Mark’s Best Of Gaming is a series of articles detailing the absolute best games of all time, but not necessarily in any particular order or with any intention other than letting you know, if you haven’t played these, what even is your life. What even is. With that blurb out of the way, today, we’re talking about;
Kirby Super Star
I can’t believe it’s almost been 20 years at the time of writing this. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, as we take a look back at possibly one of the greatest 2D platformers ever concieved.
Kirby Super Star (also known as Kirby’s Fun Pak in Europe) holds a very special place in my heart, because it’s something I grew up with. Some of my earliest memories are of my little brother and I spending countless hours playing through the game over and over again together. It was the year 1996. That year, flip-phones were the latest in technology, Atlanta, Georgia was hosting the Summer Olympics, Jean Chrétien was Prime Minister of Canada, Fresh Prince of Bel Air was in it’s final season, and I was sitting in my pajamas, eating Frosted Flakes with an SNES controller in my hands.
“But Mark!” you inject, “Why are you claiming such an old game to be one of the best games of all time?”
Maybe my nostalgia goggles are on a little, but the fact is, I will never forget the feeling of playing this game.
From its sound, to its gameplay, to its bright and cheery art, it truly is rewarding to spend time with.
I’ll start by taking a firm look at the gameplay.
Kirby Super Star is split into 7 different “Sub-Games” which basically involve the same engine, but different little mini-stories. Quickly summarized, “Spring Breeze” is practically a 1 to 1 rip of Kirby’s Dream Land (Gameboy) and is your standard Kirby experience. Run, eat stuff, beat DeDeDe. “Dyna Blade” is a quick story about a land that’s being terrorized by a gigantic scary bird by which this sub-game is named. It’s fairly straight forward too. We then mix it up with “The Great Cave Offensive” and “Revenge of Meta Knight”. The former is a story where Kirby happens upon a cave in which he explores and recovers a hoard of 60 collectable treasures. Some of these are incredibly hard to obtain and the difficulty curve for 100% completion is much steeper than just a romp through it. In Revenge of Meta Knight, Dream Land is attacked by a warship known as the Halberd, piloted and captained by Meta Knight who is basically a Kirby antithesis. You must get to the Halberd and defeat Meta Knight in a duel before a timer runs out. It gets pretty tense near the end. Gourmet race is a quick game where you have a foot-race with King DeDeDe while trying to eat more food than him. It’s very grab-and-run and the music is pretty infamous. Next up is “Milky Way Wishes”. This game has a pretty dark plotline in which a new enemy “Marx” basically becomes an omnipotent being and long story short, you have to fight him in one of the most epic boss fights of all time.
After all the previous games are complete, “The Arena” is unlocked where you have to fight every single boss from all 7 sub games one after another.
Here’s a fun little side note about the bosses in this game.
Masahiro Sakurai, the director of this game, also directed the “Super Smash Bros” series, and would later go on to recycle a lot of the boss patterns from Kirby Super Star in them.
To top it all off, at almost any point in time, a player two can be added as a “Helper” by sacrificing Kirby’s current power to create a copy of the embodiment of that power. I want to make sure that I get across that this is VERY impressive. The entire game is solid as is, but when it suddenly becomes seemlessly multiplayer, with no sacrifice to story, gameplay, or performance that’s something that even today’s games have a lot of trouble pulling off.
It’s also because of this, that I have so many fond memories of this game. Playing together with my little brother, we laughed and fought and got really involved.
This game would actually go on to lay the groundwork for a lot of Sakurai’s later work. A big part of the reason why his games are so impactful is because of his philosophy on sound, which is what I’m going to talk about next.
The music in this game is fantastic. Ask anyone who knows anything about SNES games, and they’ll tell you that Kirby Super Star had some of the best music on the system. This is what most people will notice, but there’s actually something a little bit more subtle. The real detail work went into the actual sound effects themselves. Interacting with things in different ways will produce a plethora of charming sound effects. When Kirby’s lit on fire, it sounds like fire, when a bomb explodes, you hear a hugely impactful SNAP of the air igniting. Even just landing on different surfaces produced different sound effects, and while that may seem very commonplace and not very exciting, however, it is because of this that doing things feels as great as it does. In this game, everything reacts, and it makes you feel completely powerful. The sound in this game induces real feelings.
Kirby art and graphics have always been iredeemably uplifting, and Kirby Super Star is no exception. The adorable and infalliable Kirby comes across as some kind of innocent hero and he’s incredibly accessable and relatable as a character.
A remake was produced in 2008, and the original game is currently available on WiiU and Wii eshops. The original sold over 1.4 million copies globally and the remake has just about hit the 3 million copy mark, receiving great reviews and so basically the game is very well received and I’m not just a crazy guy writing an article all alone. Chances are, you know someone who greatly enjoys this game too. If you haven’t played it yet, please do so at your earliest convenience.
Nintendo tells me you can buy the DS remake on Amazon as well as the previously mentioned eShops if you have a modern Nintendo console.
I really love this game and play through it pretty much once a year to take a trip down memory lane. To sum it up, this game laid the foundation for a lot of future awesomeness from Nintendo, and is pretty much just a very solid title, so please, I could go on for a million years about the game, so before I do that, just play it.