With the release of Kirby and The Forgotten Land in March 2022, the puffball will be experiencing a new world in new ways. Kirby is not the character most people immediately think of when they think “video game icon,” but that is actually what he is. The adorable pink powerhouse has been around for 30 years and whether it’s racing, puzzles, or a classic adventure, Kirby has experienced it all.

Since his first video game was released in 1992, Kirby has had more than 30 games ranging from grand adventures to simple puzzles. Not all of these games experienced notable success, but those that did quickly became player favorites.

10 Super Kirby Clash – 74

One of the more unique Kirby games is also a game that players can experience for free. Super Kirby Clash is a half-re-release and half-improvement upon the earlier Team Kirby Clash Deluxe, which was itself an expanded version of a minigame. But that doesn’t mean this game is light or simple: the depth of the leveling and unlocking system provides a lot of complexity to the gameplay.

Super Kirby Clash is an RPG-style boss-battle game in which players can select copy-ability roles that have expanded movesets and powers. Players are then sent into a battle with a boss, which will give experience and currency to improve or unlock more abilities. Considering it’s free, this is one of the best games on the Nintendo Switch today!

9 Kirby’s Return To Dream Land – 77

Return to Dream Land is a sort of video game franchise reboot that features many of the classic aspects and areas of the past Kirby entries. Additionally, this game established some of the series’ mainstays that continue today. After a strange spaceship crashlands on Popstar, Kirby and his friends need to help the alien rebuild his ship.

This is a “2.5 Dimensional” platformer, meaning it features a 3D space that the player can explore on a linear path, a classic format for the lovable pompom. This game originated some of the big mechanics and ideas, such as the “hyper inhale” that allows Kirby to suck up heavier objects and enemies.

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8 Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards – 77

The very first of Kirby’s 2.5D adventures, this game is one of the most underrated Nintendo 64 games. There are many things that set this Kirby game out from the pack, but the primary mechanical difference is the addition of power combos. This mechanic allows the combination of copy-abilities into different forms, such as combining the cutter power with ice to create an ice-skating power.

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The story begins on the far-off planet of Ripple Star, where a race of fairies is attacked by a dark matter. One fairy escapes and asks Kirby to help find shards of the fairy’s crystal and save her planet. This game takes place over several planets, providing players with a wide array of scenery and experiences.

7 Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn – 79

Rather than Kirby’s standard copy-abilities, Extra Epic Yarn sees Kirby transformed into a ball of yarn that can transform itself into new and exciting forms. This ranges from UFOs to submarines, depending on what the need is. He finds himself in this predicament after eating a tomato that is possessed by an evil sorcerer who then sends Kirby into the yarn world.

Nintendo has a charming love of arts and crafts, as readers can see in Yoshi’s Wooly World, the Paper Mario series, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is an expanded version of the original Wii game, now brought to the 3DS. This improved version builds upon the basic mechanic of interacting with the world via yarn-based abilities.

6 Kirby: Triple Deluxe – 80

Triple Deluxe is a solid Kirby game that builds a beautiful story upon the foundation of classic Kirby concepts. One day, a massive beanstalk erupts from the ground beneath Kirby’s home planet, Popstar. Alongside many standard landmarks, King Dedede’s castle is carried away by the beanstalk, so Kirby sets off on his adventure.

This game continues the hyper-inhale mechanic by adding Hypernova Kirby, which is activated by eating mystery fruits from the beanstalk. The charming world of Popstar is built upon in this story, providing new locales and characters for Kirby to interact with. This game also introduced four new copy abilities for Kirby, including the fan-favorite archer ability.

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5 Kirby And The Amazing Mirror – 80

The Amazing Mirror is consistently among the most beloved Kirby games by fans. This is thanks to the sprawling map, in-depth power developments, and charming atmosphere. The story takes place in Dream Land, where a magic mirror can bring wishes reflected in it to life. When a dark figure comes out of the mirror and splits Kirby in four, the different colored Kirbys chase him back into the Mirror World.

The simultaneous co-op is seamlessly mixed with the solo play, as a single player can summon another Kirby to help with bosses and puzzles. The Castlevania-esque world progression provides hours of exploration and discovery, leading through a magical realm full of friends and foes alike.

4 Kirby: Planet Robobot – 81

When Popstar is attacked by a massive spaceship, the world’s heroes attempt to fight back … except for Kirby, who sleeps through the whole thing. Once he awakes, he sets out to take back the planet – this is the general story of Planet Robobot, one of the most well animated and designed of Kirby’s adventures.

The unique twist on Kirby’s standard adventure is the introduction of the Robobot, a mechanical suit that Kirby can pilot to help him in certain areas. Much like Kirby, the suit can copy enemy abilities, which is used for puzzles and fights alike. Kirby games are not usually known for their difficulty, but the charming atmosphere and unique designs set this game apart.

3 Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land – 81

A modern remake of the second Kirby game, Kirby’s Adventure, this game is well known for how it built upon standard traditions of the game in new ways. The story is simple enough: Kirby awakes from a dreamless sleep, which leads him to check on the Fountain of Dreams. The mystical Star Rod has been stolen from its place on the fountain, and Kirby leaves to get it back.

The updated graphics and abilities serve the classic game very well, and the care put into every detail makes one feel like the game is a labor of love from the developers. While this is perhaps the simplest and most standard of Kirby games out there, it is so well designed and executed that it earns a place among the rest.

2 Kirby Mass Attack – 83

What if instead of one Kirby, there were 10? That’s the simple idea behind Kirby Mass Attack. After traveling to a strange land, Kirby falls asleep. During his nap, an evil sorcerer splits Kirby into 10 smaller versions of himself. While Nintendo is no stranger to unique gameplay, Kirby himself has many experimental and strange mechanics used in his games.

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Thanks to Kirby’s simple design, he continues to be one of the favorites of Nintendo’s most daring developers. The goal of the game is to use the DS stylus to guide, toss, and encourage the little Kirbys through a variety of puzzles and battles.

1 Kirby: Canvas Curse – 86

Kirby: Canvas Curse and its more recent sequel, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, are innovative and experimental games that utilize the DS and 3DS’s touchscreens to their full potential. In these games, the world of Popstar is cursed to become a painting, and Kirby fights his way through the world with the help of his rainbow paintbrush.

Rather than moving around like a traditional platforming game, players use the touchpad to draw paths for Kirby to follow. Players can also draw walls for safety, and tap Kirby to get a speed boost or use a copy-ability. These games show just how well-received experimental games can be by showing off innovative gameplay and refreshingly new art styles.

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