Kirby's Avalanche, known in Europe as Kirby's Ghost Trap, is a puzzle video game co-developed by HAL Laboratory, Compile and Banpresto. It was released by Nintendo on February 1, 1995, in Europe and on April 25, 1995, in North America for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a Western release of the Japanese Super Puyo Puyo. There was not a Japanese release, and the game remains the only Kirby title not released there.
See also: Gameplay of Puyo Puyo
In the game, groups of two colored blobs fall from the top of the screen. The player must rotate and move the groups before they touch the bottom of the screen or the pile, so that matching-colored blobs touch from above, below, the left or the right. Once four or more same-colored blobs touch, they will disappear, and any blobs above them will fall down to fill in space. If a player manages to set off a chain reaction with these blobs, rocks will fall on the other player's screen, filling it up and giving them less room to drop additional blobs. The number of rocks that falls depends on both the number of blobs popped and the number of consecutive chain reactions. These rocks will only disappear if a player manages to pop a group of blobs that are in direct contact with the rocks. A player will lose if either of the middle columns in the top row is filled with a blob or rock.
King Dedede has challenged Kirby and other members of Dream Land to an Avalanche Competition at the Fountain of Dreams. Kirby decides to take on the challenge, battling his way through the forest in Avalanche matches against an assortment of his old foes from Kirby's Dream Land and Kirby's Adventure (including recurring bosses such as Whispy Woods, Kracko and Meta Knight), and ultimately to a final showdown at the Fountain of Dreams with King Dedede to win the Cup.
While the core gameplay remains the same, the Japanese and Western versions are drastically different cosmetically. As the story in Super Puyo Puyo is more focused on Arle and Carbuncle's adventures like the Madou Monogatari and Mega Drive Puyo Puyo versions, the Western version replaced them with Kirby characters to appeal to Western audiences.
As a game released later in the SNES's life cycle, this game has bright colors and advanced graphics for its time. The sound consists of remixed tracks from Kirby's Adventure and Kirby's Dream Course, with only one original track from the Puyo Puyo game itself (the panic music). As the game boots, a sampled "Kirby's Avalanche!" or "Kirby's Ghost Trap!" can be heard.
Both versions have cinematics between each round, with differences being Kirby and his opponents shown having full conversations and trash-talking each other in full sentences in the Western version, and that Kirby's personality comes off as a lot more sarcastic and confrontational, just as Arle and Carbuncle were in the Japanese version. This differs greatly from other Kirby games, where Kirby hardly speaks at all and is also friendlier in general.
Kirby's Avalanche received generally positive reviews, garnering an aggregate score of 74% on GameRankings based on seven reviews. IGN awarded the game 7.5 out of 10, comparing it favorably to Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, another Puyo Puyo reskin released for the Sega Genesis in North America. GamePro commented that "Although Kirby's Avalanche is a rehash of an overdone puzzler theme, it's so well done that it's worth playing - that is, if you don't already have three puzzle games just like it." They particularly praised the graphics and the cuteness of the digitized speech.
In 1997 Electronic Gaming Monthly ranked Kirby's Avalanche and Mean Bean Machine collectively as number 84 on their "100 Best Games of All Time", calling it "one of the simplest, most addicting puzzle games around."
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- "Kirby's Avalanche for Super Nintendo". GameRankings. Archived from the original on December 5, 2019. Retrieved 2016-08-05.
- Provo, Frank (October 2, 2007). "Kirby's Avalanche Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 10, 2016.
- Thomas, Lucas M. (September 26, 2007). "Kirby's Avalanche Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
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- "Now Playing". Nintendo Power. No. 69. February 1995. p. 107.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 5. Imagine Media. May 1995. p. 101.
- The Unknown Gamer (May 1995). "ProReview: Kirby's Avalanche". GamePro. No. 80. IDG. p. 84.
- "100 Best Games of All Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. November 1997. p. 107. Note: Contrary to the title, the intro to the article explicitly states that the list covers console video games only, meaning PC games and arcade games were not eligible. The intro also mentions that only U.S. releases are covered, hence why Super Puyo Puyo is not listed alongside Kirby's Avalanche and Mean Bean Machine even though the listing mentions its existence.