Kirby's Air Ride is a kart racer starring the puffy, pink hero, Kirby. The game is notable for its simplistic control scheme that only uses the analog stick for direction and one button on the GameCube controller for decelerating and using power ups. Unlike most other driving games, acceleration occurs regardless of player input. The game is primarily intended to be played with multiple people, as there are no dedicated career mode
Race to the Finish on one of several courses. Kirby can utilize boost pads, triggers, copy abilities and more to gain an advantage. Free Run mode also acts as a Time Trial mode that allows to set records.
This mode plays the most differently compared to the other two which the various tracks only fill a single screen (reminiscent of Super Off Road) Kirby has access to only two vehicles in this mode; the free star (where Kirby can be pointed in the direction the player wants him to go) and the steer star (which has relative controls).
Players have a limited time to traverse a city, collecting stat-building power-ups to be used against other players in various mini-games after the allotted time limit expires. Kirby starts in the Compact Star which has lower stats. By holding the action button and down on the control stick, Kirby can dismount his Air Ride in order to board another one. However he won't be able to obtain any power-ups while not riding a vehicle. Playing in Free Run mode allows Kirby to use any unlocked vehicle.
This game is one of the few titles compatible with the Broadband Adapter. Up to four systems can be linked together. When two systems are linked, up to two players can play on one system, however when playing with three or more systems, only one player per console can play. Any unlocked content located on the memory card can be used for LAN play. Only Air Ride and City Trial modes are playable with most of the customizable options available.
The game also features several unlockables that become available via an achievement system labeled as the Checklist. This consists of a board with several panels that turn around only when certain conditions have been met. Some challenges will also reward additional vehicles, characters, songs in the Sound Test and more. Revealing purple spaces also allows Kirby to clear a challenge without actually having to fulfill its normal requirements. Not all challenges can be unlocked through this method however. This system would later appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Kid Icarus Uprising.
Air Ride Machines
|Machine Name||Descriptor||Game Modes|
|Free Star||Machine will steer based on the control stick's direction.||Top|
|Steer Star||Machine can be steered left or right.||Top|
|Compact Star||Slower, but easy to control. Starter for City Trial||City|
|Warpstar||All-round type of vehicle||Air, City|
|Rocket Star||Grants a strong speed boost after 100% charge||Air, City|
|Winged Star||Goes faster in the air||Air, City|
|Shadow Star||Attacks the strongest||Air, City|
|Wagon Star||Unable to charge for boosts.||Air, City|
|Swerve Star||Can only steer while charging (Which immediately stops the vehicle)||Air, City|
|Slick Star||Has slippery handling||Air, City|
|Turbo Star||Very fast, tough steering||Air, City|
|Formula Star||Best top speed||Air, City|
|Bulk Star||Moves after charging, very strong.||Air, City|
|Jet Star||Moves faster while in the air||Air, City|
|Wheelie Bike||Control is unorthodox.||Air, City|
|Rex Wheelie||Very fast if it can be kept under control.||Air, City|
|Wheelie Scooter||High jumper, can quick turn||Air, City|
|King DeDeDe||Always has hammer ability, great power.||Air, City|
|Meta Knight||Always has sword ability, great at flying||Air, City|
|Flight Warpstar||Has upgraded gliding capabilities||Air, City|
|Hydra||Legendary machine, has extra battle power. Must be assembled in City mode.||City|
|Dragoon||Can stay in the air for as long as possible. Must be assembled in City mode.||City|
|Course Name||Description||Game Modes|
|Fantasy Meadows||Air, City|
|Celestial Valley||Air, City|
|Sky Sands||Air, City|
|Frozen Hillside||Air, City|
|Magma Flows||Air, City|
|Beanstalk Park||Air, City|
|Machine Passage||Air, City|
|Checker Knights||Air, City|
|Nebula Belt||Air, City|
Defeating enemies with the different copy abilities allows Kirby to gain a speed boost. He can attack rival racers to slow them down.
|Sword||Run into enemies to attack|
|Plasma||Tap the control stick to charge, press Action to fire|
|Wing||Gain a speed boost|
|Wheel||Obtain better flying abilities|
|Sleep||Wiggle the control stick to regain control.|
|Bomb||Hold the action button to throw a bomb farther. This also causes Kirby to break however.|
|Needle||Attack enemies around Kirby.|
|Microphone||Immediate use, has greater area of damage|