The Kirby universe (星のカービィ, Kirby of the Stars) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's Kirby series of multi-genre video games. It was developed by HAL Laboratory, Inc., the same company that started the Super Smash Bros. series, and it revolves around the titular spherical, pink entity Kirby and his adventures around his home planet, Popstar, among other planets. The series has had many games of several different genres, with side-scrolling platformers being the most prominent.
Masahiro Sakurai, working at HAL Laboratory as a game developer, developed an original side-scrolling platformer for the Game Boy, the working title of which was Twinkle Popopo, that he intended to be a comparatively simple game that could be played by beginning gamers. During development, the staff had not settled on a final design for the player-character "Popopo", and used a dummy placeholder sprite resembling a round blob with a simple face so that a more sophisticated image could be put in later. But the designers grew endeared to the round placeholder sprite and ended up using that as their design for "Popopo", who was renamed Kirby. Sakurai and Nintendo, meanwhile, agreed on a pinkscale color scheme for Kirby (though Shigeru Miyamoto had felt that Kirby should be yellow). The game was retitled Hoshi no Kirby (literally Kirby of the Stars) for its Japanese release, and Kirby's Dream Land for its Western release. The game was released in the West in August 1992 to modestly positive reviews which primarily focused some criticism on the particularly basic gameplay structure and short game-length, but the game was also a very large sales success and gave Nintendo the impetus to allow and encourage HAL Laboratory to develop sequels.
Kirby's Dream Land introduced several trademark elements present for the rest of the Kirby series, including Kirby's ability to inflate his spherical body to fly the full height of a stage, inhale enemies into his mouth, and effectively erase enemies out of existence within his own tiny body by swallowing. But the first Kirby sequel Sakurai developed, Kirby's Adventure for the NES, added a much more expansive variety and depth to the basic formula and design - in addition to giving Kirby more fluid movements such as dashing and sliding, it added a new dimension to the swallowing mechanic where Kirby would gain one of many available new powers and attack sets depending on the enemy swallowed, and Kirby could discard this "Copy Power" to adopt something else. It was released to widespread critical acclaim in early 1993 - nearly two years after the next-generation Super Nintendo launched - and is regarded as one of the best late-generation NES games. With a 6-megabit cartridge data capacity fueling highly advanced graphics and presentation, it is one of the largest games ever released for the NES - to put this into perspective, the original Mega Man for the NES famously occupies one megabit, or one eighth of a megabyte.
Kirby was established as one of Nintendo's long-running, recurring franchises, and became more-or-less one of HAL Laboratory's signature properties, with new releases coming out at a relatively regular rate and covering every one of Nintendo's consoles and handhelds at least once. Kirby games have made occasional forays into certain other genres besides platforming on two-dimensional planes, and while almost none of the Kirby follow-ups were as noteworthy-for-their-time as the first two games, most games in the series receive positive reception and achieve high sales. Like with other Nintendo franchises that had found mainstream success at the time, Kirby and his setting were among the initial wave of franchises featured from the beginning of Sakurai's other popular series, the Super Smash Bros. series of Nintendo-centered crossover fighting games. Sakurai expressed that for the original game and Melee, he aimed for a humble approach to representing his own franchise in relation to the other series in his fighting game, and cut out Kirby side-characters in favor of more-famous secondary characters representing other franchises. But starting with Brawl, Sakurai allowed more liberal representation of the Kirby series in the collective Smash Bros. roster.
In a given Kirby game that adheres to a traditional side-scrolling structure, Kirby is controlled by the player through levels that are less about reflex-demanding obstacles and linear point-A-to-point-B stage layout and more about using a variety of copied powers to defeat enemies without incurring damage. But following Kirby's Adventure, every "main" game features some kind of twist that governs the overall gameplay. Early examples include Kirby riding one of multiple animal companions in Kirby's Dream Land 2 and getting his current copy power modified by the animal being ridden; Kirby Super Star being presented as a "compilation package" where several level sets are presented as their own short "games" with their own rules and mechanics; and Kirby being able to combine any two basic enemy copy-abilities into one of several dozen advanced powers in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. The most recent original Kirby game is Kirby: Triple Deluxe for the 3DS in 2014. The series places a general emphasis on being comparatively easy and accessible to less experienced gamers, while also allowing content that appeals to advanced gamers.
The Kirby universe is set in a galaxy populated by highly abstract, colorful planets and lifeforms with a very simple and basic design aesthetic, and Kirby himself, an 8-inch-(20.3 cm)tall lifeform with almost no demonstrable speaking capacity, lives on Pop Star, a planet structured like a glowing yellow five-sided star. (The "Dream Land" mentioned in some titles and narratives is a kingdom on Pop Star.) Each game is typically a self-contained adventure with little carry-over between installments, not unlike the Super Mario series, though in comparison each Kirby game's narrative tends to be a little more involved. The recurring setup initially appears to be a parallel to the Mario/Bowser relationship, where Kirby has to go out on a quest to put a mischievous, troublemaking, self-styled "king" of Dream Land, Dedede, back in his place. (An alternate-universe Kirby anime series that ran for over 100 episodes adheres to this pattern fairly strictly.) But many of the games pit Kirby against some kind of greater menace and threat to Pop Star or the galaxy, revealed either from the outset or over the course of the game, and in addition to Dedede is another recurring character Kirby encounters that shifts between antagonist and ally, Meta Knight. Kirby's adventures regularly take him through not just Dream Land and Pop Star itself, but other planets.
In Super Smash Bros.
The Kirby franchise is represented as one of several "standard universes" found in Super Smash Bros., with one character, one stage, and two items. HAL Laboratory wanted to add King Dedede as a playable character alongside Kirby himself, but was removed for unkown reasons.
Super Smash Bros. features one Kirby-themed stage that is normally available, but hidden in the game's code is several other versions of the stage that must be hacked open to be played:
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
While Super Smash Bros. Melee features much more content than the original game, Kirby remains the sole representative of the franchise. New content includes two new stages with a third returning from Super Smash Bros., two new items, two returning items, and a set of Trophies.
Super Smash Bros. Melee features three Kirby-themed stages:
Kirby is the only universe in Melee to have three stages and yet not be related to the Mario series (which itself has four stages from the main series, while the Donkey Kong and Yoshi universes, while each having three stages, are considered sub-universes of Mario).
The Kirby universe features four separate items that can be used in battle in Melee:
Full Trophy List
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, even more Kirby content was added, including the addition of two more characters from the series.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the Kirby characters, joined by Olimar, occupy the fifth column. These characters have Gourmet Race playing when their dark forms are fought in The Great Maze.
All veterans of the Kirby series have returned for Super Smash Bros. 4.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. games generally adopt many aspects from other Kirby games, notably games released before Melee, due to the fact that both series are made and supervised under the same team.
Kirby's Dream Land
Kirby and King Dedede, both of whom made their debut in this game, are playable characters in the Super Smash Bros. games, Kirby having appeared in all four of the games. In addition, the character Whispy Woods, as well as the area known as Green Greens, also appear in the series. Whispy Woods, along with Kirby, was also featured in all three games, though he was in the background of the Dream Land and Green Greens stages. Other characters like Waddle Dee and King Dedede are trophies in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Kirby's Inhale and Star Spit attack originate from this game. Several of King Dedede's attacks originated from this game, such as his dash attack, side smash, Inhale, and Super Dedede Jump. Kirby's white costume and King Dedede's black costume are also based on how they appeared in this game. King Dedede's theme music is featured in Brawl. Other kinds of music from this game also appears.
Kirby's up taunt is the Kirby Dance, which originated from this game. His Victory poses are also variations of the Kirby Dance.
Kirby and King Dedede's Victory Themes are a cover of the "Stage Completed" music. Meta Knight's Victory Theme is also the same as Kirby and King Dedede's, but it is remixed and played in electric guitars. Kirby's Victory Poses are also a varation of the Kirby Dance.
The Fountain of Dreams is a stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and the Star Rod weapon from the end of the game appears as an item in all four games. Meta Knight, a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, first appeared in this game (although his Melee trophy erroneously states that he debuted in Kirby Super Star). It appears as a Masterpiece in Brawl, lasting two minutes. Kirby's blue costume comes from Ice and Freeze Kirby. In Melee, Kirby's dash attack comes from the 'Burning' ability (then called 'Fireball') from this game. Kirby's neutral special move and down special move, Inhale and Stone respectively, also originate from this game. One of Kirby's custom moves, Ice Breath, is a reference to Ice Kirby. Kirby's ability from copying Bowser or Charizard is a reference to the Fire ability. Additionally, when he copies R.O.B, he uses lasers: this is a reference to the Laser ability. Kirby's slide attack from Super Smash Bros. is based on his Slide Attack from this game, which has also become a stable move in the Kirby series. Kirby's back throw is based on the Backdrop ability. Also, Kirby's on screen appearance is a reference to his entrance in Kirby's Adventure, whenever a new game started or Kirby uses a Warp Star that takes him to another area of a level. The Butter Building track from the game was featured in Brawl. The Ice Cream Island theme also appears in SSB4. Finally, the Assist Trophy Nightmare originates from this game, being the game's Final Boss.
When Kirby inhales and copies Samus, he uses the Charge Shot with his hand and not an arm cannon. This is likely a reference to how Kirby used Copy Abilities in Kirby's Adventure, such as Beam and Laser, in which he used his hand rather than a wand/visor.
Kirby Super Star
There are many aspects in the Smash series that come from this game, as it is the most famous game in the Kirby series.
Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
Kirby's back throw is based on the Backdrop ability. Kirby's appearance from copying the Ice Climbers is a reference to Freeze Kirby. Additionally, his appearance from copying R.O.B is a reference to Laser Kirby.
Kirby Air Ride
Kirby Air Ride was a racing game for the Nintendo GameCube released in 2003. Produced by Hal Laboratories, the game is notable for including a multitude of mechanics from Melee, as well as mechanics that were later introduced in Brawl.
A lot of mechanics for the game are similar to Melee's as well, such as a star count to let the player know how many times he's destroyed another player's machine, similar to how there is a star counter to tell a player how many KOs he or she has gotten.
The sound effect heard when one selects something from the menu is a deeper version of Melee's sound effect for the same thing.
Players can unlock and choose colors for Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede, which is similar to the palette swaps from the Super Smash Bros. games.
In Brawl, Dragoon, one of the legendary machines in the game, appears as an item. Much like it was in this game, the player has to collect all 3 of Dragoon's parts before they are able to use it. In addition, the Cracker Launcher seems to be based off of the Fireworks item from this game. The songs for the racetracks 'Frozen Hillside' and 'Checker Knights' are in Brawl, as well as the track 'The Legendary Air Ride Machine', which plays after Kirby completes a Dragoon or a Hydra. All three songs play in the Halberd stage. Also, the Forest Stage theme appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, on Dream Land.
The Smash Run mode in SSB for 3DS is inspired by the City Trial mode from this game. Masahiro Sakurai, who directed both games, wanted to recreate the mode for Smash Bros. Additionally, the introduction music from Air Ride is heard in Rosalina's trailer during which Kirby is cruising on his Warp Star on Rainbow Road.
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
Master Hand and Crazy Hand appear as the final bosses in Candy Constellation. A solo Master Hand also appears occasionally as a mini-boss. When Kirby inhales a defeated Master Hand, he gains the Smash ability - a scaled-down version of Kirby's moveset from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Meta Knight's side special, Drill Rush, is based on the move of the same name when Kirby has the Master ability.
Fighter Kirby's Aerial Spin Kick is based on Kirby's forward aerial in the Super Smash Bros. series.
Kirby's appearances and abilities from copying Pit is a reference to Cupid Kirby.
Kirby's orange palette swap in SSB4 comes from the Orange Spray Paint in this game. In addition, Kirby's Dark Meta Knight palette swap is based on Dark Meta Knight from this game.
Kirby Super Star Ultra
Kirby's green palette swap is a reference to Plasma Kirby. King Dedede uses a mechanical hammer in this game, which is likely inspired by his Jet Hammer.
Kirby Mass Attack
The Superspicy Curry appears with the Brawl design.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land
The Super Ability Ultra Sword originates from this game. It is Kirby's final smash in Super Smash Bros. 4. Meta Knight's up special, Shuttle Loop, returns. In addition, King Dedede's down aerial move returns in this game as his ground attack. The themes The Adventure Begins and Through The Forest appear in SSB for Wii U, and is played on The Great Cave Offensive. The Lor Starcutter appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition
The Smash ability returns in one of the bonus challenge courses, and the Super Smash Bros. emblem can be seen in the background in a repeated pattern.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe
The Floral Fields and theme appears in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, on The Great Cave Offensive. The World to Win theme also appears and is played on Dreamland.
Kirby Fighters is a mode in this game, which entails 2-4 Kirbys fighting each other with a selected Copy Ability. Kirbys are able to shield, roll, sidestep, and air dodge in this game. The shield also has a life gauge and once depleted will break, leaving Kirby stunned and vulnerable, which is similar to shields in the Super Smash Bros. games. Kirbys can also "perfect shield," which means the oncoming attack will be blocked while the shield won't take any damage.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
The figurines in the game behave very similar to the trophies.
There exist stickers and trophies of enemies from an array of Kirby series games. Stickers use artwork for characters from Kirby: Squeak Squad to Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards.