Kirby’s Adventure is not only one of my favourite NES games, but also the Kirby game I adore the most. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993 and is the second game in the Kirby series. Kirby’s Adventure upholds most of the elements introduced in Kirby’s Dream Land, however, it adds quite a bit that scales the adventure to new heights.
Much like Kirby’s Dream Land, Kirby’s Adventure tells a simple story of trouble in Dream Land. This time, however, King Dedede isn’t after their food. Kirby and fellow Dream Land residents wake to find that none of them had a dream the night before. Kirby suspects that something is wrong at the Dream Spring and sets out to investigate. Upon arriving, Kirby discovers King Dedede bathing in the spring. King Dedede tells Kirby that he broke the Star Rod into seven pieces and gave them to seven of his friends. Kirby is furious with King Dedede’s actions and takes it upon himself to restore the Star Rod. Kirby doesn’t know it, but something much more sinister is waiting.
Kirby’s main form of attack is linked to his ability to inhale enemies. Once inhaled, Kirby can then spit them out as a projectile attack, but this time around Kirby can also steal abilities from select foes. While said select enemy is inside Kirby’s stomach, you can copy their ability by pressing down. Before moving on to the copy abilities, let me talk about controlling Kirby. He can be moved left and right with the D-Pad, jump with A(1) and inhale with B(2). These moves are easy to pull off making Kirby a joy to control. He has a few other manoeuvers like the ability to fly by pressing Up after jumping, his slide attack, performed by pressing down then A, and his dashing ability which can be performed by tapping twice in the same direction. Kirby is quite quick which makes him even more fun to control.
As for abilities, after copying one from an enemy, it can be activated by pressing B. There are a large number of abilities that Kirby can obtain, and you will be constantly surprised by the way each one changes the gameplay. Some of my favourites are the Sword, Tornado, and Hi-Jump abilities; Kirby gains the ability to wield a sword, transform into a destructive Tornado, and the ability to jump extremely high, respectively. This innovative mechanic adds a lot of variety to the core (and simplistic) gameplay, which is why Kirby’s Adventure remains one of the most fun NES games today.
Though the copy ability is awesome, it isn’t the only addition in Kirby’s Adventure. Hub worlds were also added to the second Kirby game. Each hub world (there are seven) is filled with doors that lead to normal levels, museums, and even mini-games. Every world is represented by one of these hubs with the option available to travel forward and back as you please. There are also plenty of secret areas to find in each world. These areas can be revealed by hitting special switches hidden in certain levels. As you beat levels and find secrets, your progress can also be saved to the cartridge, a feature not seen in a lot of NES games.
Level design in Kirby’s Adventure is also top notch. Just off the top of my head I can think of a level that is designed to encourage the Wheel ability. It features lots of slopes which allow you to easily speed your way through the level. Some bosses are even designed to accommodate certain abilities, Kracko and the high jump ability, which is a great example of intelligent design.
Levels are also jam packed with secrets that can be found by smashing blocks to find hidden doors, 1UPs, Maxim Tomatoes, etc. Kirby’s Adventure also features a wide variety of mid-level bosses, which are usually just bigger versions of regular foes, but with new abilities and a more challenging pattern. I really like the level design in Kirby’s Adventure and feel that they are some of the best in the series.
I briefly mentioned museums and mini-games above. As you complete levels in Kirby’s Adventure, special doors will open up that lead to these portions of the game. They are in no way necessary to complete the game, but they allow you to take a break away from the main game. Museums allow you to choose certain abilities at will, so if you have a favourite, you can take that ability into any level. One of the mini-games in question is called Crane Fever; the objective is to try and grab Kirby plushies to gain 1Ups. Something I didn’t previously mention is the Arena. Arena has become a staple in the Kirby series and allows you to fight against mid-level bosses from the game. This is sometimes helpful as defeating a certain mid-level boss is the only way to get the hammer ability. In addition to all this content, there is even more to unlock by beating the game. One certain staple is the Extra Game which is unlocked by beating the game with 100% complete file.
In addition to great gameplay, Kirby’s Adventure is also a fantastic looking game. It could go toe-to-toe with any NES game in the graphics department and probably win. Sprites are tinier than some games, but well designed with a good level of detail. Backgrounds in Kirby’s Adventure are extremely colorful and highlight Pop Star’s wondrous, charming atmosphere. One significant feature that stands out in Kirby’s Adventure is parallax scrolling. Parallax scrolling is used brilliantly in tower levels to make it seem like you are travelling around a spiraling walkway. It’s a small feature, but an effective one that leaves a lasting impression.
Lastly, but certainly not least, Kirby’s Adventure has an amazing soundtrack. Most of the tracks match the game’s cutesy charm, but can get tenser if the situation calls for a different mood. Again, Kirby’s Adventure could be compared to some of the great NES soundtracks without missing a beat; Hirokazu Ando and Jun Ishikawa deserve praise for their chiptune mastery.
5/5 D-Pads: Kirby’s Adventure really embraces the adventure tagline. It expands on every concept from the original game and adds a ton of new features as well. Also, Kirby’s true color was revealed for the first time in this game, and while pink may seem girly, it doesn’t make Kirby any less of a warrior. Kirby’s Adventure is technically impressive in both its soundtrack and visual style and features some of best gameplay on the NES. Sure, it’s easy and can be completed in a few hours, but the adventure is one that will be remembered for a long time.