Logo of Kirby.
|Genre(s)||Platform, puzzle, racing|
|Platform(s)||Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Nintendo Switch|
|Platform of origin||Game Boy|
|Year of inception||1992|
|First installment||Kirby's Dream Land (1992)|
|Latest installment||Kirby and the Forgotten Land (2022)|
The Kirby (カービー) universe refers to the Super Smash Flash series' collection of characters, stages, items, 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, Pop Star, among other planets. The series has had many games of several different genres, with side-scrolling platformers being the most prominent.
Masahiro Sakurai, who would later become the designer and director of the Super Smash Bros. series, was designing a Game Boy platformer originally titled Twinkle Popopo, and it originally had a different main character design. Sakurai created a blob placeholder sprite for the character during development, and after a while he liked the placeholder sprite better as a main character design, so the character was named "Kirby" (either after the Kirby Corporation, a vacuum cleaner company, or Nintendo's legal counsel John Kirby, who saved Nintendo from an infringement lawsuit involving the name Donkey Kong and its similarity to the name King Kong). The game's title was Kirby's Dream Land, and involves Kirby who must retrieve the stolen food from the greedy King Dedede and his minions. After the game's release in 1992, Kirby and his fictional world and related properties became a mainstream video game franchise for Nintendo in the years to come.
Kirby's next appearance was in the critically lauded Kirby's Adventure for NES, which introduced his ability to inhale enemies, swallow or spit them out, and gain abilities from the enemies he swallowed; this became a Kirby trademark present in most subsequent games. It also introduced a rival figure to Kirby named Meta Knight. Alongside two more entries in the Kirby's Dream Land series, as well as various golf, puzzle, and pinball spinoffs, was 1996's Kirby Super Star for SNES. Then, aside from Kirby's appearance in 1999's Super Smash Bros. (developed by the same company as the Kirby games, HAL Laboratory), the franchise underwent a bit of a hiatus on the international side of things until 2000's Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. After Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble for Game Boy Color afterward, Kirby properties reprised their roles in 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee.
In 2001 an anime series based on the Kirby franchise was produced and aired in Japan until 2003 and finished airing stateside in 2006. This series, simply titled Hoshi no Kābī (星のカービィ) and localized as Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, is considered an alternate universe because it does not take place in the same canonical continuity of the video games. Through 100 episodes, the show depicts a Kirby series antagonist, the sorcerer-like Nightmare, attempting to take over the Kirby universe with his demon-like army and company titled Nightmare Enterprises, and the "main" series antagonist King Dedede and his flunky Escargon are tricked by Nightmare to defeat Kirby, a Star Warrior. Kirby is the only remaining member of the group except for Meta Knight. Featuring characters seen throughout the game series, the show ends with Kirby's final battle with Nightmare..
The Kirby franchise continued its stream of releases at a seemingly annual rate with 2002's Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land for Game Boy Advance, which was an enhanced remake of Kirby's Adventure. In 2003, the racing game Kirby Air Ride released for GameCube, which featured a menu interface and musical score remarkably similar to those of Melee due to this being the final Kirby game where series creator Masahiro Sakurai was involved in the development. In 2004, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror was the second and last Kirby game released on GBA. On a side note, a co-op Kirby platformer for GameCube (properly codenamed Kirby GCN) was planned for a 2005 release but was eventually cancelled. The following Kirby titles were released for the Nintendo DS, starting with 2005's Kirby: Canvas Curse, then 2006's Kirby: Squeak Squad, and finally 2008's Kirby Super Star Ultra (an enhanced remake of Kirby Super Star). 2008 would also saw the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii, where the Kirby universe was substantially expanded, having Meta Knight and King Dedede join the fray as playable characters with Kirby in this installment.
Following the release of Kirby Super Star Ultra, the series went dormant for two years until the release of Kirby's Epic Yarn on 2010 for Wii. The following year, 2011, would see the release of other two titles: Kirby Mass Attack on DS and Kirby's Return to Dream Land on Wii (inspired by the cancelled Kirby GCN). In 2012, an anthology game titled Kirby's Dream Collection was released on Wii to commemorate the series 20th anniversary. The series would then move on to the next generation of Nintendo consoles, starting in 2014 with the release of Kirby: Triple Deluxe for Nintendo 3DS (with side games Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe getting standalone releases). Both Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U were released on their respective consoles in 2014 as well, with many Kirby properties, old and new, getting represented in these games. In 2015 Kirby and the Rainbow Course (a follow-up to Kirby Canvas Curse) was released for Wii U. Kirby: Planet Robobot for 3DS would follow on 2016 (and, like Kirby: Triple Deluxe, standalone titles for side games, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe and Kirby's Blowout Blast, would be released on 2017). A Kirby fighting game seemingly inspired by the Super Smash Bros. series titled Kirby Battle Royale was released for 3DS in 2017.
Kirby Star Allies was the first Kirby game on Nintendo Switch whereas Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn (an enhanced port of Kirby's Epic Yarn) was the final Kirby game on 3DS; both were released on 2018. In the same year, the Kirby universe would expectedly make yet another appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; it's noteworthy mentioning that all the Kirby-centric stages from past Smash games returned in Ultimate (a trait only The Legend of Zelda universe's stages also share). The most recent games in the series are 2020's Kirby Fighters 2 (the expansion of Kirby Fighters Deluxe). During a Nintendo Direct on September 23, 2021, Kirby and the Forgotten Land was announced for a Spring 2022 release, marking the series first foray into 3D since Kirby GCN, excluding the aforementioned Blowout Blast.
Kirby games in general feature characters, storylines, and gameplay that are said to appeal mainly to young gamers. Sakurai has stated that this series of games is meant to accommodate those who are just starting to play video games, which includes but is not limited to children. As such, Kirby games can be beaten by a player of nearly any age; however, as is certainly the case with the Super Smash Bros. series, they are also designed to provide deeper challenges for more experienced gamers. Most Kirby games have garnered solid reviews from critics as a result of this.
In the Super Smash Flash series
In Super Smash Flash
A fair amount of content from the Kirby franchise was included in Super Smash Flash, with a two-in-one character, one stage, and one item.
- Kirby: Kirby is a small, pink, spherical creature with a positive disposition and several abilities and powers that are almost magical in nature. In the games and anime, he is the main protagonist and is characterized as a baby (as mentioned in the anime) and being roughly eight inches in height; his dimensions are obviously increased in size for his appearances in the Super Smash Flash series of games. He resides on a star-shaped planet named Pop Star in the galaxy of Dream Land, and whenever some form of evil or danger threatens Dream Land, Kirby does not hesitate to go out on a journey to defeat it. Kirby in his Flash appearance demonstrates his ability to float through the air, but because the limitations, he lacks his trademark power to inhale opponents and copy their abilities. Instead of that, he switches positions with Meta Knight.
- Meta Knight: A sensational character appearing first before his confirmation in Brawl, Meta Knight is a masked-swordsman character ostensibly of the same species as Kirby, but with a dark blue body, thumbs, and facial features in white that can be seen whenever he takes his mask off. Meta Knight's roles in his various appearances in Kirby games and the anime have ranged from ally to anti-hero or villain. In his appearance in Super Smash Flash, his cape transforms into wings which he uses to float in midair much like Kirby and Jigglypuff. People prefer to play with Meta Knight doubt his strong attack.
- Dream Land: Originally called Whispy Woods, this stage is a small area of colorful grassland where a common boss in Kirby games, an air-spouting tree called Whispy Woods, resides in the background but lacks his blows, unlike the original. A remix of Green Greens' music plays instead of the original.
- Maxim Tomato: One of the power-ups Kirby often collects to replenish depleted health in Kirby games is this tomato-like item which restores Kirby to full health. It appears as a tomato that has the letter m on it. It is normally harder to find than the other, less-effective health-replenishers. In Smash, the Maxim Tomato, perhaps contrary to its name, restores the health of the character who picks it up by 50% rather than restoring all accumulated damage, unlike the Heart Container from The Legend of Zelda series, which can restore health by 100%. It is still a powerful healing item, however.
In Super Smash Flash 2
The Super Smash Flash 2 added more Kirby content. Kirby and Meta Knight are now separate characters with their own movesets. The Kirby franchise is currently the third most represented series in SSF2.
The same two characters who appeared in the first game make a reappearance, with the two now separated. Bandana Dee joins them as part of the cast.
- Kirby: Kirby debuts in demo v0.1a being one of the four playable characters in the first demo. The pink puff reappears to reprise his role and traits from Super Smash Flash as a small character who can float in the air with a long series of multiple jumps, now with his copy ability available. Like other returning characters, Kirby gained a Final Smash with his being an attack named Cook Kirby, which appears to consist of dunking his opponent into a boiling pot, and then spiting them out.
- Meta Knight: Meta Knight debuts in demo v0.9a. Meta Knight returns as an independent character in SSF2. His move set is taken directly from Super Smash Bros. Brawl and his sprite design is also based on his appearance from said game.
- Bandana Dee: Bandana Dee was confirmed to appear as a playable character during the Day 3 livestream at Super Smash Con 2016. He is the second character to transition from a Assist Trophy to playable character after PAC-MAN.
- Butter Building: A stage based on the level of the same name from Kirby's Adventure, it involves the titular building stuck in a perpetual ascent, continuously scrolling upward as the battle continues.
- Dream Land: A returning stage from SSF. All layout was changed to a more colorful scheme, but has the same structure as the original. Whispy Woods now is able to blow air as he does in the original version.
- Rainbow Route: An stage a based on Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, which could be considered an improved version of the old Kirby Hub Room. The notable trait of the stage are the mirror doors which open during certain intervals of time, being suck by one will take the player to the mirror on the top, helplessly falling and being vulnerable to attacks.
- Beam Rod: Similar to the Star Rod, it shoots small beams that do little knockback to opponents while also stunning them.
- Maxim Tomato: A returning item which still recovers 50% of damage.
- Star Rod: A central plot element to Kirby's Adventure is this powerful artifact, which when inserted into the Fountain of Dreams ensures peace and good dreams for Dream Land and its denizens, and Kirby must use it to combat Nightmare in the final battle. The Star Rod can be used as a bludgeoning weapon, and can also launch a star as a projectile when swung with force.
Media with elements appearing in the Super Smash Flash series
The Kirby universe is among the most highly represented universes throughout the Super Smash Flash series, currently having a total of 11 games represented in some way.