Every Kirby Game From The 2010s, Ranked By Metacritic

2022-07-30 07:37:41 By : Ms. Christy Pan

The Kirby series has never disappeared, but it’s had its ups and downs and had to transform itself in many ways to remain relevant.

Nintendo consoles don't always deliver the same processing power as Sony or Microsoft’s consoles, but the developer continues to excel when it comes to established first-party properties, like Kirby. The Kirby series has never disappeared, but it’s had its ups and downs and had to transform itself in many ways to remain relevant among Nintendo’s other franchises.

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The platforming foundation that Kirby was built upon is still important to the series, but the 2010s were one of the most plentiful and creative periods for the Kirby franchise, with it dominating both Nintendo’s handheld and home consoles in contrasting capacities. A lot of the Kirby traditions from the 2010s are now permanent parts of the franchise.

The Nintendo 3DS eShop became a dedicated home for the Kirby franchise, and many self-contained spin-offs of previous Kirby mini-games received digital releases. These smaller titles helped commemorate the franchise's anniversaries, but they also accompanied genuine Kirby games like Kirby Battle Royale.

Kirby Battle Royale embraces action-centric multiplayer gameplay that's become a staple of the franchise. The combative title is fun, but it feels like the most sparse of Kirby's action adventures. It’s a release that bides time instead of pushes the series forward.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe was one of the more celebrated Nintendo 3DS releases. The core platforming game doesn't disappoint, but it also includes rewarding mini-games that have gained enough of a following that they've spun off into their own releases.

The Kirby Fighters mini-game evolved into Kirby Fighters Deluxe, an eShop release that puts Kirby's eclectic cast of characters and abilities into a tournament arena setting. A full sequel for the Nintendo Switch, Kirby Fighters 2, was released in 2020 to essentially the same reception as its predecessor.

Kirby Star Allies is a Nintendo Switch release that returns to the series' platforming roots, but with an emphasis on cooperative play that celebrates the franchise's lengthy history. The main appeal of Kirby Star Allies is that Kirby has an abundance of companions who he can depend upon for support.

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The helpers who are at Kirby's disposal cover a wide range of friends and foes from previous Kirby games. It's a satisfying way to mix things up as well as test the waters for which older Kirby characters deserve a Meta-Knight-level revision.

Nintendo's latest gaming console, the Switch, has turned into one of the company's greatest successes, but the Wii U was a much more polarizing project. Many of Nintendo's Wii U exclusive titles have since been ported over to the Switch or 3DS. The Wii U's Gamepad led to some inventive gameplay that in some ways was reminiscent of the Nintendo DS and its touch screen controls.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse uses this opportunity to upgrade the stylus-based gameplay of the DS' Kirby: Canvas Curse. The unique control scheme combined with the clay-like visual aesthetic makes it one of the most pleasant Kirby games of the decade.

The 2000s and first part of the 2010s injected life into the Kirby franchise through creative reinventions, which left audiences grateful for a return to the series' basics. The aptly titled Kirby's Return to Dream Land was the character's big platforming return on the Wii.

The console’s simplistic Wiimote is also ideal for the series’ straightforward controls. Kirby's Return to Dream Land provides a communal experience, with the ability for four players to get involved at once and engage in unprecedented levels of Kirby chaos.

The Kirby series has thrived on Nintendo's various handhelds, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe is the entry's first opportunity to take advantage of the Nintendo 3DS' capabilities. Kirby: Triple Deluxe helps evolve the series' standard platforming into 3D as Kirby explores the foreground and background of levels.

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Triple Deluxe helped properly bring Kirby into the next generation of gaming and become a 3DS staple. Several of the genre mini-games in Triple Deluxe were also expanded into their own releases.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe opened the doors for new possibilities on the Nintendo 3DS, and the game's follow-up, Kirby: Planet Robobot is very much cut from the same cloth. Planet Robobot turns to the same gameplay and ideas as its predecessor, but it adds giant mech upgrades that allow for considerably greater spectacles.

It's proof of how much the Kirby series can change while still remaining true to its roots. The comprehensive mini-games that are included, Kirby 3D Rumble and Team Kirby Clash, also don't disappoint.

The Kirby franchise has dozens of games that have been released across its prolific run and Nintendo wanted to celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary with a compilation release for the Wii. Kirby’s Dream Collection packages together the six biggest releases from early on in the series’ run, beginning with Kirby’s Dream Land and ending with Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.

Some of the best Kirby games are included in this collection, which also includes additional challenges and even three full episodes of the Kirby anime series. It remains an impressive time capsule of Nintendo’s platforming series.

Kirby games fully took advantage of the Nintendo DS hardware, and the final Kirby game to come out for the handheld, Kirby Mass Attack, is one of the most impressive. Kirby Mass Attack brings Lemmings-esque real-time strategy elements into the series as platforming and puzzles require hordes of Kirby to advance.

Kirby games can be easier in difficulty, but the changes in Kirby Mass Attack should appease more of the hardcore crowd. It’s a concept that would have likely seen more love on the Nintendo DS if it came out earlier in the system’s life.

Nintendo franchises often have reputations for being kid-friendly and full of cute aesthetics. They’ve gone above and beyond in this regard with certain creative aesthetic makeovers like Yoshi’s Wooly World, Yoshi’s Crafted World, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Kirby proves to be the perfect property for a crafty transformation.

It’s visually pleasing, but the yarn concept also opens up gameplay in inventive ways. The Wii game received an upgraded port for the 3DS, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, but the original holds the better reception, and the handheld version loses some of the charm in translation.

NEXT: 10 Things You Never Knew About Kirby

Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer, comedian, and critic, who lives in the cultural mosaic that is Brooklyn, New York. Daniel’s work can be read on ScreenRant, Splitsider, Bloody Disgusting, Den of Geek, and across the Internet. Daniel recently completed work on a noir anthology graphic novel titled, "Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Noir: A Rag of Bizarre Noir and Hard Boiled Tales" and he’s currently toiling away on his first novel. Daniel's extra musings can be found @DanielKurlansky on Twitter.

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