Kirby's Adventure (NES)
Kirby Super Star (SNES)
Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)
Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii)
Kirby celebrates his 20th birthday later this year, and boy, what a life it has been for the cute and cuddly character from the mind of Mr. Sakurai and HAL Laboratories. His ability to suck up enemies and copy their powers was unheard of and is a terrific gameplay mechanic to this day. Kirby is generally Nintendo's go-to character for unique gameplay styles such as a racing game that only uses one button to accelerate, brake, and handle, a game where you draw lines to guide Kirby around, and a game where you tilt the Game Boy Color to move the pink blob around labyrinthine-like levels. Happy 20th, Kirby, you're nearly old enough to drink legally!
6) Kirby's Adventure (NES)
The first Kirby game where it was revealed that that everyone's favorite powder puff was actually pink, Kirby's Adventure brought Nintendo's blob mascot to consoles. For a Kirby game that difficulty was pretty high as the player only had a handful of hits to work with before they lost a life. Bosses like Kracko and Whispy Woods proved challenging while familiar to this day landscapes and levels like Butter Building and Ice Cream Island made for an edible vacation unlike any other.
5) Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)
Kirby's Dream Land 3 came out a year after Super Star and unlike KSS was a full-fledged adventure as opposed to multiple bite-sized ones. Players could team up together in Kirby's first cooperative journey, playing together to help one another out. Several animal friends assisted players along the way such as a fish, a bird, and a gopher, for starters. Each level had its own optional side challenge to accomplish such as rescuing Metroids for Samus Aran or not stomping on any flowers in a given level. Plus, the soft painted look of the game is highly pleasing to the eye.
4) Kirby Super Star (SNES)
Kirby Super Star was a collection of games both mini and mega that varied in greatness. The eight games had Kirby exploring a series of levels in search of treasure in the Great Cave Offensive, had Kirby swift-stepping it with King Dedede in Gourmet Race, playing through a remake of Kirby's Dream Land in Spring Breeze, battling a winged warrior in Dyna Blade, and carousing through Revenge of Meta Knight as well as Milky Way Wishes. If you can't get enough Kirby, then Kirby Super Star is an admirable effort to expand the pink puffball's horizons.
3) Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64)
One of the more overlooked of Kirby's adventures, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards introduced our round hero to three-dimensions... well, technically 2-1/2D, but everything was 3D visually. The main draw to the game was combining two abilities to form a new one. This made for a lot of experimentation as some portions of levels couldn't be accessed unless you had the correct combination of abilities. Three crystal shards were hidden in each level, and you had to gather them all in order to reach the true final boss of the game. One of my favorite Kirbys, The Crystal Shards is definitely worth a look.
2) Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)
Originally planned to be a new IP entirely, Kirby was shoe-horned in and thus Kirby's Epic Yarn was born. Two players could delve into co-op mode together, collecting beads, lassoing foes, and transforming into multiple different forms like fire engines, cars, and UFOs. While the game itself is one the easy side, the presentation alone makes this game worth playing. Everything in Epic Yarn is-- unsurprisingly-- made out of yarn from bad guys to environments. And that music... So phenomenal. Kirby's Epic Yarn is indeed one special little package.
1) Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii)
The latest and in my mind greatest Kirby adventure yet, Kirby's Return to Dreamland (or Kirby's Adventure Wii for PAL people) pits players through countless vibrant and lush worlds such as Cookie Country and Onion Ocean in search of Megalor's missing spaceship parts and Energy Spheres used to unlock bonus content such as Challenge Rooms, Copy Ability Rooms, and sub-games. The addition of four-player co-op creates a zany dynamic with all players working together and sharing a life counter with player one. Multiplayer alone makes this game the best console Kirby yet, but all the unlockable modes post-game makes for a game that definitely does not suck, even if Kirby literally does.
This edition of Rank Up! is over, but stay tuned later in the week as we'll be examining Kirby's mainline hand-held escapades in a bite-sized version of Rank Up! See you tomorrow, all.