One of the best NES platformers.
- Fun, colorful, energetic Kirby game that solidified his power-stealing abilities
- Beautiful 8-Bit graphics are some of the best on the system
- Airtight controls
- Levels vary from being completely linear to being open-ended
- Autosave feature was unique for the NES, and does it better than many modern games
- Music is straight up fantastic
- Strikes a good balance of difficulty, even if it is a tad easy
- Tons of fun and silly minigames to play
- Lets you replay any level to find alternate paths/unlocks
- One of the best NES platformers
- ...I actually can't think of anything. Huh. It's...a little easy? Is that actually a con?
It's Kirby! And he's ready for an adventure!
Kirby's Adventure is the NES game that solidified Kirby as the pink, monster-sucking guy that he is now. While Kirby's Dream Land on the Game Boy was technically the first Kirby game (and he could suck enemies up), this was the first one where he could steal abilities, which has since become a staple of his gameplay (with the exception of Kirby's Epic Yarn). So how does Kirby's first real big adventure on the NES play out? Well...really, really good, actually.
Kirby's Adventure is just an all-around solid platformer.
As far as the game goes, it's the same Kirby stuff you've played since. Kirby can jump, or suck up air and float if you prefer that. He climbs ladders, swims, and does it all with airtight controls. But the real pull of this game is that now-staple: the ability to suck up enemies and steal their powers.
There are lots of abilities in the game, all shown in a charming picture on the bottom of the screen when you acquire it. You can dump a power at any time, or if you are hit it'll fly out of you as a star. You can suck it up and recover it if you are fast, or if you aren't it disappears and your awesome sword power is gone forever. It's a very simple mechanic, but it opens up an absolutely massive wealth of options.
Pictured: Wealth of options.
While some are better than others (that Wheel is freaking useless), you can easily swap out if you just see an enemy whose power you like. While you could technically just stomp everything with the Sword, if you mix and match you might find yourself better suited for various situations. Again, it's a very simple mechanic, but it is executed very well.
And the parka on Kirby for the "Freeze" power-up is just freaking adorable. There, I said it.
Things start simple, but get crazy fast!
You don't have to just eat powers. You can suck stuff up and spit it back out if it's "useless" (many bosses require this mechanic) to damage enemies, and you can do a quick suck-up for air and blow it out which also does damage. The options here are many and all are unique, and while plenty of games have ripped off Mario, I can't think of any that have successfully mimicked Kirby's unique abilities.
The stages accessed via a variety of hub worlds, represented by doors on each individual world. You can replay any world anytime, and as a cool feature you can also quit out anytime (something that Mario didn't develop until Super Mario World). You also keep whatever power you currently have when you quit, so if you are stuck on a boss you can just jump into a world, suck up the sword guy, and bail and keep the sword. Pretty sweet!
The game also sports auto-save, something that wasn't really adapted (especially by Japanese games) until way, way later. It saves your progress automatically after each stage, and while lives and powerups are reset on a load (back to three lives), the simple fact that an NES GAME AUTOSAVES is mind blowing, especially since many modern games can't figure out how to do it right. Like Silent Hill Downpour which literally came out last month and still has awful autosave positions. Kirby's Adventure: 1. Silent Hill Downpour: 0.
And yes, I know I just compared Kirby's Adventure to a game that is literally on the other end of the spectrum. Whatever.
Kirby as a wild-west gunman in a quick-draw minigame might bet the most awesome thing ever.
Since most levels have branching paths, secret exits, and tons of new things to explore (hence the reason it lets you replay them), you'll also unlock a variety of minigames to play. These range from a crane game like the ones you pump quarters in at Wal-Mart in an attempt to get an Angry Bird plushie, an egg-eating game where you eat eggs and avoid bombs, and a totally hilarious wild west quickdraw game where kirby blows enemies away leaving only their hats. So good.
The amount of content in this game is actually pretty significant, and it never once feels frustrating or unfair. Bosses happen after beating every stage, and while it's true you can breeze through a lot of them with the right powerups, lose it and many become a difficult challenge. All of them usually involve sucking up something they throw at you and spitting it back, but they have unique patterns and all look so different I didn't mind the fact that it was essentially the same mechanic. Plus I could just go get the sword and slash 'em up if they really annoyed me.
TREE, YOUR TIME HAS COME. And look, Kirby's blue! And has a parka in the picture! I love this game so much.
This game is graphically gorgeous. While you could argue the pixel art in the Castlevania games is deeper and more complex, Kirby's Adventure finds its aesthetic of cuteness and sticks to it all the way through. I seriously couldn't believe this was just an NES game at times at how clean the UI, menues, stages, levels, and backdrops worked. When I was walking around a giant rotating column that moved so smoothly it would fit in well enough on modern games, I was completely blown away. The art direction for this game is insanely well done, using the contrast in colors to present a very clean look with a touch of cuteness. Perhaps the only complaint I could issue is they really like their browns, but that might also just be because the menu underneath is brown (which is also easy on the eyes, so I'm fine with it).
The music is also incredible. Again, you could argue the Castlevania games or Mega Man games really present catchier and better tunes, but everything about Kirby is just so...happy. And bouncy. Even on the darker levels, the music is just so cheerful you can't help but smile. Really good stuff, and the Green Greens version is probably the best out of all the games. Even the Kirby's Epic Yarn version with the pianos.
So good. It's all just...so good.
So...is there anything bad about thsis game, aside from being ahead of its time in nearly every area? Um...it can be a little easy, which is weird considering it's an NES game and they are notorious for being, well, not easy. As it stands, I'm totally fine with it being not as ball-bustingly hard as most other platformers of the day. It showed a refinement of style, that Nintendo was beginning to figure out how to design games that were both fun and challenging, rather than just the latter. It makes sense, considering this game was released in the US just a few months before the SNES came out. That's also why it isn't as well known as other NES platformers, since most people were rearing up for the SNES rather than still buying NES games. Too bad, because this game is damn near perfect.
|When that thing in the back starts spinning, you'll forget you are in an NES game.|
Kirby's Adventure is a must have. Unlike many NES games, where nostalgia is the main reason people can go back to them, Kirby's Adventure is still an excellent, fair, and well designed platformer, even today. You can get it for the extremely low price of $5 off the Nintendo Virtual Console on the Wii, and I highly suggest doing just that. If you have an NES carts can range from $10-20, which I'd also say is a perfectly fair price for it. It's a must-have for collectors, and a fantastic game in its own right.
So what are you waiting for? Go buy it!
Five out of five stars.