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 pink scale 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 the 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 Star Allies, released for the Nintendo Switch in 2018. 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 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 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 Popstar itself, but other planets.
With ten games in the Kirby franchise being released before Smash 64, this game chooses to focus on the three games directed by the creator Masahiro Sakurai, being Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, and Kirby Super Star. The Kirby franchise is represented as one of several "standard universes" found in Smash 64, with one character, one stage, and two items.
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, 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.
Mii Fighter hats
Main article: Items
Bold italics denotes an Assist Trophy new to the Smash Bros. series.
Main article: Enemies
Enemies that appear in both Smash Run in the 3DS version and Smash Tour in the Wii U version.
Enemies exclusive to the 3DS version. They appear in Smash Run.
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Kirby series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash Bros. titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from the Kirby series with no alterations.
"Opening" from Kirby Air Ride was used in "Comet Observatory", the reveal trailer for Rosalina & Luma. It does not appear in the final games.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Kirby series)
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
All veterans from the Kirby series have returned for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
returns as a starter fighter.
All Kirby stages from previous games return.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
The 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.
Main article: Kirby's Dream Land
Main article: Kirby's Adventure
Main article: Kirby Super Star
There are many aspects in the Smash Bros. series that come from this game, as it is the most famous game in the Kirby series.
Kirby Air Ride was a racing game for the Nintendo GameCube released in 2003. Produced by HAL Laboratory, the game is notable for including a multitude of mechanics from Melee, as well as mechanics that were later introduced in Brawl.
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