Kirby has been a beloved franchise ever since its first title, Kirby’s Dream Land, released all the way back on April 27, 1992. It’s not hard to see why, as the puzzle-platformer genre is one that’s always been incredibly popular. Throw in an adorable mascot like Kirby, who has the ability to suck up enemies and absorb their powers to use for himself, and the series has a grip-like feel that can be hard to let go of.
It’s stated that Kirby games are designed to be simple, so those without any prior experience surrounding action games can still pick up the titles. At the same time, there’s a lot of depth to be found for more experienced players. Not every Kirby game is created equally, however; some receive negative reception. IGN’s review scores reveal which Kirby games fall to the bottom of the barrel.
10 Kirby And The Forgotten Land For The Nintendo Switch (8/10)
Kirby And The Forgotten Land released for the Nintendo Switch on March 25, 2022, making it an incredibly recent title. This title takes everything fans love about Kirby, and attempts to reinvent it in a fresh, new way — along with a new 3D environment rather than the usual 2D.
Kirby And The Forgotten Land also introduces Mouthful powers, which are objects that fit (mostly) in Kirby’s mouth and grant him special powers — without transforming him entirely. It’s not a bad title by any means, but it simply doesn’t rank as high as some of the best.
9 Kirby And The Rainbow Curse For The Wii U (8/10)
Kirby And The Rainbow Curse is a Wii U title that first released on February 20, 2015. Immediately, this game is held back by its status as a Wii U title, one of Nintendo’s least popular consoles to date. The game’s dependence on touch controls makes it feel like an odd choice for the Wii U.
The original — Kirby: Canvas Curse — was a Nintendo DS title, where touch-screen utilization makes more sense. Kirby And The Rainbow Curse is noted to be a fun game overall, but the choice of console is what really holds this one back.
8 Kirby Squeak Squad For The Nintendo DS (7.8/10)
Kirby Squeak Squad released for the Nintendo DS on December 4, 2006, and was later brought to the Wii U, as well. The plot is rather basic, with Kirby’s delectable-looking strawberry cake being stolen, setting the puffball off on a course to get it back.
If all players are looking for is a rush-to-the-end experience, Squeak Squad can be completed in just a few hours. The real fun comes from collecting chests that are hidden throughout the world in order to fully “complete” each stage.
7 Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards For The Nintendo 64 (7.5/10)
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards fittingly made its way to Nintendo 64 consoles on June 26, 2000. It was the last time Kirby made an appearance on home consoles for over a decade, as the eras that followed were marked by handheld, on-the-go consoles instead.
Kirby 64 takes the typical enemy-swallowing, power-gaining formula, and adds a bit of extra depth to it — allowing players to mix-and-match abilities to create even more powerful attacks. This approach falls a bit flat, however, as they all end up feeling like the same abilities used for a quick boost of power, rather than each being unique.
6 Kirby’s Return To Dream Land For The Wii (7.5/10)
Kirby’s Return To Dream Land released for the Nintendo Wii on October 24, 2011. This title abandoned many of the gimmicks that were added to previous titles, and instead opted for a by-the-book, back-to-basics Kirby experience.
Return To Dream Land managed to provide this classic Kirby experience quite well, but it fell a bit flat in the gameplay department. While Return To Dream Land offered a total of six worlds for players to traverse, the first five worlds were noted fans to be exceptionally easy.
5 Kirby’s Dream Course For The Super NES (7.5/10)
Kirby’s Dream Course is one of the older Kirby titles of the bunch, having released all the way back on February 1, 1995. The game would receive ports later on for both the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Wii U, as well.
Kirby’s Dream Course itself is relatively simple. It’s essentially not much more than a miniature golf game with a Kirby theme added to it. What sets Kirby’s Dream Course apart is that Kirby is used as the actual golf ball itself. However, there are still several unique functions players will need to control after they take their shot.
4 Kirby’s Avalanche For The Super NES (7.5/10)
Kirby’s Avalanche is another Super NES title for the Kirby franchise that released on April 25, 1995. It’s essentially a duplicate of the title Puyo Puyo, a competitive “falling block” puzzle game that can be best compared to Tetris for American audiences.
Of course, the entire game is covered in Kirby branding, so Kirby’s Avalanche technically is still considered a Kirby game. The game can be played with two players, but two classic Super NES controllers are required in order for the players to do so.
3 Kirby’s Dream Land 3 For The Super NES (7/10)
Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is yet another Super NES title, first released on November 1, 1997. This particular game is immediately held back by the fact that it was first released on the NES after the Nintendo 64 had already debuted — meaning many potential fans never gave this game a chance.
In addition to the typical Kirby powers that are expected in each title, Kirby also has furry animal friends that he can team up with for an extra boost. Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is a rather enjoyable Kirby adventure, it was simply held back by the timing and circumstances surrounding its release.
2 Kirby: Triple Deluxe For The Nintendo 3DS (6/10)
Kirby: Triple Deluxe first released for the Nintendo 3DS on May 2, 2014. It expands on some long-running ideas of the franchise, while also providing incredibly colorful visuals and a catchy soundtrack to go along with the adventure.
The main reason Kirby: Triple Deluxe receives such a low score is that, for many, it simply feels too easy. With so many powers at Kirby’s disposal, the ability for players to get their hands on one that makes the game feel trivial is far too easy.
1 Kirby Air Ride For The GameCube (5.2/10)
Kirby Air Ride released for the GameCube on October 13, 2003. It’s incredibly similar in style to the beloved kart racer, Mario Kart, but ends up falling flat in most areas. The thing that holds this game back the most is how simplistic its gameplay is designed.
Now, Kirby games have always been designed with simplicity in mind, but Kirby Air Ride takes things to an entirely different level by being fully controllable with only a single button. This style of play was supposed to make it simple enough for anyone to jump in, but this decision ends up hurting the title more than it helps.