, in order to create the Heart Rod, which should do the trick!

What’s really fun about Dreamland 3 is that, while the Rainbow Drops had a pretty clear solution (just use the right power at the specified area), Dreamland 3 is a lot less defined. The first level has you dodging flowers so you don’t trample them, while later levels have you shaping star blocks into different patterns, or beating a mini-game, or what have you. Who knows? You may stumble upon some other famous Nintendo characters along the way!

2. Kirby Planet Robobot

  • System: 3DS
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: June 10th, 2016 (US)

While the Kirby franchise has always had an astronomical bent to it, what with all the planet hopping and space-faring, it’s never gone full-on sci-fi. The introduction of Haltmann Works Company, however, changes that entirely, invading the planet and setting up mech factories and being run by androids themselves. This completely ruins the peaceful life of Dreamland, though, so Kirby, Dedede, and Meta-Knight do their best to fight them off. Kirby even manages to snag one of their mechs for himself, giving them a fighting chance against the uncaring Haltmann Works Company.

Don’t think the recency of Planet Robobot has influenced its position on this list; Robobot is the real deal. The addition of the Robobot sections add a real sense of variety to the gameplay, as mixing powers with the mech changes the game in some surprising ways. Sometimes, you’ll need to figure out how you can transport both the Robobot and Kirby to the same place in order to solve some puzzles, adding a new layer to the gameplay we’ve never seen before, while other times just taking on a new power will change the game in complete unexpected ways. Mix this with a grand finale that may never be topped in the franchise, and you’ve got a near perfect modern Kirby experience that may never be topped!

1. Kirby Super Star

  • System: SNES, Wii, Wii U
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: HAL Laboratory
  • Release Dates: September 20th, 1996

There’s no real plot behind Kirby Super Star. Rather, it’s a collection of different games created specifically for Kirby Super Star. Spring Breeze is a remake of the original Kirby’s Dreamland for the GameBoy, Dyna Blade has Kirby hunting down the titular giant bird, Revenge of Meta-Knight has you go toe-to-toe with Meta-Knight himself, and so forth. You can play each game at your own leisure, as there’s no real ending to the game, unless you count the ending of Milky Way Wishes, the final game on the collection.

Kirby Super Star is an odd beast of a game. It feels more like an experiment of what can be done with the Kirby formula, and each different game represents a different genre. Great Cave Offensive is a Metroidvania-style game (which, as we mentioned, would branch off into Amazing Mirror), Dyna Blade has an overworld map in the same vein as something like Super Mario World (complete with secret areas to unlock on said map!), Revenge of Meta-Knight is a more story-oriented platformer, etc. And just about all of these elements from the different games would come back at some point.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention the combat system, though, which added a small bit of complexity to the normal “one attack per power” that’s normally found in Kirby. Instead, you actually use fighting game-style directional inputs to use different attacks with different copy abilities. This gives each more variety to Kirby’s arsenal and actually makes each power feel like an all new character rather than just a different technique.

Final Thoughts

Want more? There are countless Kirby spinoffs readily available at your fingertips, like the much-lauded Kirby Canvas Curse and the friendship-ruining Kirby’s Dream Course. But please, if you have any more suggestions, let us all know in the comments below!

Kirby-and-the-Amazing-Mirror Wallpaper Top 10 Kirby Games [Best Recommendations]


Author: Matt Knodle

I come from Indiana, where I grew up near a video rental shop that proudly stated “The widest selection of anime in the state”, setting me on a course to enjoy as much anime as possible. I’ve devoted myself to over-analyzing various sports anime and video games probably more than they were ever intended. I currently co-host a weekly sports anime fan podcast called KoshienCast with my good friend, Matt.

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