Retro Corner Kirby’s Adventure

Kirby Adventure 600 x 300

Kirby’s Finest Outing

Kirby’s Adventure for the Nintendo Entertainment system was always something of a strange release, it’s a game released in 1993. Let that one sink in for a second, by 1993 the NES had already been out in Japan for ten years. In fact, by 1993 Nintendo was pushing 3D polygons on the SNES thanks to StarFox and the SuperFX chip. Even to this day I don’t really understand the thinking behind such a late release but thankfully it didn’t hurt the game. Kirby’s Adventure is actually one of the best games the NES has to offer and that’s no small feat considering this is the system that gave us Super Mario Bros 3.

One year prior to Kirby’s Adventure, the team at HAL Laboratory developed a little title by the name of Kirby’s DreamLand for the original GameBoy. I’d love to tell you all about it but considering the game has sold over 5 million copies since it’s release, I’m going to assume you’ve all played it before. No seriously, it’s the fourth best selling GameBoy game, you HAVE played that one before.

Instead of focusing on the confusing decision to launch a NES game so late in the life cycle of the system, we should instead look at the benefits this brings us. We have a development team headed by Masahiro Sakurai that’s already experienced in NES development meaning Kirby’s Adventure is one of the prettiest titles you’ll see on the system, occasional slowdown  only serves to show just how much the game is pushing the NES’ limits.

We probably should touch upon the visuals first because it’s usually what’s most striking about Kirby’s Adventure, at least initially anyway. Kirby’s Adventure is the type of game that could pass for an early SNES game if the game wasn’t limited by the NES’s 54 colour pallet. Animation is even more impressive, just swing a sword with Kirby’s as you glide through the air and count the number of frames being used, chances are it will take you a while and that’s because unlike most NES games, the number of frames in it’s animation is more than three resulting in an ultra smooth game.

The rest of the visuals are more standard Nintendo fare, if you’ve played the Super Mario games on the NES then you already know what to expect. Happy colourful environments with no silly black backgrounds in sight makes Kirby’s Adventure is one of, if not the best eye candy the NES has ever served up. Part of the screen is cut off and serves as the game’s HUD so one would assume the game’s visuals were achieved by reducing the amount of screen the NES has to render.

There’s no doubt about it, Kirby’s Adventure plays very similarly to Kirby’s Dreamland for the GameBoy. You play as a little pink blob capable of sucking in enemies and spitting them out to attack other enemies. The ability to flying through the air also returns meaning you can generally skip portions of the level although never to the point where it essentially means you’re skipping everything. There’s a new dash ability activated by double tapping left or right on the d-pad, it’s not the most useful ability around but it’s a welcomed one and helps making dodging boss attacks a little easier.

What separates Kirby’s Adventure from Kirby’s Dreamland is the ability to suck in certain enemies and take their abilities using the game’s copy mechanic. This right here is what Kirby’s Adventure is all about and what stops the game from being a little too basic, it helps keep the game fresh throughout the experience. Everyone loves power ups and Kirby Adventure has plenty of them, in fact there’s quite a few so in the interest of time, here’s all of them.

Everyone has their personal favourite power up and the great thing about the game is that most of them are actually pretty cool in their own way so nothing has gone to waste. The sword is my personal favourite mainly because it reminds me of Capcom’s Strider. One shouldn’t dismiss cutter as it’s a bit of a god send on boss battles as it allows you to attack them without getting too close. It’s possible to have these copy abilities knocked out from Kirby but if you’re quick enough, you can always suck them back in.

Simplicity is the name of the game in Kirby’s Adventure, it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel nor is it trying be the best at what it does. Kirby’s Adventure is a game that’s perfectly content with providing players with an enjoyable 2D platformer that’s polished off to the rim. Level design isn’t genius and overly cleverly but pleasant and never too difficult. It’s eight worlds each with five to six levels within them so you’re looking at the Super Mario Bros 3 formula although Kirby’s Adventure drops the status map screen for an interactive one.

Kirby’s Adventure is a game full of charm and you’ll grow to be a Kirby fan after playing it, little touches such as the small animation that plays at the start of each new world is a great example of how hardware limitations shouldn’t impact the emotions a game wants to convey. The soundtrack is comprised of upbeat cheerful melodies and they’ve even thrown in some mini games that Kirby can participate in such as a Wild West themed shoot out that becomes insanely hard the second King Dedede  shows up.

Nothing in Kirby’s Adventure overstays it’s welcome including the game itself, I can’t imagine anyone taking more than five hours to finish the game. There’s not a whole lot of replay value beyond the main game so Kirby’s Adventure isn’t exactly something you’ll come back to once it’s done. For most gamers this sounds like a bit of a low point but the five hours you spend with Kirby’s Adventure will be some of the most pleasant around. It won’t test your skills nor is it a frustrating experience, Kirby’s Adventure is the very definition of short and sweet.

Did You Know?

Depending on the game I’ll add a little bit of trivia to these Retro Corners, just anything random I found interesting and want to share with you. Let’s be honest here, with Retro Corner all I’m doing is triggering memories of past games but nothing new is being said. Hopefully whenever I do a “Did you know?” you’ll walk away with a little extra knowledge in addition to a nostalgic flashback.

Nintendo Totally Screwed Up Kirby’s Colour

If I were the ask you what the most memorable thing about Kirby is, what would you say? Most likely you’d tell me that Kirby is pink right? Well believe it or not even Nintendo knew that at one point.

It’s impossible not to laugh at this mistake, basically Kirby was always intended to be pink as since he (yes it’s a he) debuted in 1992′s Kirby’s Dream Land for the original GameBoy. You can see it right in the box, Kirby is pink but when the game is played on a GameBoy, due to the limited colours one could possibly assume that Kirby was white. Rather than take a minute to contact Japan or even look at the box art, Nintendo of America and Europe simply went with what they thought Kirby looked like.

Kirby’s pink colour was soon restored by the time Kirby’s Adventure came along and all other games that followed. Shigeru Miyamoto originally wanted Kirby to be yellow but Sakurai’s preference is that one that stayed in the end. Miyamoto’s yellow preference was not left behind, whenever a second player plays a second Kirby, the color defaults to yellow.

In Nintendo’s own Super Smash Bros series, both yellow and white are selectable alternative colours for Kirby so Miyamoto-san get’s his wish, Sakurai-san is also kept happy and even they manage to poke fun at themselves at the same time in regards to white Kirby.

Kirby Is Always Pissed Off In America

Many people think of Nintendo as a very family friendly company and they are but did you know that even Nintendo thinks Kirby is too cute for America.

There’s a Kirby’s Adventure Remake On GameBoy Advance

It appears that Nintendo didn’t do a very good job of explaining that there is indeed a remake of Kirby’s Adventure for the GameBoy Advance. The game is called Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland and it’s actually a pretty damn good remake so if you’re looking to play Kirby’s Adventure but prefer something more up to date, definitely check it out.

Yeah, he’s still pissed off in this one too.

Kirby’s Adventure In 2013

Normally this is the part I hate writing, I spend ages talking about a game only to finish off by telling you the franchise is dead, no sequels are happening and it’s impossible to play the game on newer hardware but thankfully that’s not the case with Kirby. Over the years Nintendo has done a good job of keeping Kirby relevant with a number of solid releases, Kirby’s inclusion in the Super Smash Bros series also helps keep him popular.

Kirby’s Adventure in particular is a NES title but there’s a number of different ways you can still play it on newer system, something that probably isn’t collecting dust in the attic. The most obvious release would be on the Virtual Console for both Wii or Wii U, the game is fairly cheap and it was originally optimized for 50Hz meaning it may not update at 60Hz but it runs just as well.

There’s also Kirby’s Dream Collection for the Wii but Nintendo didn’t bother releasing that one here in Europe. It features a perfectly good working version of Kirby’s Adventure so by all means, go ahead and pick up the collection if you live outside Europe. You’ll have access to other great Kirby titles too.

As mentioned already there’s already a GameBoy Advance remake which is worth checking out even if you’ve played the original NES version. If you prefer to keep it old school all the way then there’s also Kirby’s Adventure 3D Classic for the 3DS. It’s the same game as the NES version except the visuals now run at a perfect 60FPS and there’s also the 3D depth if you’re into that stuff. The GameBoy Advance remake and Kirby’s Adventure 3D Classic on 3DS are the very best versions so go with those with possible.

That’s it for Kirby’s Adventure then, a NES classic that came so late that it went overlooked. There’s plenty of different ways to play the game so it shouldn’t be too hard finding a version of Kirby’s Adventure to experience. The game’s simplicity stands the test of time nicely and it’s just as much fun in 2013 as it was 20 years ago.


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Author: Xav View all posts by
Loves gaming, doesn't care what system it's on. Can be found on both Twitter and his own personal Blog talking about anything and everything.