5. Kirby's Return to Dream Land (Wii, 2011)
This is the first traditional Kirby 2.5D sidescroller that graced the Wii console, bringing with it the familiar ability to swallow enemies and gain their powers. However, it stands out from other games since it allows up to four players to run through the main campaign together. Of course, you can play as Kirby, but the other playable characters are Bandana Waddle Dee, King Dedede, and Meta Knight.
This game really leans into the multiplayer aspect by allowing players to stack on top of each other to reach things while the person at the bottom controls where they all go. It brings back the vibrant level design Kirby is famous for and gives players something fun to do with friends. The biggest complaint is that it is too easy, especially when playing in multiplayer.
4. Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS, 2016)
What's better than Kirby using Copy Abilities? Kirby using Copy Abilities in a mech suit, obviously. In Planet Robobot, invaders are terrorizing Kirby's home and it's up to him to put a stop to them. Looking like a Gundam gumball, Kirby can scan enemies and change his mech suit into different shapes with different powers while running through this story.
This title breaks away from the usual Kirby gameplay while still offering the fun sidescrolling platformer that fans have come to expect. It was received very well at launch and brought a fresh take to the Kirby formula that still resonates with fans.
3. Kirby's Adventure (NES, 1993)
Kirby's Adventure is the first Kirby game to debut on home consoles and the first time players had the opportunity to witness this iconic pink mascot in his true colorful glory. Expanding on the powerups and scope of Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure is a tremendously strong entry that influenced 2D platformers for generations to come.
With right side-scrolling gameplay, endlessly satisfying copy abilities, and an assortment of grin-inducing sub-games like Crane Fever, Kirby's Adventure is confidently one of the most cherished titles on the NES. While not nearly as transformative as the title that came before it, the enhanced visuals, music, and gameplay set a strong foundation for the future of Kirby titles on consoles.
2. Kirby Dream Land (GB, 1992)
Now it's time to show some love to the game that started it all, Kirby's Dream Land. This wholly unique platformer launched on Game Boy back in 1992 and completely shifted expectations of what a 2D platformer could be. Pitfall hazards popularized by titles like Super Mario Bros. are no longer the primary concern as our titular hero harnesses the unique power of limited flight. But what really sets Kirby apart is his distinctive ability to steal the power of his enemies.
There was nothing like Kirby's Dream Land at the time, and there's still nothing quite like it now. We could draw some parallels between Kirby and other iconic platformers like Mega Man but still, the unique flow of action combat and soothing platforming make Kirby's first outing such a special title for so many players. While it might not be the best entry on our list, it's hard not to recognize the significance of Kirby's Dream Land. It spawned a franchise and has had multiple remakes on various consoles since it first released.
1. Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch, 2022)
It's not often that the latest game in a series is able to surpass its predecessors, but that was accomplished in Kirby and the Forgotten Land since the developers chose to finally bring Kirby out from the classic-yet restrictive 2.5D sidescroller and into a more 3D exploration style.
The visuals are lovely and while the plot isn't the most intense thing in the world, the gameplay itself is what really engages players. Plus, those silly new Mouthful Modes —which require Kirby to wrap himself over various objects in the overworld to gain new powers — not only create new ways to solve puzzles, but also make for some hilarious moments. Plus, the sheer number of Kirby memes that exploded across the internet show just how memorable Mouthful Mode is.
You can also play the main campaign with a buddy in multiplayer co-op. While skills between Player 1's Kirby and Player 2's Bandana Waddle Dee aren't exactly the same, Player 2 can take on enemies by themselves and can collect items on their own. There's also a lot of replay value since there are hidden things to locate in each level and since upgrading Kirby's Copy Abilities can make them faster, more effective, or farther reaching. It's by far Kirby's most fun adventure yet.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.