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A variation of the current logo for the Kirby series, as seen in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
|Developers||HAL Laboratory, Nintendo, Good-Feel, Flagship, Natsume, Capcom, Dimps, Arika|
|Creators||Masahiro Sakurai, Satoru Iwata|
|Platforms||Game Boy, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch|
|Platform of origin||Game Boy|
|First release||Kirby's Dream Land
April 27, 1992
|Latest release||Kirby's Blowout Blast
July 6, 2017
Kirby (星のカービィ Hoshi no Kābī, "Kirby of the Stars") is a video game series developed by HAL Laboratory and Nintendo, and produced by Nintendo. The majority of the games in the series are action-platformers with light puzzle-solving elements. Kirby has the ability to eat enemies and objects thereby gaining a characteristic ability from them. The series is known for being relatively simple for first time players to pick up and play while offering additional challenges for more experienced players; in addition to its bright and artistic settings, cute characters, and upbeat, cheerful music.
Currently, the Kirby series includes a total of over twenty games, and has sold over 34 million units worldwide, putting it in the top 50 best selling video game franchises of all time.
The main protagonist of the Kirby series is a young, pink, spherical creature named Kirby. Kirby lives on a peaceful star shaped planet called Pop Star. However, the peace on Pop Star is often shattered by a variety of threats, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial in origin, and Kirby must shift gears into a brave warrior to save his home. Kirby has the ability to Inhale objects and enemies, sucking them into his stretchy mouth and then spitting them out with incredible force. He can also take on the abilities of enemies and objects that he eats to gain Copy Abilities, transforming into new forms and gaining new powers; such as breathing fire, wielding a sword, launching sparks in every direction, or attacking enemies with direct hand-to-hand combat.
Many recurring characters appear throughout the series both allies and enemies. The most frequent one being King Dedede, a gluttonous blue bird and self-proclaimed ruler of Dream Land (a region of Pop Star). King Dedede has appeared in every Kirby game except for Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, and while he and Kirby frequently clash, he is not always a villain, appearing as an ally or playable character in some of the games. Another major character of the series is the enigmatic Meta Knight, a chivalrous masked warrior who often assists Kirby, but, depending on his intentions, will fight against Kirby to get things as he desires.
The main Kirby games are side-scrolling action-platformers. Kirby must run, jump, and attack enemies while traversing through a number of areas, solving puzzles and fighting bosses along the way. However, Kirby games cannot really be called traditional platformers. One of the things that sets Kirby apart is Kirby's ability to inflate himself with a gulp of air and fly. In most games he can do this for as long as he likes however, his attack options are limited while doing so.
Kirby games often contain a number of hidden items that either unlock more parts to the game or are simple incentives to collect, and are usually required to achieve 100% completion in the game. These special items usually relate to the plot of the game, most often used to create a special weapon required to defeat the final boss. In some games, the special weapon is optional and can be used in the game regularly after defeating the final boss with it. These elements have remained constant throughout most the series, with each game having its own unique twist to affect gameplay.
The games' fantasy world of Pop Star includes many regions of different climates and terrains, which are home to many different creatures. Each game features uniquely named areas, but all games feature typical locations such as fiery mountains, open meadows, water-filled or submerged areas, icy snowfields, and similar nature-based places.
There are also several spinoff games in the series, which involve a variety of different gaming genres such as pinball, puzzle, racing, even a game based on motion-sensor technology. A number of these side games take advantage of Kirby's round, ball-like appearance.
|1992||Kirby's Dream Land|
|Kirby's Pinball Land|
|1994||Kirby's Dream Course|
|Kirby's Dream Land 2|
|Kirby's Block Ball|
|1996||Kirby Super Star|
|1997||Kirby's Star Stacker|
|Kirby's Dream Land 3|
|2000||Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards|
|Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble|
|2002||Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land|
|2003||Kirby Air Ride|
|2004||Kirby & the Amazing Mirror|
|2005||Kirby: Canvas Curse|
|2006||Kirby: Squeak Squad|
|2008||Kirby Super Star Ultra|
|2010||Kirby's Epic Yarn|
|2011||Kirby Mass Attack|
|Kirby's Return to Dream Land|
|2012||Kirby's Dream Collection|
|2014||Kirby: Triple Deluxe|
|Kirby Fighters Deluxe|
|Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe|
|2015||Kirby and the Rainbow Curse|
|2016||Kirby: Planet Robobot|
|2017||Team Kirby Clash Deluxe|
|Kirby's Blowout Blast|
|2018||Kirby for Nintendo Switch|
The first game in the Kirby series, Kirby's Dream Land for the original Game Boy, was released in Japan in April 1992 and later in the United States in August that year. A simple game, consisting of only five levels, it introduced the main protagonist Kirby, main antagonist King Dedede, and Kirby's ability to inhale enemies and objects. The game features a second adventure, known as the "Extra Game", which features stronger enemies. The North American box art showed a white Kirby, although the Japanese box art had the correct pink coloring.
The second game, Kirby's Adventure, was first released in the U.S. in May 1993. Kirby's Adventure introduced the concept of 'copying' the abilities of enemies, and as one of the last games created for the Nintendo Entertainment System, featured astonishing graphics and sound that pushed the hardware's capabilities to the limit, including pseudo 3D effects on some stages. It was re-released in 2002 on the Game Boy Advance, retitled as Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, featuring greatly updated graphics and sound, multiplayer support, and the ability to play as Meta Knight.
After Kirby's Adventure, the Kirby series received a number of "side" games. Kirby's Pinball Land, released in November 1993, is a pinball game featuring Kirby as the pinball. Kirby's Dream Course, released in the U.S. in February 1995, is a unique golf-based game which features an isometric graphic design. Kirby's Avalanche, released in February 1995 only in the U.S. and Europe, is a puzzle game known to be a cloned version of the Japanese game Puyo Puyo.
Kirby's Dream Land 2, released in Japan and the U.S. in March 1995, continued using the ability-copying idea first featured in Kirby's Adventure, but lowered the number of abilities to seven. The game introduced three animal companions: Rick the Hamster, Coo the Owl, and Kine the Ocean Sunfish. Pairing up with any of these three alters how Kirby's abilities work. Also introduced was Gooey, a dark-colored blob-like creature, who could be found in a bag. The major boss enemy Dark Matter was also introduced in this game. The game was to be remade for the Game Boy Color as Kirby's Dream Land 2 DX, but was cancelled.
Kirby Super Star, known as Hoshi no Kirby Super Deluxe in Japan and Kirby's Fun Pak in Europe, was released in the U.S. in September 1996. Kirby Super Star is composed of eight separate games, and features several characters and abilities which have not appeared since in the series. The game features "Helpers", which can be created by sacrificing the ability currently in use, to help the player dispatch enemies.
In 1996, a Kirby mini-game series entitled Kirby's Toy Box (カービィのおもちゃ箱 Kābī no Omocha Hako) was released via the St.GIGA satellite broadcasting system for the Nintendo Satellaview. These mini-games were not released simultaneously but were each given a unique broadcast date. Mini-game titles included: Arrange Ball, Ball Rally, Baseball, Cannonball, Guru Guru Ball, Hoshi Kuzushi, Pachinko, and Pinball.
Released in 1997, Kirby's Star Stacker is a puzzle game which involves touching two or more similar blocks together that have Kirby's animal friends on them. The game received a sequel on the Super Famicom in 1998 in Japan as Kirby no Kirakira Kizzu.
Kirby's Dream Land 3, released in November 1997 in the U.S., is a direct sequel to Kirby's Dream Land 2, as it featured the return of Kirby's animal friends. Similarly to Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3 features a few copy abilities which were modified when Kirby paired up with one of his six animal friends. The game had a multiplayer option with the second player controlling Gooey, a recurring character. The antagonist was, once again, Dark Matter, and if certain conditions are met, 0 (Zero) was fought as the true final boss. The game had a unique pastel-drawing art style and used dithering to improve visual performance.
The first game to have 3D graphics in the Kirby series, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, was released on the Nintendo 64 in the U.S. in June 2000. The game features a unique compound ability system that allows two of the seven abilities in the game to be merged, making a new compound ability. It also marked the first playable instance of King Dedede, where sections of some stages had Kirby riding piggyback while King Dedede attacked enemies and obstacles with his hammer. It is considered a direct follow-up to Kirby's Dream Land 3 due to the reemergence of Dark Matter and the final boss, albeit in a different form, called 02 (Zero Two). It also included three four-player minigames.
The next game in the Kirby series, Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble became one of Nintendo's first motion-sensor-based games in August 2000. Players are instructed to tilt the Game Boy Color to move Kirby on the screen. Quickly flicking the Game Boy Color upwards would make Kirby jump into the air. Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble is currently the only Kirby game to have a special cartridge color (transparent pink) in the U.S.
The only Kirby game for the GameCube, Kirby Air Ride, was released in the U.S. in October 2003. It is a racing game which deviates greatly from usual Kirby titles, although still featuring series staples including enemies and copy abilities.
During the 2003 Holiday season, a Kirby e-reader card for the Game Boy Advance was released. The card was released under two names, Kirby Slide and Kirby Puzzle. Swiping the card would allow for a sliding puzzle game starring Kirby to be played. Cards were given out at Toys "R" Us stores and in the 2003 December issues of Nintendo Power and Tips & Tricks. The game was released to advertise the English dub of Kirby: Right Back At Ya!
Kirby & the Amazing Mirror was released in October 2004 on the Game Boy Advance. It is the second game released on that system, following Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. It features Kirby in a Metroidvania format, with all the levels being interconnected and able to be completed in any order. Also unique was the in-game phone, which can be used to summon up to three additional copies of Kirby to fight enemies and solve puzzles.
The next game in the series is Kirby: Canvas Curse, released on the Nintendo DS in Japan on March 24, 2005, North America on June 13, 2005, Europe on November 25, 2005, and Australia on April 6, 2006. Unlike most previous Kirby games, the player does not directly control Kirby with a directional pad, analog stick, face buttons, or shoulder buttons. Instead, Kirby is a helpless ball, and can only move when he gains momentum, the player painting paths with the stylus to direct his movement.
This was followed by Kirby: Squeak Squad in late 2006, also on the Nintendo DS, which revived traditional Kirby gameplay and dabbled in the use of the touch screen to store several items and copy abilities in Kirby's stomach. Ability scrolls could be found that served as upgrades for each ability, giving them additional moves and/or enhanced functionality. An unlockable copy ability was also introduced.
Kirby Super Star Ultra, announced for the Nintendo DS in early fall 2007 and released on September 22, 2008 in North America, is a remake of Kirby Super Star. In addition to the nine games from Kirby Super Star, seven new games have been added. It features updated graphics, pre-rendered cutscenes, and a map on the touch screen.
An untitled Kirby platform game originally planned to be released on the GameCube was thought to be canceled for some time before being re-announced for the Wii. Although Kirby's Epic Yarn was announced and released for the Wii in 2010, it was actually an entirely different project from the untitled game, which, in January 2011, finally resurfaced with an altered design and motif. Kirby's Epic Yarn began development as an original title by Good-Feel called Fluff of Yarn, but was given the Kirby license at Nintendo's proposal.
A fourth game for the DS was released in North America on September 19, 2011, titled Kirby Mass Attack. The game features multiple copies of Kirby in touch screen-based gameplay reminiscent of titles such as Lemmings.
The aforementioned Wii game, Kirby's Return to Dream Land (tentatively titled Kirby Wii) was finally released on Wii in North America on October 24, 2011, returning to the traditional Kirby gameplay and allowing up to four players to play simultaneously. Players 2-4 could choose to play as Meta Knight, King Dedede and/or Waddle Dee, each with dedicated abilities; they could also play as different-colored Kirbys which offered power copying abilities, or as a mixture of the options.
An anthology disc for the Wii called Kirby's Dream Collection was released on July 19, 2012 in Japan and was released on September 16, 2012 in North America to celebrate Kirby's 20th Anniversary. It includes six games from the early history of the series, which are Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby Super Star, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. It also has new Challenge Stages that run on the engine of Kirby's Return to Dream Land (known in Europe and Australia as Kirby's Adventure Wii), and a Kirby history section, which includes three episodes from Hoshi no Kirby (Kirby: Right Back at Ya! in North America). Similarly to the Super Mario 25th Anniversary packaging in 2010, a booklet and a soundtrack containing music from the various games in the series are released alongside the disc.
On October 1, 2013, a new Kirby game for the Nintendo 3DS was announced, later named Kirby: Triple Deluxe. The game was released in Japan on January 11, 2014, North America on May 2, 2014, and Europe on May 16, 2014. It incorporated action spanning varied depths, where Kirby could swap between the foreground and background areas. It included a multiplayer fighting mode called "Kirby Fighters", where players could choose one of ten available abilities and fight on themed stages, with the winner being the last Kirby standing. It also included a rhythm-based action game starring King Dedede. There were also over 250 in-game "keychains" to collect that featured sprites from previous Kirby games as well some original sprites based on characters from Triple Deluxe. In August 2014, Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe (enhanced versions of the mini-games in Kirby: Triple Deluxe) were released.
At E3 2014, a new game for the Wii U was announced. Titled Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, the game is a direct sequel to Kirby: Canvas Curse and features a similar gameplay style. It was released by Nintendo on January 22, 2015 in Japan, February 20, 2015 in North America, May 8, 2015 in Europe and May 9, 2015 in Australia.
On March 3, 2016, during a Nintendo Direct, Nintendo unveiled a new game based on the context of Kirby: Triple Deluxe called Kirby: Planet Robobot. This game is the second Kirby game to be released on the Nintendo 3DS. It was released alongside a set of amiibo figures made for the Kirby franchise, including a newly announced amiibo, Waddle Dee, on April 28, 2016 in Japan and South Korea, June 10, 2016 in North America and Europe, and June 11, 2016 in Australia. The game is compatible with other amiibo. It also includes 2 new minigames, called Kirby 3D Rumble and Team Kirby Clash, the former being an arena based, 3D action game where Kirby uses his inhale to defeat large groups of baddies to rack up points and achieve a high score, and the latter being a mix of fighting, platform, and RPG. Players can level up to level 10, and can play with AI or other friends.
In Nintendo Direct 4-12-2017, three new Kirby games were announced for Kirby's 25th Anniversary. The first game is Team Kirby Clash Deluxe, an upgraded version of the Kirby: Planet Robobot mini-game "Team Kirby Clash". It was announced and released on April 12. The second game is Kirby's Blowout Blast, an upgraded version of the Kirby: Planet Robobot mini-game "Kirby 3D Rumble" which is releasing on July 6 in North America. The third game is an upcoming action-multiplayer game which is still in development and will be releasing this winter.
During E3 2017, Nintendo unveiled a new installment for the Nintendo Switch, tentatively named Kirby for Nintendo Switch. The release date is set for 2018. In the official trailer, visuals are similar to that of a more traditional Kirby platformer, as opposed to using a unique art style as the previous console entry did. From what was shown, the game holds many similarities to the cancelled Kirby game revealed in E3 2005 for the GameCube. Kirby can also throw hearts to turn enemies into computer-controlled allies, a variation of the Helper System from Kirby Super Star. Beside this is the ability of Power Combination, originally from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. And, although their role of being main or brief gameplay elements are not yet known, one of the animal friends from Kirby's Dream Land 3 resurfaced in the trailer through an attack.
The Kirby series has developed a considerably large universe over its many releases. The setting of the games is Dream Land (プププランド Pupupurando, Pupupu Land), which was revealed to be a country on the planet Pop Star in Kirby Super Star. Pop Star resembles a Five-pointed star (rather than a ball) encircled by two diagonal rings (three in some games).
While most of Kirby's adventures take place on planet Pop Star his journey's occasionally take him on an interplanetary scale; such as in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, Milky Way Wishes from Kirby Super Star, and Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
Nature of the protagonist
Kirby is a small, pink, spherical creature with red feet, stubby flap-like arms and pink cheek-blushes. He is referred to as male in the animated series, and described as a young boy in the instruction manual for Kirby's Dream Land. His body is soft and flexible, allowing him to stretch his mouth to inhale foes or inflate himself with air and float. According to Super Smash Bros. instruction manual he is 8 inches tall, however this is contradicted in Kirby's Dream Land 3 and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, the former of which shows Kirby to be at about knee height on Samus Aran and the later of which has Kirby a few inches shorter than the human girl Adeleine.
Kirby hails from the country of Dream Land on the planet Pop Star, where he lives in a domed house. His appearance has changed subtly over the years, becoming more rounded and defined, mainly in his face and larger eyes. The new design has been used in all subsequent games.
Kirby does not commonly speak, mainly limited to grunts, shouts, and short phrases such as "Hi" in such games as Super Smash Bros., Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. However he does speak in the stories written in some games' instruction manuals. He rarely speaks in-game, the only exception being Kirby's Avalanche. He narrates the functions of Copy Abilities on the start menu in Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror and Kirby: Squeak Squad. Most in-game talking Kirby does is in Kirby's Star Stacker, where Kirby explains the game's rules and gameplay. Kirby has dialogue in Kirby's Epic Yarn, but it is all spoken through the game's narrator.
The Kirby series was made into an anime on October 6, 2001, originally titled Hoshi no Kaabii. It was produced by Warpstar Inc., a company formed between a joint investment between Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, Inc. It was licensed in North America by 4Kids Entertainment, under the title Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, on 4Kids TV, and was distributed by 20th Century Fox, Nelvana Limited, and HAL Laboratory, Inc. It ended in Japan in 2003 with 100 episodes.
The show is about the adventures Kirby has with his friends Tiff and Tuff after he crash lands in Dream Land, on Pop Star. Here, he is a legendary Star Warrior destined to save the universe from the intergalactic conqueror known as Nightmare. However, he was summoned 500 years too early and as a result awoke in a childlike state. The ruler of Dream Land, King Dedede, jealous of the attention Kirby receives from its inhabitants, frequently orders monsters from Nightmare's company, Nightmare Enterprises, to attack Kirby and the people of Dream Land. Not yet ready to achieve his destiny, Kirby must get the hang of his incredible powers, sometimes with the help of the enigmatic Meta Knight, who while he claims to be loyal to King Dedede, will often work behind the scenes in order to aid Kirby or train him in the use of his abilities.
The show is based on the game series, but rather than being a direct adaptation of any of the games uses characters and concepts from the games (especially Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, and Kirby Super Star) to tell its own story.
Comics and manga
Kirby stars in several manga series, none of which have been released outside of Japan yet. The longest running series is Kirby of the Stars (a rough English translation of Hoshi no Kirby), written by Hirokazu Hikawa. This series was announced for a release in America by VIZ Media, but was never actually released.
Kirby also appears in several German comics, featuring him as a detective and King Dedede as his friend. His animal friends appear as pets of a female Kirby look-alike with red glass slippers. In one comic, he meets Lolo, Lala, and Lulu, the protagonists of the Adventures of Lolo series. The German comics were meant to let German Kirby fans know of Kirby games which would be released there.
In the lifetime of the Kirby series, several video games have been in development that, for various reasons, were ultimately abandoned. Such titles include Kirby's Air Ride 64 (also known as Kirby Bowl 64 and Kirby Ball 64) on the Nintendo 64, which was eventually released on the GameCube as Kirby Air Ride.
Kirby's Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 on the GameCube, which was supposed to use a combination of motion-sensor technology and connectivity to the Game Boy Advance via the Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable.
There was also a planned game called Kid Kirby that was to be released on the Super Nintendo. The game would have served as a prequel to the series and would have utilized the SNES mouse. The game was cancelled due to the declining sales of the mouse; however, early screenshots of the cancelled game have been posted online. This unreleased game was developed by DMA Design for Nintendo and was scheduled for 1995.
Though resurfaced as Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the GameCube was initially going to have its own original Kirby game, simply titled Kirby Adventure at the time. It was nearly complete and featured at E3 2005, but was cancelled due to troubles incorporating a unique multiplayer mechanic, which became the special attack in Kirby's Return to Dream Land (where all players stack on each other, hold A and release at the same time). Most of Kirby Adventure was scrapped in the game it became to be, such as the helper system that was featured in Kirby Super Star which made a return in the GameCube version of the game before cancellation, as well as having faster-paced gameplay similar to Kirby Super Star.
Kirby in other video games
Kirby appears as a character in Nintendo's crossover fighting game series Super Smash Bros., as a light weight character with strong recovery and a fighting style that utilizes moves from his copy abilities. From Super Smash Bros. Brawl onwards, he's joined by Meta Knight and King Dedede. Knuckle Joe, an enemy from the Kirby series, also appears in Brawl as an Assist Trophy, which he reprises in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Nightmare, a major antagonist in the Kirby series, also appears as an Assist Trophy in the 3DS and Wii U games. Kirby has also made cameo appearances in other games, such as The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, EarthBound, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Stunt Race FX.
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Kirby's Dream Collection 3 (...) employed an advanced-for-the-time dithering effect to enhance the visuals.
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