The Kirby universe 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: Return to Dream Land for the Wii in late 2011. 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 memory limitations caused his removal.
- Kirby: Kirby is a small, pink, spherical creature with a positive disposition and several abilities and powers that are almost magical in nature. In the games and anime, he is the main protagonist and is characterized as a baby (as mentioned in the anime) and being roughly eight inches in height; his dimensions are obviously increased in size for his appearances in the Smash Bros. series of games. He resides on a star-shaped planet named Popstar in the galaxy of Dream Land, and whenever some form of evil or danger threatens Dream Land, Kirby does not hesitate to go out on a journey to defeat it. Kirby in his Smash appearance demonstrates his ability to float through the air, as well as his trademark power to inhale opponents and copy and use their special moves as his own special moves. His up special and down special moves resemble powers he gains when he inhales enemies in his games. He is a high-tier character in the original Smash Bros with his devastating recovery and combo ability being 2nd on the tier list only below Pikachu.
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:
- Dream Land: This stage is a small area of colorful grassland where a common boss in Kirby games, an air-spouting tree called Whispy Woods, resides in the background and slowly blows fighters off to one side of the stage from time to time.
- Tutorial Stage 64: Seen in the How to Play segment of the game, this environment is Dream Land with all the tree-background and the top and right platforms removed.
- Kirby Beta Stage 1: An early form of the above stage. For unknown reasons, it remains in the code of the game as a separate level, and includes an original tree graphic in the background seen nowhere else.
- Kirby Beta Stage 2: A modification of Beta Stage 1 that is wider and includes a lot of odd objects and features used by the developers to test game physics.
- Maxim Tomato: One of the powerups Kirby often collects to replenish depleted health in Kirby games is this tomato-like item which restores Kirby to full health. It is normally harder to find than the other, less-effective health-replenishers. In Smash, the Maxim Tomato, perhaps contrary to its name, restores the health of the character who picks it up by 100 % rather than restoring all accumulated damage which the Heart Container from the Zelda series can do. It is still a powerful healing item, however.
- Star Rod: A central plot element to Kirby's Adventure is this powerful artifact, which when inserted into the Fountain of Dreams ensure peace and good dreams for Dream Land and its denizens, and Kirby must use it to combat Nightmare in the final battle. In both that game and the Smash Bros. series, the Star Rod can be used as a bludgeoning weapon, and can also launch a star as a projectile when swung with force.
- 10: This "track" made its first SSB appearance in Super Smash Bros.. It is a fast-paced remix of the music featured in "Gourmet Race" in Kirby Super Star for the SNES. It is heard on Dream Land. Both the music and the stage were reused in Melee.
- 20: The victory fanfare of Dream Land in a orchestration of the shortened "Stage Complete" theme heard in Kirby games when a level is completed.
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.
- Kirby: Kirby is still the only playable Kirby series character. Kirby returns swinging a hammer (a power he can absorb in Kirby games from a simian enemy called Bonkers) as his new side special move; however, due to a combination of minor alterations to Kirby's design and the redesigned Melee gameplay engine, Kirby suddenly becomes the worst character in the game, ranked 26th.
Super Smash Bros. Melee features three Kirby-themed stages:
- Dream Land: Green Greens: This stage is thematically similar to the Dream Land stage, with Wispy Woods blowing toward either end of the stage, but the layout is rather different, consisting of the ground being divided up in three by two sets of building blocks that fall from the sky to build up walls that can be broken. Some of these boxes are explosive in nature.
- Dream Land: Fountain of Dreams: A stage with a layout similar to Battlefield, this is the Fountain of Dreams that safeguards the Dream Land galaxy so long as the Star Rod is inserted into the fountain's shaft. The dreamy music heard here was reused in Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land when Kirby battles King Dedede at this location.
- Past Stages: Dream Land 64: This is the original Dream Land stage from Super Smash Bros., returning in Melee totally unaltered.
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 All-Star Teleporter also borrows many elements from the Kirby series, such as the background music, but is still a part of the Smash Bros. universe.
The Kirby universe features four separate items that can be used in battle in Melee:
- Maxim Tomato: Returns from Super Smash Bros. unchanged in function, but its healing power has been nerfed down to only 50% damage.
- Parasol: A new item which often manifests as a copyable power for Kirby in his games, allowing him to attack enemies and also float down to earth slowly. In Melee, this can be used as a bludgeoning weapon, but this item's peculiar nature is revealed when the character holding it jumps up and falls down; the parasol opens up and the character floats down to earth slowly, like Peach's up special move move, though the Parasol doesn't damage while opened.
- Star Rod: Returns from Super Smash Bros. essentially unaltered.
- Warp Star: A new item which is essentially Kirby's mode of long-distance transportation in his games. This is one of the most destructive items in Melee; when picked up, the character will ride and hover on it for a moment, launch straight up, and crash back down with lightning speed and explosive force, dealing major damage and knockback to opponents in the area of the landing zone. Warp Stars in flight can be steered either left or right to a limited degree before crashing down.
- 11: Fountain of Dreams: An orchestrated, atmospheric version of "Gourmet Race" from Kirby Super Star. This music was later reused in the boss fight at Fountain of Dreams in Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland.
- 12: Green Greens: An orchestration of Level 1: Green Greens stage music from Kirby's Dreamland, heard in Green Greens.
- 29: Dream Land N64: The music for the Dream Land stage in Super Smash Bros., which is also a re-recording of the main "Gourmet Race" theme, is brought back unaltered along with the stage itself as Past Stages: Dream Land.
- 43: Kirby's Victory: The victory fanfare of Kirby is an orchestration of the shortened "Stage Complete" theme heard in Kirby games.
- 60: All-Star Intro: Remix of quiet music heard in Kirby Super Star for SNES, heard at the All-Star Teleporter.
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.
- Kirby: The pink puff reappears to reprise his role and traits from Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee as a small character who can float in the air with a long series of multiple jumps, with his Final Cutter and Hammer intact. Like other returning characters, Kirby is given a Final Smash attack called Cook Kirby, which appears to consist of dunking his opponent into a boiling pot, and then spitting them out. When they come out of the pot, random items appear.
- Meta Knight: A sensational new character addition, Meta Knight is a masked-swordsman character ostensibly of the same species as Kirby, but with a dark blue body, thumbs, and facial features in white that can be seen whenever he takes his mask off. Meta Knight's roles in his various appearances in Kirby games and the anime have ranged from ally to villain. In his appearance in Brawl, his cape transforms into wings which he uses to float in midair much like Kirby and Jigglypuff, and he demonstrate a new gliding ability. Meta Knight is sometimes considered "broken" (no big disadvantages or weaknesses) by the competitive Smash community and is 1st on the current Tier List.
- King Dedede: The first main foe Kirby ever faced, King Dedede has appeared in all but one game since Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy (that being Amazing Mirror). In his Brawl debut he is considered a heavy character like Bowser and Donkey Kong. He brings several qualities he had in the Kirby platforming games with him, such as his Super Dedede Jump, and some of his various servants in the form of the Waddle Dee Toss. He also brings his hammer with him and uses it in regular combat, but it has also been upgraded to have machine-like qualities, as evidenced by the Jet Hammer move. He can Inhale just like Kirby, but can't copy enemies' abilities. His grab game in particular is fast and powerful, and his recovery is decent.
- Knuckle Joe: Hailing from Kirby Super Star, and also a minor character in the Kirby anime, Knuckle Joe makes an appearance as an Assist Trophy in Brawl. When summoned, he hits the nearest opponent with a barrage of attacks, then randomly ends the attack with one of two finishing moves. These two moves are either Smash Punch which sends the opponent flying to the side or Rising Break which sends the opponent upward.
- Halberd: The Halberd has been seen in several incarnations throughout the Kirby franchise; it is where the portion of Kirby Super Star concerning Meta Knight's villainous role takes place. The stage starts off in a hangar located on the high seas, and as the match goes on the warehouse opens up, the Halberd takes off into the air along with the platform the players fight upon, and the Halberd flies around the backdrop of the now-floating stage. During the fight, the platform will land on the ship itself, which draws heavy fire from nearby cannons.
- Green Greens: A returning stage from Melee. The bombs now have more knockback.
- Maxim Tomato: A returning item which still recovers 50% of damage.
- Star Rod: A returning item which function is relatively unchanged.
- Warp Star: A returning item which does the same thing it did in Melee.
- Superspicy Curry: An item that made its first (and until Brawl, only) appearance in the original Kirby's Dream Land for the Game Boy, which temporarily gave Kirby the ability to spew fire. It has a similar - though not really the same - function in Brawl, igniting the user in flames and allowing them to cause fire damage to anyone they touch.
- Dragoon: The legendary air machine from Kirby Air Ride that makes its first appearance in Brawl, Dragoon is actually three separate items that one must obtain in order to use its power. When all three pieces are obtained, the user that obtains them can ride the machine and attack opponents by locking on - the knockback from the Dragoon is so great that it is almost always a One-hit KO.
See List of SSBB Music (Kirby series).
- Meta Knight's Revenge - A jazz remix/medley of the different music tracks from the "Revenge of Meta Knight" segment of Kirby Super Star. It is the theme of the Halberd stage. This song is also played during Meta Knight's Classic Mode credits.
- Legendary Air Ride Machine - A redone version of the theme played in Kirby's Air Ride when one has successfully completed either the Dragoon or Hydra. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Gourmet Race - This is a heavy metal remix of song played in the first & third rounds of the Gourmet Race mini-game from Kirby Super Star, with a few parts of the them being second round theme. The theme has been featured in most Kirby games since Kirby Super Star, as well as in both previous Super Smash Bros. games. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Butter Building - A techno styled medley of various Kirby themes, including the Butter Building level theme from Kirby's Adventure and the Kirby's Dream Land theme. It is used on the Halberd stage. This song is also played during Kirby's Classic Mode credits.
- King Dedede's Theme - A song featured in most Kirby games when Kirby battles King Dedede, including the series' first game, Kirby's Dream Land. This song is completely redone. It is used on the Halberd stage. This song is also played during King Dedede's Classic Mode credits.
- Squeak Squad Theme - A remix from the DS title Kirby Squeak Squad, this was the song used when battling the members of the Squeak Squad. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Vs. Marx - An epic sounding remix of both the Vs. Marx theme from the Milky Way Wishes segment of Kirby Super Star as well as the song played during the scene right after defeating Marx. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- 0² Battle - A complete remix of the final boss theme from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Boss Theme Medley - Featuring many songs from the entire series, this is a medley of many different boss battle themes from across the Kirby series. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Checker Knights - Taken directly from Kirby's Air Ride, this was the song played on the Checker Knights track, as well during various minigames. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Forest/Nature Area - Taken directly from the Game Boy Advance game Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, this was the song of the Forest & Nature area of the maze. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Frozen Hillside - Another song taken directly from Kirby's Air Ride, this was the music track played on the Frozen Hillside racetrack. It is used on the Halberd stage.
- Green Greens (Melee) - Taken directly from Melee. It is used on the Green Greens stage.
- Fountain of Dreams (Melee) - Taken directly from Melee. It is used on the Green Greens stage.
- Kirby and King Dedede's victory theme - A whimsical orchestration of the shortened "Stage Complete" theme heard in general Kirby games.
- Meta Knight's victory theme - A "rock remix" of Kirby's victory theme.
- Kirby (Kirby & The Amazing Mirror)
- Kirby (Kirby 64)
- Kirby (Kirby Air Ride)
- Cook Kirby
- Cupid Kirby
- Needle Kirby
- Big Switch
- Box Boxer
- Bronto Burt
- Cell Phone
- Chef Kawasaki
- Dyna Blade
- Hot Head
- King Dedede & Kirby
- King Dedede (Kirby: Squeak Squad)
- Kind Dedede (Kirby Super Star)
- Maxim Tomato
- Meta Knight
- Meta Knight Ball
- Starman (Kirby: Squeak Squad)
- Treasure Chest
- Waddle Dee
- Waddle Dee Ball
- Whispy Woods
- Kirby: Kirby is confirmed to be a playable character in the upcoming game, Super Smash Bros. 4. He now appears to be a bit more brighter than the previous games.
- King Dedede: King Dedede is now confirmed for the new game. He now has a more cartoonish look.
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 three 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 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.
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 three 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. The Butter Building track from the game was featured in Brawl.
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.
- The music played in Save Rooms was remixed for Super Smash Bros. Melee's All-Star Mode, which is similar to The Arena. Also, one of the Gourmet Race songs, as well as the Green Greens theme, is used for Kirby's levels in the Smash Bros. series, either in original and orchestrated versions.
- Also, the final boss of the Great Cave Offensive, Wham Bam Rock, uses a stone hand to attack Kirby. The hand's patterns may be the inspiration for Master Hand and Crazy Hand. In the game's remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra, a crystalline version of Wham Bam Rock called Wham Bam Jewel appears, with some new additional moves, likely inspired by Master Hand's moves.
- Kirby's Final Smash is derived from the Cook ability, which originated in this game.
- Several people have compared The Subspace Emissary of Super Smash Bros. Brawl to being similar to Kirby Super Star. One of the most obvious similarities is the camera's focus on the first player and the ability for the second player to teleport to the first either at will or if they end up too far off screen.
- It is believed that the combat mechanics of Super Smash Bros. are based off that of Kirby Super Star.
- Several songs originated from this game, such as Meta Knight's Revenge and Vs. Marx.
- This game was directed by Masahiro Sakurai, which explains many of the design and gameplay similarities to the Super Smash Bros. series. In many ways, Kirby Super Star may be considered a prototypical Smash.
- Tabuu, the final boss of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emmisary mode, has a similar fighting style to Marx, having a few similar move and both having generally very predictable, but very powerful attacks. Brawl also has a song (Vs. Marx) associated with him.
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.
The tracks that play in Melee's Green Greens and Fountain of Dreams play in Kirby Air Ride, with slight modifications.
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 a similar item in 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.
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.
In Brawl, the music Forest / Nature Area plays on Halberd and is the only GBA music to be unchanged. In addition, the Golem enemy appears as a trophy.
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.
- It seems that the characters in the Kirby series makes a bigger difference in the story of the Subspace Emissary than most of the other characters in Brawl. For example, Kirby is the one who instantly destroys the Subspace Gunship. The Subspace Army stole Meta Knight's ship, which is heavily used throughout the story. Also, King Dedede is the one who revives trophified characters with his brooches.
- In Brawl, the Kirby series has the highest average tier ranking of any series with more than one character.
- A large amount of mechanics present in the Super Smash Bros. series come from Kirby such as the system of dash attacks, grabs, aerials, and even glancing blows.