Is it possible for anyone to not love Kirby? This little ball of joy has been with us since the NES, charming us with his cute design, lighthearted stories, and stress-free gameplay. Over the years, Kirby has become one of Nintendo’s most beloved characters, nearly as recognizable as Mario or Link. He’s quietly amassed a dedicated audience of fans through the decades and is one of the few franchises to go on for so long with such a strong track record of games. Sure, some modern gamers may look at his titles and think they’re just for kids, but the joy of a Kirby game is one that people of all ages can enjoy.
Whether he’s in his natural form or made of yarn, 2D or 3D, or in an open-world setting like in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Kirby has established a formula and tone for his games that make them reliably great. There are some more experimental titles in his mainline games, for better and for worse, but on the whole, there’s hardly any Kirby game you can pick up and not smile your way through from beginning to end. Looking at Kirby’s entire catalog of games is a little overwhelming, even when you cut out his spinoff titles, and deciding which are the best is even more difficult. Here’s our best attempt to go through all the best Kirby games and rank them from best to worst.
No offense to games like Kirby Air Ride or Kirby’s Dream Course, which are two fantastic games, but we’ve already got over a dozen games in the mainline series to rank, and we’d be here all day if we included spinoffs, so we’ll leave those for another day. We’ll also only count one version for each game if it was updated with a remake.