The Legendary Starfy (universe)
The Legendary Starfy universe (伝説のスタフィー, The Legendary Starfy) is a "marine action" series with common elements of platforming developed by TOSE and published by Nintendo.
The series can be traced back to around 1995 when Nintendo producer Hitoshi Yamagami was tasked by his superiors to create a "floaty platformer" for Game Boy. He partnered with development studio Tose to work on the title for the next several years. The first idea was a balloon-lifting game, which morphed into controlling a bubble with a character inside, which itself morphed into a floating character. The game also adopted an underwater setting around this time, so several sea creatures were considered for the playable character, and the team settled on a starfish. The game also transitioned to Game Boy Color at some point, and this game was shown off at Space World 2000 as Densetsu no Starfy. Soon after this, development shifted again to the Game Boy Advance, where it finally released on September 6, 2002 as Densetsu no Stafy. The game is about Starfy, the prince of the underwater kingdom of Pufftop, who helps others in need and saves the day from the various enemies he encounters. The game stood out from its platforming contemporaries with its controls, as Starfy can freely swim through the water, unaffected by gravity, forcing the developers to be creative with the level design and puzzles.
The game received a positive reception and great sales for a game that has yet to be officially released outside of Japan. A release in China on the iQue Game Boy Advance was planned, but was cancelled. The team decided the best way to make a follow up was by using the same engine and most of the same assets for a quick turnaround. This is how the game received two sequels on Game Boy Advance alone: Densetsu no Stafy 2 in 2003, and Densetsu no Stafy 3 in 2004. The development of Densetsu no Stafy 4 took additional time for being the first in the series for the Nintendo DS and released in 2006, utilizing most of the unique features of the system. One of these features is the "Download Play", which was done with game stations across Japan where players can download the first stage of the game, titled Densetsu no Starfy 4: Trial Version.
The series stayed in Japan up until this point because Nintendo and Tose believed the series was "too Japanese," with imagery, writing and themes that might be difficult for a Western audience to understand. This decision was eventually reversed after the continuous success of the series and the meteoric rise of the DS convinced the team to give the next game a proper international release. This fifth game was Densetsu no Stafy: Taiketsu! Daīru Kaizokudan in 2008, which released in North America and Europe as The Legendary Starfy in 2009.
The series has arguably been most successful in the realm of merchandising. Many tie-in products were made for the series, including toys, plushes, stationary, food, remixed soundtrack CDs, and several manga adaptations. The franchise is so successful due to it fitting perfectly in to the "kawaii" culture in Japan, which reached an apex when the series was active. The series was also targeted at children, meaning there were many more opportunities to brand items that said children would want.
Starfy, the series' lead character, appears as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. When summoned, he will perform his trademark Star Spin attack, which can inflict up to 11% damage, but has no knockback properties. However, if Starfy takes a significant hit, he will explode and be knocked far away. If an opponent is in Starfy's trajectory when he is flying away, they will be temporarily stunned, and then sent reeling at the same angle with high knockback and damage.
Starfy and his sister Starly are available as collectable trophies. Note that Starfy and Starly are known by their Japanese names "Stafy" and "Stapy" throughout their trophies (in both the NTSC and PAL versions of Brawl), as a Starfy game had not yet been released outside of Japan when Brawl was released, and that Starfy/Stapy is oddly categorised as "Fighter Related", the only character from a universe with no playable character to be so.
Starfy returns as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. 4. He appears to be unchanged from his appearance in Brawl.
Starfy also appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
Starfy is the absentminded prince of the Pufftop Kingdom, and the hero of The Legendary Starfy. Is he a star? A starfish? His commitment to helping you when summoned is obvious, even if his species isn't. He'll use a Star Spin attack, which isn't all that powerful. It's the thought that counts!
The following characters from the series are spirits.
Games with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series