Whoever said variety is the spice of life has obviously played Kirby Superstar. Releasing in the final stretch of the Super Nintendo’s commercial lifespan, it continued the legacy of being the swan song of Nintendo’s first-party lineup. It showed people that there was still a reason to own the SNES in the era of Playstation. And it delivers. Kirby Superstar is one of the most fun and feature packed games released on the SNES, even giving Mario a run for his money! So with an experience as rich as this, where can we begin? Why, at the beginning of course!
Kirby started life on the black and white Game Boy as an platforming game that novice gamers could play and enjoy. The same holds true here, but once you see Kirby in all his 16-bit color glory, you will wonder why Nintendo debuted him in a colorless atmosphere. The game is simply beautiful, with a colorful and vibrant art style that really brings Kirby’s happy-go lucky world to life.
Animation is equally well done, with enemies showing pain and shock; Trust me when I say that you will soon be feeling sorry for those poor Waddle-Dees as you beat the stuffing out of them!
You will have a ton of tools at your disposal in order to depose of your foes! Kirby Superstar boasts a system where Kirby can suck in and absorb the powers of over twenty enemies throughout his adventures. These range from swords to flamethrowers to even a microphone that defeats all enemies on the screen for a few uses! Every one of these weapons changes how you play through the game, so there is a ton of variety even after you have played through all of Kirby’s stories.
And what about multiplayer? You will not be disappointed, as Superstar integrates the 2-player aspect right into Kirby’s skill set! Since one of the new things Kirby can do for this adventure is turn his absorbed power into a helper, all the second player has to do is push the start button after the first player does this! It really could not be easier!
It’s a good thing Kirby can bring a friend along, because there is a whole lot of trouble in Dream Land! Kirby Superstar features six primary adventures to finish, each with its own wrinkle that adds a different spin on the formula.
Spring Breeze: Think of this as a remake of Kirby’s Dream Land for the GB. The gluttonous King Dedede has stolen all of Dream Land’s food, and it is up to Kirby to get it back before everyone starves! This is by far Kirby’s simplest adventure, with a non-existent difficulty curve and a short length. The ability to copy enemies powers makes it even easier than the Game Boy version, and because of this I usually play this game without using abilities. It just seems like this is how Spring Breeze is meant to be played. A great way to start your Kirby career!
DynaBlade: The second quest Kirby embarks on finds him attempting to stop a giant bird from disturbing Dream Land’s crops. Like Spring Breeze, there are four levels of play, but this time the difficulty and length are a bit more visible. The game also plays out on a world map ala Super Mario World, complete with secret rooms and wandering mini-bosses. The secret rooms are of particular note, and are unlocked via a secret door found in the normal levels. These rooms contain almost every power in the game between them, so they are well worth searching out! When you finally reach DynaBlade, a terrific boss battle ensues, and while I wont spoil the ending, let’s just say you will understand the bird’s actions a little better in the end. Overall it is a terrific scenario, though not my favorite.
The Great Cave Offensive: Now we’re talking! This is tied with another for my favorite of the bunch! In TGCO, Kirby falls down a hole that is full of treasure, and must travel through it looking for a way out, all while looking for as much loot as possible. The draw here is that the cave is one huge seamless environment, which means that you can explore and experiment at your leisure! Inside this cave are 60 treasures, each one requiring the use of your powers and logic to unlock. While some are easy to get, many will test your logic and reflexes in ways you have to see to believe! It almost reminds me of a small scale Metroid game, only cuter. Not to mention that this has one of the greatest boss encounters in the history of the SNES! It will have you laughing and feeling nostalgic at the same time, and is one of my favorite 16-bit moments. So have you unlocked this yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Go explore!!!
Revenge of Meta Knight: Long time Kirby nemesis Meta Knight is poised to invade Dream Land, and only Kirby can stop him! It is almost a mirror image of Cave’s gameplay, delivering a focused and frantic race against the clock. There is a timer, you see, and every second ticks down to Dream Land’s destruction! While it is rather lenient, it serves its purpose by adding haste to what is typically a very laid back series. Meta Knight is also the most character focused of the games, with numerous cutscenes featuring Meta Knight and his crew. You could almost like Meta Knight if he wasn’t so hell-bent on destroying Dream Land! The game is no slouch on the difficulty side of things either, with fighting being fast and furious and some of the toughest bosses in the game being found right here. Overall, Revenge of Meta Knight is one of the most rewarding of the available adventures, and when the credits roll I guarantee you will let out a deep breath!
Milky Way Wishes: The more I play, the more this adventure pulls ahead of The Great Cave Offensive. Kirby takes to the stars in a quest to stop the sun and moon from fighting. This time, the whole galaxy is your map, allowing Kirby to pick his levels from the ten available. Like with the other games, this one has its own twist. You cannot absorb enemy powers in this game. Instead, you look for statues that once found, GRANT YOU THAT GIVEN POWER PERMANENTLY! That’s right! In this adventure you can switch between powers at will! This fact combined with your ability to do the worlds in any order you want makes for an almost limitless amount of choice. Couple this with an awesome R-Type– style level design and a showdown with the most difficult boss in the game, Milky Way Wishes becomes the most memorable adventure in the game! My personal favorite (Tied with The Great Cave Offensive).
The Arena: More of a boss rush than an actual game, The Arena gives you a room full of powers, five MetaMatoes, and every boss in the game to defeat. While not really a full adventure, it is a nice bonus for finishing the meat of the game, and it’s a lot of fun to play with a friend. It is also worth noting that this is where you can really cut loose and experiment to see which powers work best on what bosses, or even to test your mettle with a powerless run! Good luck!
Finally, Superstar gives you three side-games that while not as meaty as the main adventures, still serve to entertain! In Gourmet Race, you challenge King Dedede or a friend to eat the most food as you run through three courses. This can get almost as addictive as Mario Kart as you and a friend compete for the best times! Samurai Kirby is a reflex test game where Kirby and another character take turns trying to outdraw one another by hitting the button as soon as you are given the signal. Finally, Megaton Punch will test your concentration and hand-eye coordination. All three games offer two-player compatibility and a fun diversion for when you are ready to take a break from platforming.
Not to sound like a broken record, but HAL really knocked this one right out of the ballpark! A game is really the sum of its parts, and by that definition Kirby Superstar competes on Super Mario All-Stars level as the best bang for your buck on the system! It is simply one of the most delightful titles available. I will always remember the commercial for this game, which showed several children rolling around a hospital room suffering from TMK (Too Much Kirby) It speaks the truth!
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