Released on: March 21st 1996 (SNES), December 12 2019 (Nintendo Switch Online)
Available Platforms: SNES, DS (remake) Nintendo Switch Online
Price: Free (With Nintendo Switch Online Subscription)
Kirby Super Star is the first Kirby game I played; I remember thoroughly enjoying it when I was six years old. Able to eat enemies and copy their abilities, Kirby is powerful despite his cutesy appearance. He also has the ability to fly, giving the player the ability to easily reach far off platforms, bypass enemies, even save themselves from falling down pits. All of that made Kirby Super Star a great time for Young Sergie. Now, in 2019, I asked myself; is Kirby Super Star just as enjoyable today?
The base gameplay of Kirby Super Star is pleasant and accessible. As mentioned, Kirby can consume his enemies to take their powers. Where Kirby Super Star excels is in the variety of moves Kirby has at his disposal for the different abilities. The abilities range from very simple (like Wheel, Crash, Cook, Mike, Bomb) to complex (Yo-yo, Plasma, Ninja and Suplex to name a few examples). Super Star also gives Kirby the option to manifest his current ability into a helper. This helper is great because it can be controlled either by the game’s artificial intelligence or by another player. Kirby can also block oncoming attacks to greatly reduce the amount of damage he receives. This approachability is what makes Super Star enjoyable for first-time players and veterans alike.
The presentation of Super Star is top-notch. Its visuals are cheerful and bright, making everything easy to follow. The soundtrack is iconic; all of it is memorable and catchy. The sound design is spot-on with sound effects going beautifully with the lively tone Super Star sets up. All of this helps make Super Star a wonderfully charming experience.
At this point, I would like to do something a little different. Kirby Super Star differentiates itself from other Kirby games by having 8 playable games in one. In honor of this, I’m going to give short reviews for each individual game.
Spring Breeze – More than likely the first game the player is going to play: Spring breeze is just that, a breeze. Being a very loose remake of Kirby’s Dream Land on Game Boy, Spring Breeze tasks Kirby to recover all the stolen food in Dream Land from the greedy King Dedede. It is a very short four-level game perfectly made to introduce new players to the gameplay of Super Star. The easiest of the games by far.
Gourmet Race – A racing game where the player challenges King Dedede to a footrace to the end of each of its three stages while also collecting as many food items as possible. This game teaches the player how to dash (by double-tapping the direction they wish to go). Once the player learns how to dash, however, Gourmet Race becomes a cakewalk and is quick to complete.
Dyna Blade – A mysterious bird known as Dyna Blade is disturbing Dream Land’s crops and it’s up to Kirby to make it stop. While also only being four levels long, Dyna Blade has secrets hidden within. This teaches the player to look for hidden exits as it becomes important in the upcoming games. Dyna Blade is slightly harder than Spring Breeze, but not by much.
The Great Cave Offensive – While exploring Dream Land, Kirby falls down a mysterious hole, trapping him inside the mysterious cave. While the game has a decent-sized plothole (why can’t Kirby just fly out of the hole when there is nothing blocking the exit other than an invisible wall?), it is the first game to truly challenge the player. Great Cave Offensive is a giant labyrinth full of treasure and misdirection. This gives the player two major options: explore the cave in its entirety, or make it to the end as quickly as possible. On their first playthrough, the player is more than likely going to get side-tracked by the multiple paths but the labyrinth is easily learned on subsequent runs. Great Cave Offensive offers a lot of treasures for completionists to find.
Revenge of Meta Knight – Meta Knight wants to conquer Dream Land because he feels it has become too lazy. It is up to Kirby to prevent this hostile take over. Revenge of Meta Knight puts a little bit more pressure on the player by introducing a time limit. This time limit, however, is easily ignored as it is overly generous. Even though there are secret rooms hidden, Revenge of Meta Knight feels more linear with a slightly more serious (while still being jovial somehow) tone, making it a great game for those hoping for something a little less goofy.
Milky Way Wishes – The sun and moon are fighting and it’s up to Kirby to make them stop. Milky Way Wishes shakes up the other games’ formulae by removing Kirby’s signature ability to copy enemies by eating them. Instead, the player has to find abilities, which they then can access at all times. This is the second most difficult game since some of the abilities are well hidden, requiring crucial exploration. Milky Way Wishes is my personal favorite game featured in Super Star as finding the abilities gives the player the incentive to go explore each of the different levels. It is also the largest game in Kirby Super Star.
Megaton Punch – More of a mini-game, the player competes (either against a computer-controlled opponent or another player) to find out who has the most powerful punch. The player who has the best power, accuracy, and timing will win. Megaton Punch is a fun distraction from the other games.
Samurai Kirby – Samurai Kirby is the second mini-game in Super Star. Whoever has the quickest button press after the “go” signal is the winner. This is the harder of the two mini-games as the computer-controlled player is lighting fast, even on the lowest difficulty. I would recommend playing this with another player above playing it solo.
And that’s all the games Super Star has… JUST KIDDING!
The Arena – A bonus game for beating all the previous games (except for Megaton Punch and Samurai Kirby), The Arena has the player beat every single boss found in the other games with only one life. The player can choose their preferred ability at the beginning. After every round, the player gets sent to a rest area to use one of their limited recovery items or change abilities. The Arena is easily the hardest game of Super Star and will test what the player has learned up to this point. The Arena is great for those looking to see if they have mastered Super Star’s mechanics.
Sound Test – When the player beats the Arena, they will unlock the Sound Test, where they will be able to listen to the entirety of the game’s unforgettable soundtrack. The Sound Test is a great reward for completing Super Star as its music never grows stale and is worth listening to on its own.
Kirby Super Star is my personal favorite Kirby game. While being admittedly easy, its well thought out game design, exceptional soundtrack, charming visuals and variety of game modes make it a great game to revisit.