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Kirby's 20th Anniversary Collection: What We Expect Out of It

Spin-Off Kirby Games: Fab Four

by Michael Cole, Zachary Miller, and Neal Ronaghan - June 2, 2012, 11:38 pm PDT

Same charming Kirby, extremely varied gameplay.

One quality Kirby shares with his comrade Mario is that his game universe is so colorful and so charming that it allows itself to be presented on various game concepts outside the established Kirby game formula. If the Kirby Collection aims to highlight the best of Kirby's career, the chance of at least one spin-off game making an appearance are a bit high. But which games we think might make it in?

Name: Kirby's Pinball Land

System: Game Boy

Release Date: March 4, 1994

What is it?

Kirby's Pinball Land is a Game Boy game released in 1994. As the name suggests, it's a pinball title in which Kirby travels to three distinct tables. Each table has three screens, a bonus stage, and a boss. The game features impressive pinball physics and fairly involved ways to progress through each table. The bosses are familiar Kirby characters—Wispy Woods, Kracko, Poppy Sr., and of course King Dedede. Pinball Land was the first "spin-off" Kirby title and the second in the series—as a result, Kirby doesn't have his trademark abilities yet. However, that doesn't hamper the appeal. Kirby's Pinball Land is one of the better portable pinball games out there.

Will it make the Kirby Collection?

Probably not. I imagine the Kirby Anniversary game will feature console games, not handheld ones, and will probably focus on games that have already been emulated on the Wii Virtual Console. Pinball Land is a great game, but I doubt it will show up in a Wii collection. However, the Kirby franchise is so handheld-heavy that I can only hope for a portable anniversary collection that would include this golden oldie.

Name: Kirby's Avalanche

System: Super NES

Release Date: April 25, 1995

What is it?

Kirby does Puyo Pop! The classic Sega puzzler gets a shot of Nintendo charm. Gameplay consists of lining up two or more blobs of the same color in order to clear the space or defeat your opponent by littering up his space in multiplayer matches.

Will it make the Kirby Collection?

There is a chance that the game collection might focus on Kirby's platforming adventures, and this game being relatively obscure and related to another franchise entirely, so it may not make the cut when HAL selects the games for the collection.

Name: Kirby's Dream Course

System: Super NES

Release Date: February 1, 1995

What is it?

One of Kirby’s more experimental titles, Kirby’s Dream Course hybridizes puzzle and miniature golf game mechanics with Kirby’s copy abilities thrown in for good measure. Kirby must putt or launch himself in the air to attack (touch) all of baddies strewn about each area, bouncing off walls and rolling down ramps. The last baddie remaining becomes the hole, which Kirby must enter to clear the area. While there is no required approach to clearing any given hole, each of the game’s arenas is designed with an optimal route in mind. Players must study each hole’s layout of ramps and baddies in order to hypothesize on how they can improve their score. Executing a plan is equally challenging but rewarding, though players will have to learn how to exploit the game’s quirky spin mechanics and isometric perspective. With a “second quest” of course layouts and an engaging two-player competitive mode, this spin-off is surprisingly deep and very unique.

Will it make the Kirby Collection?

Most likely, as long as the collection isn’t steadfastly dedicated to Kirby’s platforming games. This is a sophisticated and underappreciated title with plenty of meat on its bones that would round out any compilation. Being a Super Nintendo game also improves its chances, since Nintendo may want to avoid including portable games for collection on a home console. The game has been on the Wii Virtual Console for several years, so it is unlikely that Nintendo would exclude this game from the collection for fear of cannibalizing sales.

Name: Kirby's Block Ball

System: Game Boy

Release Date: May 1996

What is it?

In a similar vein to Kirby's Pinball Land, Kirby's Block Ball takes our rotund hero and once again turns him into a ball to be paddled. Block Ball is a Breakout-style game with Kirby stuff, including special abilities, familiar enemies, old (and new) boss characters, and warp stars. The game was just released on the 3DS Virtual Console, and it's very fun—although the usual Breakout caveats still apply. This game had great Super Game Boy support, featuring colors and a great gameplay window frame. Of course, that doesn't apply to the VC version.

Will it make the Kirby Collection?

Again, probably not. Aside from it being a handheld game, I doubt Nintendo would want to re-release something in a collection that people could pay $3 for on the eShop, cynical though that may be. Despite that, I recommend picking it up if you can. It's the best version of Breakout you can buy!



famicomplicatedJames Charlton, Associate Editor (Japan)June 03, 2012

This may even be unveiled tomorrow (Monday 4th) during the Nintendo Direct presentation!
If it is indeed a Wii disk, I'm sure they'd rather get the last gen stuff out the way, leaving room for a full Wii U game blowout during the main conference...

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 03, 2012

This article is missing Link's Awakening, which featured a Kirby cameo. :D

JRokujuushiJune 03, 2012

If you're going to go that route, you might as well say the article's missing Smash Bros. as well.

ThanerosJune 03, 2012

I'd buy it just for Amazing Mirror but I doubt it will make the cut.

AltenwegJune 03, 2012

I think we are forgetting the obvious point. I doubt Nintendo is going to force classic controller use, so all of the games need to use just the wiimote. This is the reason why super Mario world was not in the Mario collection. Given this I think the collection comes into better focus unless they spend time reprogramming. I think Adventure and Air ride are almost assured and star stacker would be a nice addition to attract the hardcore Kirby fan. I have never played the SNES games so I don't know how they control.

TJ SpykeJune 04, 2012

Quote from: Altenweg

This is the reason why super Mario world was not in the Mario collection.

No, I severely doubt that. The only version of SMAS that included SMW was released a few years after the original and was only available in a SNES hardware bundle.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 04, 2012

Wasn't it released about a year later?  Pretty sure the SNES bundles came out the next holiday season...

TJ SpykeJune 04, 2012

Yes, you are right. Original was August 1993, the hardware-only bundle version was December 1994.

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