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Kirby's Adventure Review Rewind

See PixlBit's Review Policies

On 08/15/2011 at 04:59 PM by Matt McLennan

Any NES game that lets you be a UFO is outright amazing.

For everyone who likes Kirby or platformers. A classic NES title that is readily available on the Wii Shop Channel for only 500 points.

Kirby is adorable. With his round, pink marshmallow shaped figure, he is the cutest Nintendo character ever. Yes, even cuter then Pikmin. On the other hand, Kirby is absolutely ruthless; no one can resist his powerful vacuum-like suck ability that will swallow any enemy that is his size. Once you have been swallowed by Kirby, there is no escape. He will either spit you out in the shape of the star, sending you right into another enemy, or swallow you and take your ability.

Kirby’s Adventure, released in 1993 during the NES’ twilight years which is sort of strange considering the SNES was in full swing around then, was the pink puff’s first console outing following his 1992 Game Boy debut. While the NES and Game Boy were almost the same in terms of game output, the NES had the advantage of color and a bigger screen. So when Kirby jumped to the NES, it was done in style and introduced many of the fundamentals that are now commonplace in Kirby games today, like the famous copy ability.

While the NES has had some rather nice looking games on the console (both DuckTales games, Faxanadu, TMNT II & III, Mega Man II – VI), Kirby’s Adventure is easily the most striking. The NES has a very limited color palette, but Sakurai and his team made Dreamland and its locales far more vibrant then anything the NES had seen. Enemies both new and old are easily identifiable thanks to great character sprite design. Backgrounds themselves easily steal the show – no two levels will look the same. Background effects like sparkling water and bubbly clouds make the game feel alive. My favorite looking levels are easily the Rainbow Fountain and Ice Cream Island. If there are two downsides to the graphics, they are the horrid NES graphical flicker (which thankfully doesn’t detract too much from the experience) and the HUD on the bottom of the screen, which I find a bit too big.

On the subject of sound, Kirby’s Adventure is easily my second favorite soundtrack in the Kirby series (the first being Super Star, the third being Epic Yarn). Series composer Jun Ishikawa and collaborator Hirokazu Ando put the NES sound chip to work with addicting tunes that will last in your head forever. The stock sound effects from Kirby’s GB outing make their return as well, solidifying Kirby's aural continuity.

On the gameplay front, Kirby’s first console adventure expanded on the formula set in Kirby’s Dream Land. No longer are there just five levels to get through, there are now seven worlds each with a set of unique levels, with a boss waiting at the end. This easily makes Kirby’s Adventure a much fuller game then Dream Land ever was. Going through the main stages should not be unfamiliar to those who have experienced any of Kirby’s more recent games, but back in 1993 this game introduced what would be a staple in the series since then: the copy ability. Inhaling and swallowing certain enemies will transfer some of their attributes to Kirby. Each ability has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it will be up to the player to decide which one you would want to use in the stage.

Level design takes a bigger step forward from Dream Land with the introduction of two things: the overworld map and mini-games. The map basically functions as an entryway to levels, but unlike games like Super Mario Bros. 3, the map is like a side-scrolling level that expands as you complete levels. However, sometimes parts of the map do not expand and are still covered. To fix this, certain stages have a hidden star switch. Finding the switch and activating it will reveal part of the map, and as an added bonus will refill your health. Health is a bigger issue then it was in Dream Land, as finishing a level will not refill your health. This is where the mini-games come in. Three mini-games are available to you as you expand the world map: a “chain-claw” mini-game, an egg swallowing mini-game and a stadium battle with a mini-boss. Depending on the mini-game you play and succeed at, you will either receive a Maximum Tomato, an extra life, or score points.

If there is one criticism I have to level toward the game, it is that it’s a bit easy on the side if you are an experienced player who is used to platformers. However, finding the hidden level switches will take some effort, and you only have six hits to your health meter.

It is a shame that this game was released far into the NES’ life. With the SNES already out, many people ignored the NES twilight releases, and as such they didn’t sell as well as they should. Thankfully, Kirby’s Adventure is readily available on the Wii VC for only 500 points. Kirby’s second game shouldn’t be ignored.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Nick DiMola Director

08/15/2011 at 09:19 PM

I adore this game. It's been one of my favorites since I had an original NES. I'm not sure any of the other Kirby games have captured the magic of this one, except maybe Epic Yarn.


02/26/2013 at 12:58 AM

I love this game. I've played it to 100% many times. You forgot to mention the western showdown minigame. That's my favorite part of the whole thing.


02/28/2013 at 08:08 AM

so glad to see this game added to virtual console, Kirby will forever be a cool character with so much potential. My favourite Kirby installment has to be amazing mirror. Tha game is.... er...... amazing.

Jamie Alston Staff Writer

03/05/2013 at 01:28 AM

Kirby's Adventure was the perfect successor to Dream Land. The idea of having him copy abilities was genius

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