Kirby is a pink fluffy blobby thing created by Masahiro Sakurai for Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratory and the star of his own series of games. He can fly, jump, suck enemies into his mouth, spit them out, or, starting with the second game, Kirby's Adventure, devour them and absorb their powers — he takes the old maxim "you are what you eat" quite literally. Throughout most of his adventures, he journeys across the land of Dream Land on the planet Pop Star, squaring off against foes such as the dream-crushing Nightmare, an ominous Body Snatcher called Dark Matter, or the greedy penguin King Dedede.The Kirby games are designed to be easy for young (or beginner) gamers to complete, but to also provide some extra challenges for experienced players, with one of the earlier challenges being Extra Mode in the first game, Kirby's Dream Land, which adds more enemies to the levels and replaces some of the ones from the normal one with tougher ones. note This mode is unlocked with a button combination on the title screen (available from the start, but the button combination isn't displayed in-game until after beating normal mode).Besides games, Kirby starred in his own anime series, entitled Hoshi no Kirby in Japanese. It was licensed by 4Kids Entertainment, so of course, a lot of the darker elements from the Japanese version were Bowdlerised out, but the dub, retitledKirby: Right Back at Ya!!, was still successful, managing to stay on the air for all 100 episodes. There is also an unrelated Kirby gag manga serialized by Korokoro Comics that has not been licensed.Masahiro Sakurai retained a lot of creative input on the show. Kirby has also been featured as a regular character in the Super Smash Bros.. series (also created by Sakurai), and as of Brawl, he is joined by recurring series rivals King Dedede (a large bird wielding a hammer who debuted in the very first game, Kirby's Dream Land, as a villainous character, but later became more of an anti-hero or rival to Kirby) and Meta Knight (an honorable masked swordsman first appearing as an ally of Dedede's in Kirby's Adventure who notably refuses to fight an unarmed opponent).Most of the Kirby games are Platformers, but the series has occasionally dipped into other genres, as well, as highlighted below:
Kirby's Return to Dream Land (2011, Wii; Kirby can suck up enemies again, and there are Final Smash-type moves; Dedede, Meta Knight, Bandana Waddle Dee, and other colored Kirbys are playables in co-op; released in Europe as Kirby's Adventure Wii)
Kirby's Dream Collection (2012, Wii; an anthology in celebration of Kirby's 20th anniversary. The bundle contains 6 Kirby gamesnote Dream Land, Dream Land 2, Adventure, Super Star, Dream Land 3 and The Crystal Shards, 3 episodes from the Kirby of the Stars anime, several new challenge stages a la Return to Dream Land, a soundtrack CD, a gallery walk of Kirby's history, some pages from the various Kirby manga, and an artbook.)
Kirby Triple Deluxe (2014, Nintendo 3DS; a sequel to Kirby's Return to Dream Land, the stages are now layered ala Virtual Boy Wario Land, and Kirby's ability to suck things up can get powered up.)
It should be noted that four of these games (Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby's Star Stacker, and Kirby 64) were directed by Shinichi Shimomura instead of series creator Masahiro Sakurai, and Sakurai has not directed a Kirby game since Air Ride. Shimomura's titles are slower-paced than their counterparts, and various characters introduced in them (Rick, Kine, Coo, Dark Matter, Adeleine) don't appear with major roles in other games.Not related to Jack Kirby, or Kirby Morrow. It's also not related to Kirby vacuums (or the vacuum named Kirby), but you're getting closernote He might have been named after John Kirby, the lawyer who defended Nintendo back when Universal sued them over the name of Donkey Kong.
Affably Evil: King Dedede. When he isn't trying to clobbah that there Kirby, he is actually helping Kirby to protect Dreamland from a bigger threat (Kirby 64, Kirby's Adventure/Nightmare in Dreamland, and Return to Dream Land are excellent examples of this). And sometimes he's just a bystander, too.
All There in the Manual: Many details about certain characters (such as Dark Nebula from Squeak Squad and Gooey being the same kind of creature as Dark Matter) were revealed in the Japanese version of the 20th anniversary booklet that came with Kirby's Dream Collection. Naturally, the American version of the booklet omitted most of this info (and much of the artwork included in the Japanese version).
Averted beginning with Kirby Super Star Ultra. Changes in Nintendo of America's marketing division staff might have had something to do with it... although Return to Dream Land is also a return to form.
Hero Antagonist: Occasionally in games, what Meta Knight does isn't villainous at all and is merely mistaken by Kirby as such due to poor communication between them and Kirby's misinterpreting of the situation (Kirby Squeak Squad being a hilariously good example). In Kirby and The Amazing Mirror, he comes across as a straight-up hero who went to save the Mirror World until Dark Mind trapped him, with Kirby (who ended up split into four parts by Meta Knight's Evil Twin) coming after him. Later in the game, the Kirbys fight Dark Meta Knight disguised as the real thing, with the real one pointing his sword toward Dark Meta Knight to destroy any doubt that it wasn't really him after the Kirbys appear to be fighting Meta Knight in the eighth section of the game, but tips off the fact that he's really Dark Meta Knight after he forgets to imitate Meta Knight's trait of throwing his opponents a sword to fight fairly.
In Adventure, Dedede was not possessed but trying to keep such a being away, which Kirby messed up due to poor communication. Though, in Dream Land, Dedede had his followers steal all the food for no good reason except to be a dick, and in Kirby 64, he takes the crystal shard Kirby needs to save Ribbon's planet, again to be a dick, even if he does decide to help after being attacked by and freed from Dark Matter.
Art Attacker: Many bosses; the most well-known is Paint Roller in Kirby's Adventure.
Art Evolution: Kirby's face has gotten bigger, while Meta Knight's arms have gotten a bit longer and thinner (leading to the derogatory nickname of "Señor Noodle Arms" in some parts of the fan community).
Art Initiates Life: There's Ado from Kirby's Dream Land 3, Adeleine from Kirby 64note Both of whom may or may not be the same character, Paint Roller from Kirby's Adventure, Drawcia from Kirby's Canvas Curse, and Yin Yarn from Kirby's Epic Yarn.
Art Shift: Kirby's Epic Yarn features a quirky string/patchwork/fabric-like style, which Kirby utilizes in game (pulling on zippers to reveal new areas, using his arm as a whip, etc).
Ascended Extra: Bandanna Dee first appeared in Super Star as the first opponent in "Megaton Punch". In Ultra, he has dialog and appears as a boss (albeit not much of one) in "Revenge of the King" (plus he's the only spectator in the stands during the Masked Dedede fight), and the Waddle Dee opponent in "The Arena" was changed to be him. Now he's a playable character in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Hammer's up+ Y/B move (the Hammer Flip) in Kirby Super Star subverts this. It's the second most powerful attack in the game, but you're unable to move during its (rather lengthy) startup time, making it risky to use on most normal enemies. However, it's perfect for tearing though bosses in seconds — at least once you learn their patterns — turning this into Difficult, But Awesome instead.
A straight example would be Fire's back+Y/B attack, the Fireball Inferno. It's the most powerful attack in the game — same damage as the Hammer Flip, and it deals damage at a much faster speed — but your character's immobility, combined with its lackluster range and how hilariously easy it is to be hit out of the attack, means that the only mileage you're getting out of this is on the Computer Virus and Whispy Woods (and Whispy Woods is a joke anyways).
Ghost Kirby. You can actually possess enemies; however, it isn't very good for attacking and is completely ineffective against bosses. You can't even climb ladders.
That's the point. He gets terrifically embarrassed when his true face is revealed.
Meta Knight wishes to have released the strongest warrior in the galaxy, locked away for fear of his power, for the sole purpose of kicking said warrior's ass. Which he proceeds to do. * Or not, since this boss fight, while not Nintendo Hard, is pretty painful the first few times, due to the fact that Galacta Knight is basically a computer controlled, white and feather-winged, extra-badass Meta Knight with a lance and shield, making the fight as fun as it is awesome. Why? For training purposes. Or fun. Or just to prove he could.
Badass Adorable: Kirby. A little, bouncy pink ball who charms pretty much any non-enemy he meets, and eats cosmic horrors for breakfast, (Literally).
Meta Knight, made more adorable by the fact that he tries to hide it.
Kirby's allies can become this too.
Badass in Distress: Meta Knight in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror goes off to quell the threat, but is sucked into the mirror world and copied.
Battleship Raid: The Revenge of Meta-Knight subgame from Super Star and its remake, as well as the penultimate stage from Milky Way Wishes.
Batman-Gambit: Marx and Magolor pull off some rather nice ones in Kirby Super Star and Kirby's Return to Dream Land, respectively. Marx manipulates Kirby to get the wish that grants himself ultimate power. Magolor tricks Kirby into beating Landia so he can obtain the Master Crown.
Call Back: In the second game of the series, a minigame let you control a crane machine's claw to snatch multiple Kirbys and gain extra lives. In Kirby Mass Attack, one of the bosses your multiple Kirbys have to fight is... a crane machine's claw!
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Kirby, at one point, had a large supporting cast, including his sidekick Gooey and his many animal buddies: Rick, Coo, Kine, Chuchu, Nago, and Pitch. Almost all of them have gone missing from any significant part of the series and are now relegated to minor cameos, and the series is focusing almost entirely on Kirby, Meta-Knight, and Dedede.
The animal buddies get a Shout Out in Kirby 64 as Kirby's various Rock + Blade forms, and in Return to Dream Land as one of his Stone forms.
As noted above, Dream Land 2/3 were made by a different producer, which is why Rick, Coo, Kine, etc., haven't appeared in other games.
Collision Damage: Slight change: Minor enemies are also damaged when Kirby runs into them.
Minor enemies like Waddle Dees in later games die when they bump into Kirby (even un-powered).
Some Copy abilities in Super Star even let Kirby shield himself and damage enemies, even bosses, if they touch him.
Blocking damages enemies, even bosses. (It doesn't hurt them very badly, but still!)
In Kirby's Epic Yarn, there is no collision damage to enemies and other things unless it's sharp, made out of fire, or they're projectiles.
Color-Coded Multiplayer: Air Ride, Nightmare in Dream Land, The Amazing Mirror (as long as certain spray paints aren't used), and Return to Dream Land all have color-coded Kirbys available in multiplayer.
Continuity Nod: In Revenge Of Meta Knight, Kirby caused the Halberd to crash into an ocean. In Squeak Squad, the "Secret Sea" is one of the worlds, and you eventually enter the flooded wreck of the Halberd, still at the bottom of the sea. And then Meta Knight reveals that he's repaired it and flies it into space.
The RPG sub-game Kirby Master from Kirby Mass Attack features enemies and attacks from the anime and Kirby's Epic Yarn, including the Tankbot from Epic Yarn and Kabuki Kirby from the special 3D episode of the anime.
Crapsaccharine World: Popstar is a bright and colorful place, but gets invaded by nightmarish entities on a regular basis.
Cut Scene: Adventure along with Dreamland 2&3 have one introducing each level. After defeating King Dedede in the first, a much longer one depicts King Dedede desperately trying to prevent Kirby from putting the Star Rod back because doing so would unleash Nightmare.
Cute and Psycho: Scarfy starts out cute, but if Kirby tries to eat it, it goes psycho, as in showing off an ugly cyclopean face. Brrr...
A very common alternate character interpretation of Kirby himself. The fact that Nintendo stated that a lot of the Waddle Dees Kirby encounters and kills in his quests are harmless and not even affiliated with King Dedede does not help to disprove this.
It's even worse in Squeak Squad. Every player would expect A to use Kirby's powers and B to jump, but the game inverts the controls. It's not difficult to play like that, but it's very jarring when you first play the game.
Defeat Means Friendship: In Kirby Super Star, you can relinquish Kirby's powers and reform them into an enemy that uses those powers, who can then be controlled by a second player. This is extremely helpful in getting 100% Completion, but the AI is marginally intelligent enough to do the job.
Your entire party (sans Ribbon) in Kirby 64 is also gained this way through mini-boss battles while on Pop Star.
Development Hell: Since Kirby's Air Ride, HAL Laboratories have made repeated attempts to create a home console game for the Kirby series. The most known attempt was the GameCube game, announced in 2004, and widely believed to be reincarnated as Kirby's Return to Dream Land. However, a recent interview has revealed that the GameCube game was the first of four attempts at a home console game, the final being Return to Dream Land.
Kirby Air Ride itself was trapped in Development Hell for quite some time. It was originally intended as a Nintendo 64 game, but after spending many years in production, it was quietly canceled. It finally showed up as a GameCube title at E3 2003.
Difficult, But Awesome: Using Kirby's throwing attacks (Circus Throw, Yo-Yo grab, Ice Suction) is overkill against enemies that are defeated in one hit anyway, and hard to pull off against most bosses, since the objects you can shoot back at them are often too fast, small, or erratic to grab. Manage to pull them off, though, and it can shave huge chunks off of any boss's health in one hit.
Digital Destruction: The Virtual Console release of Kirby's Dream Land 3 changes the background colors in Dark Matter/0's Boss Rush stage from yellow, red, and blue to a less-pleasant yellow, orange, and green. Most other games with noticeable graphics edits (i.e. Super Mario RPG) had this done because of increased seizure awareness, but this doesn't seem to have been done for any particular reason.
Directionally Solid Platforms: They're present and throughout the whole series, more so in some levels than others. Some you can drop back through again, others you can't.
Dishing Out Dirt: Wham Bam Rock in Kirby Super Starand Wham Bam Jewel in Kirby Super Star Ultra.
Disproportionate Retribution: Squeak Squad starts with Kirby's slice of cake being stolen. Cue him going on a rampage through the entire country, killing (or at least maiming) everything on his path to retrieve it. Starting with Dedede's castle, just because Kirby thinks Dedede might have taken it.
Door To Before: After beating the final boss of the Great Cave Offensive segment in Kirby Super Star, one ends up running from the cave up to the original entrance.
The Dragon: Dark Matter, to 0. Also, Meta Knight played this role to Dedede in ‘’Kirby's Adventure’’; he reprised this role in the anime, becoming a definitive example of a Dragon with an Agenda.
As 0 is the core organism of Dark Matter, and all other Dark Matter entities are spawned from it, and all but Gooey are controlled by it, its Dragon is essentially a physical extension of it with a limited degree of free will to operate outside of its direct control. This has interesting implications.
Dramatic Unmask: Meta Knight tends to lose his mask upon defeat. He's so cute! And he looks exactly like Kirby, only with white (sometimes gold) eyes, purple feet, and blue skin.
Dream Land: It's named for being home of the fountain where dreams come from. A nightmare tries to come through the fountain in Kirby's Adventure, but King Dedede removes the fountain's power source, the Star Rod, to stop it. As a consequence, no one can dream until Kirby puts the Star Rod back.
Drop the Hammer: Dedede and Bonkers the gorilla, the latter of which Kirby can inhale for (what else?) the Hammer ability. Hammer is used as one of Kirby's B-button moves in the various Super Smash Bros. games.
In Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, the way you can tell you're not fighting the real Meta Knight is because the impostor doesn't throw you a sword.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The original Kirby's Dream Land was very different from the later games — Kirby couldn't dash or slide, and while he could suck up, then swallow or spit out enemies, he wasn't able to copy abilities. It also included some bizarre enemies that have not been seen since. That, and the North American cover art for the game shows him being whitenote The Japanese cover art portrays him as being pink, indicating he was always meant to be that way. He would take on his trademark pink colouring (in-game) by the second game, Kirby's Adventure.
Dark Matter is notable in that its core, 0, is essentially an already Eldritch Abomination's One-Winged Angel form. That's in Kirby's Dream Land 3, whereas in Kirby 64, you skip fighting Dark Matter and go straight to 0's own new form — you'll see it written on parts of this site as 02 or Zero Two. This is a mistake — that 2 is actually a superscript: 0^2note This cannot be properly displayed on this site, by the way. In other words, you're fighting Zero Squared, or the embodiment of nothingness given an extra dimension. It's white, has blood red wings and gives you a fantastic little moment of Mood Whiplash when you first see the smiley face it aims at you and then watch the mouth open into a blood red eye. Have fun!
Kirby himself can be considered one, albeit a small scale and rare heroic one.
Light 'em Up: Light, although it doesn't actually damage enemies and is instead used to light up dark rooms. Interesting variations are Bomb + Spark from 64 and Kine's Spark power. The former turns Kirby into an exploding light bulb and the latter has Kine hold out a light bulb that damages enemies that touch it, with the option to shoot it at them. Both of these can also be used to see in the dark.
In addition, Kirby 64 allows you to combine powers, resulting in things like snowman bombs (Ice + Bomb); Dream Land 2/3 give you animal helpers that each put their own spins on whatever power you have when you use them; Squeak Squad has a few ability combos like Fire + Sword; and Return to Dream Land has super abilities: powered-up versions of regular abilities that can be used to kill enemies in one hit, destroy scenery, and solve puzzles. As well as...
Eleventh Hour Super Power: If the game features a nightmarish true final boss, Kirby usually manages to acquire a special weapon just in time to face it. An exception happens in Canvas Curse, where it doesn't show up until after Kirby couldn't stop the mysterious evil of the month from cursing Dream Land. And then you get to use it for the entire game.
Eternal Engine: Mecheye/Mekkai, the Halberd, NOVA, the final levels of Shiver Star, and Egg Engines.
Evil Laugh: In Super Star's Revenge of Meta Knight:
Ax Knight: Kirby is getting close to the twin cannon.
Captain Vul: Kirby will be torched! Wahahahahahaha!
From Nobody to Nightmare: Instead of the usual Dark Matter-esque Eldritch Abomination, Marx, the final boss of Kirby Superstar, is just one of the tiny, marshmallow-like denizens of Dream Land, who manages to gain ultimate power with an Evil Plan involving Kirby and the wish-granting comet Nova.
There's also Magolor from Kirby's Return to Dream Land, a seemingly hapless but friendly alien whose ship crash lands on Pop Star—which turns out to have been part of his plan to control the universe.
Getting Crap Past the Radar : This level layout from Kirby's Dream Land 2, Level 5-5. The blocks and enemies in the level are placed to resemble a crudely drawn naked woman. It is very similar to a similary shaped level layout in Yoshi's Island, Level 4-1. Maybe the same pervert/bored programmer?
The True Final Boss 0, in Kirby Dream Land 3 (Who reappears in Kirby 64) is basically a giant eye attacking you with bloody gibs from its limbs, then later explode in a gory fashion (It took 15 years for the ESRB to catch on!). All the other final bosses have some sort of horror, for that matter.
The Goomba: Any Waddle Dee that isn't an ally of Kirby, such as the ones in Kirby 64 and Return to Dream Land. In the former, the friendly Waddle Dee is the only one in the game as opposed to also being enemies in the latter; in it the Goomba is a different creature called N-Z.
Goomba Stomp: Although, unlike in Mario games, Kirby has to fall from a very great height to do this.
Guide Dang It: Collecting some of the shards in Kirby 64 are a bit unintuitive the first time around, even though the game itself does try to give you some hints.
One particularly unintuitive shard to retrieve involves using a skill combination that transforms you into stone versions of the Animal Friends from Dreamland 3, keep using it until it transforms you into Rick the hamster, and then climb a wall up towards the shard that is too high to reach it via regular flight. Not something easy to figure, since nothing tells you that said form can climb walls that are rare to begin with. Guide Dang It indeed.
Perhaps it's a bonus for people who played Kirby's Dream Land 3... the hamster, Rick, could climb walls in that game, too, and upon playing around with Rock + Cutter, they would probably reckon that the Rick statue could do the same thing. And they'd be right.
A level in Dream Land 3 takes you through an apparently arcticvolcano.
The fourth world of Kirby Mass Attack starts as a Lethal Lava Land, followed by a few graveyard-themed levels, then two levels that ultimately take the Kirbys to Outer Space, then back to the graveyards, and finally to the volcano for the boss.
Most of the Orange Ocean zone in Adventure is a mix of tropical islands and underwater levels. The last few levels, however, are cold and have lots of mystical-looking crystals, probably as a prelude to the next zone, Rainbow Resort.
Heel-Face Turn: Kirby's allies in Kirby 64 are an ex-enemy, an ex-boss, and King Dedede himself. They were all just possessed by Dark Matter though, and returned to normal after they were defeated.
Helpful Mook: Zebon in Dream Land 3 (and later Kirby 64) is classified as an enemy, but all he does is blast you up to reach places you normally wouldn't be able to.
Hero Antagonist: Meta Knight. Considering that his motives for opposing Kirby are almost always to stop a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero scenarionote "Revenge of Meta Knight" is an exception, and it's really the only time he has committed an evil act — and even there, he was really just trying to conquer Dream Land (seriously, why the hell are conquerors invariably seen as villains?), and that wasn't actually a power grab, but a Well-Intentioned Extremist attempt to change it for the better. Since the skittishness is highly justified on Meta Knight's part, seeing as Kirby does that sort of thing a lot, this trope is a more accurate description of Meta Knight than Anti-Villain.
Human Cannonball: In large part of the games, Kirby can enter cannons to be shot away.
Idiot Hero: In Kirby's Adventure (and its remake Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land), Kirby thinks that King Dedede is responsible for Dreamland's lack of dreams, but doesn't know that Nightmare was behind all the problems in the land.
In Kirby: Squeak Squad, Kirby thinks the treasure chest the Squeaks stole contained his strawberry shortcake, but he didn't know (although Meta Knight did) that the chest was actually the prison of Dark Nebula.
This is as much a case of Idiot Hero Antagonist as Idiot Hero. People have a problem with telling Kirby exactly what's going on, instead deciding that it would be better to pick a fight to prevent his passage. Meta Knight at least can be argued to be training Kirby for the inevitable Final Boss; King Dedede, not so muchnote Kirby's Adventure: Seal an Eldritch Abomination in the Fountain of Dreams by removing its power source? Not a bad idea. Entrusting that broken pieces of that Star Rod to people who have problems with Kirby? Not so much. Not telling anyone what you were up to in order to point out that they shouldn't worry, in turn risking that Kirby might think you're up to something bad? Yeah, uh, definitely not a good idea. Using the Fountain of Dreams as your own personal swimming pool for the duration? Okay, Big Guy, we need to have a little chat about how this works.
Improbable Use of a Weapon: Bandana Dee along with Kirby with the Spear Copy Ability can spin their spears above their heads and hover in the air like a helicopter (with the spear acting as the helicopter blades), hurting any enemies that hit the part of the blade overhead (like a helicopter, going sideways changes the position of the blade as well).
Less improbable, but in Super Star and other newer games (except The Amazing Mirror) the Cutter ability, which is typically used as a ranged attack since it uses what are essentially bladed boomerangs, can also be used melee-style to slice up enemies multiple times while tapping the attack button repeatedly while next to it, with the last blow involving jumping into the air and slamming the blade on the enemy. (The jumping slash ability still appears in Amazing Mirror even though Cutter only has its basic attack in that game; it is the Sword and Smash abilities' up+A move.)
Single-level example: the last stage of Ripple Star from Kirby 64.
Another single-level example: the miniboss towers in Adventure/Nightmare in Dream Land in Rainbow Resort and a Continuity Nod and Call Back to it in Return to Dream Land in Nutty Noon.
Jerkass: Dedede is this, rather than outright evil.
Joke Weapon: Sleep Kirby. The "ability" freezes you in place for four seconds with no way to defend yourself, and you lose the ability afterwards. The only reason to even consider getting it is to see Kirby's sleeping face, which is pretty darn adorable.
Kappa: There's an enemy based on them. They're Cutter-type.
Light Is Not Good: Galacta Knight might count, if we actually knew whether he was good or evil.
0^2 is pure white, and in The Crystal Shards, he goes as far as to have angelic wings and a halo. That's because 0^2 is the spirit of 0, back from the dead to antagonize Kirby once more, a fact enforced by the Band-aid marking where 0's eye used to be before it tore itself out of 0's body,spraying blood everywhere.
Lost Forever: In Kirby 64, you're only allowed to fight the Waddle Doo, the possessed Adeleine, and the possessed King Dedede once and only once. After you beat them, these battles do not reappear when revisiting their levels. The only way to fight them again is to start a new file.
Thankfully the the same game subverts it in another case. You can miss collecting the bad ending cutscene in the theater by collecting all the crystal shards before fighting the first final boss, but the cutscene will be added to the theater anyway after beating the True Final Boss.
Manipulative Bastard: Given that Kirby has the mind of a child, it's not very surprising that several villains would try to take advantage of him.
Mask Power: Masked Dedede in Kirby Super Star Ultra. Rocket-fueled hammer sold separately.
Metroidvania: Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, and the "Great Cave Offensive" game in Kirby Super Star.
Mini-Boss (Try naming a Kirby platformer that doesn't have at least one.)
Mini-Game Credits: A very odd example in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. When you give Dark Mind the final hit in his third and final phase, do you expect him to blow up and the ending to play? No. Instead, the credits roll while you continue to shoot at the boss, and the game keeps track of how many hits you give him. After the credits finish, Dark Mind finally explodes and the epilogue kicks in.
Mood Whiplash: Kirby is cute. The world is cute. Even the enemies are cute. And then you run into a final boss that's a giant eyeball. That shoots its own blood at you. And then it tears out its own iris and launches said iris at you like a kamikaze pilot on crack in a last-ditch attempt to take you down. That's just the worst of the Kirby end bosses who look a lot more, well, evil than the rest of the game...
Meta Knight's very existence in Dream Land seems to be a perfect example. Then there's his airship that has more weapons than the Death Star.
Speaking of Nightmare Fuel, Marx Soul. The scream. Good lord.
Kirby Canvas Curse's final level looks like a mixture of something Salvador Dali would puke up and something Picasso would have a nightmare about, rather than the cute, interesting levels expected of a Kirby game. Oh, and the final boss turns into a five eyed screaming ball of paint that can tear pieces off of itself to attack you.
Speaking of the other type of Mood Whiplash, you'll get one for beating masked Dedede in Kirby Super Star Ultra.
The Crystal Shards has a notable example; the first level of Ripple Star basically mimics the first level of Pop Star. However, as soon as you begin the second stage, you'll be greeted by the darkness-shrouded palace and that creepy music...
Musical Assassin: One of the regular enemies and one of the minibosses. Their powers can be taken.
New Game+: Kirby's Dream Land has an extra game mode after beating the regular game once, that turns the game Nintendo Hard by making enemies deadlier, adding a whole lot of new ones, and cutting your health to three hits.
Kirby's Adventure also had an extra mode where you couldn't save, and you only had three life max. The rest of the game was unchanged. In the remake, Nightmare in Dreamland, you can play through the game as Meta Knight, again with a 3-hit life bar and the inability to save. This is made up for by Meta Knight being an awesome Badass.
Kirbys Returnto Dream Land has an EX mode that is unlocked after beating the main mode of the game. While the levels remain largely unchanged, the bosses have been made considerably more difficult. Kirby's health is also reduced by one-third.
Which is not, strictly speaking, a character flaw in Kirby so much as it's a character flaw in everyone else. Meta Knight, who really should know better, often declines to tell Kirby what's up so they can rematch instead (which may suggest a corollary: he's afraid Kirby would give up or not fight him if he knew too much) and often scampers after the fight. King Dedede will often skewer his credibility in these matters; even his noble actions (sealing Nightmare away in the Fountain of Dreams and breaking the Star Rod to make it last) are colored by his vices (lounging around in the Fountain as though it were his private pool).
Nintendo Hard: Think the original Kirby's Dream Land is too easy? Then try playing Hard Mode on it — even the most seasoned gamers will be given a run for their money. That's still too easy for you? Try changing the options to giving you no livesand a max of one point of vitality. If you get hit even once, you'll have to redo the entire level over again. Kirby's Adventure followed suit by having an extra mode which cut Kirby's health down to three hit points and took out the save feature — although its remake Nightmare in Dream Land gave you a save feature in its extra mode, it compensates with Meta-Knightmare mode, which does not have a save feature. That said, neither of them can touch the original game's hard mode in terms of just how insanely frustrating it is. Also, The Arena from Kirby Super Star and The True Arena from Super Star Ultra — the latter is almost as hard as the original Kirby's Dreamland's hard mode, even with the trusty hammer at your side! Helper to Hero in that game can also get downright nightmarish to play with the weaker characters.
Believe it or not, minigames can be like this. Take "Super NES MG 5", for instance. You have to go through all five of the memory-based minigames consecutively. If you getonewrong, then you have to do all five completely over again if you want to get 100% Completion.
Shockingly, the majority of Canvas Curse can be classified as this as the environmental hazards turn Up to Eleven by Level 4, and God help your soul if you are going for 100%...getting all of those medals is just as bad (if not worse) than the True Arena.
Nonstandard Character Design: Wham Bam Rock in Kirby Super Star is claymation-style, unlike other characters. His design is more conventional in the remake.
Also, Kirby 64 intentionally has a lot of things in common with Kirby's Dream Land 3.
The entire "Spring Breeze" sub-game of Super Star is a cut-down version of Dream Land. Revenge of the King from Super Star Ultra is a slightly less-stripped down version of Dream Land's Extra Mode.
The final world of Kirby's Epic Yarn is Dream Land transformed by Yin-Yarn, featuring arts-and-crafts versions of classic Kirby game elements such as star blocks and Shotzos.
The final non-boss level of Nutty Noon in Return to Dream Land is a tower filled with minibosses much like the one in Rainbow Resort in Adventure and its remake Nightmare in Dream Land. Both towers have a hidden entrance above the main one and the expanded soundtrack in Nightmare in Dream Land made King Dedede's theme from Dream Land the level music instead of simply the miniboss theme as in the original version, and this carried over in ''Return to Dream Land.
Not Me This Time: Kirby often goes after King Dedede for whatever evil plot is going on, whether or not he had anything to do with it. Most notable in Squeak Squad (granted, stealing a cake is the sort of thing that Dedede would do - and has done in the past - so Kirby can't really be blamed for blaming Dedede in that case.)
Not Using the Z Word: Dedede is generally considered a penguin by the fandom, and looks a lot like one, but this has never actually been confirmed.
One of the instruction manuals states that Dedede is a condor.
Oculothorax: A lot of the bosses in the series follow this pattern. There's Kracko, Dark Matter, Dark Nebula, 0, 0^2, Drawcia Soul, and Dark Mind's second form.
100% Completion: Required in Kirby's Dream Land 2 (Rainbow Drops), Kirby's Dream Land 3 (hearts) and Kirby 64 (crystal shards) to unlock the true last boss and the best endingnote And while the best endings for these games are happy in their own right, the alternative endings are basically just plain terrifying, especially in Kirby 64.
Point of No Return: In The Amazing Mirror, when you first started a file, there was a series of rooms that contained a few treasure chests and a giant chest that contained the world map. The door that brings you to the main area is a one-way door, and once you enter it, you can't go back again.
Poor Communication Kills: C'mon, guys — especially you two, Meta Knight and Triple-D. If you want to stop the Eldritch Abomination, you really ought to know better than to not tell Kirby and then pick fights with him.
Power Copying: He didn't start with this power like the former Trope Namer did, and some games drop it from his arsenal, but he certainly gets a lot of mileage out of it when he does have it. He even gets it in Super Smash Bros. (although in that series, Kirby usually has to inhale characters rather than items to acquire their power).
Power-Up Mount: Rick the hamster, Kine the fish, and Coo the owl in Dream Land 2; joined by Nago the cat, Pitch the bird, and Chuchu the octopus in Dream Land 3. Also, the helper Wheelie in Super Star.
Also, Dedede in 64.
Also, all of your co-op partners in Return to Dream Land.
The fakeFinal Boss of Kirby 64. You must hit it with the same element it's using. Kudos if you figured it out right away instead of thinking to hit it with the opposite element. And God help you if you got yourself stuck by trying to rely on one of the game's Game Breaker combos *coughrefridgeratorcough*.
King Dedede and Meta Knight are the most well known, being major characters, and appearing in nearly every game since their debut, including spinoffs. They are in Brawl for a reason.
Whispy Woods and Kracko, who were two of the five bosses in the original game, are right behind those two in number of appearances. Even when the characters themselves don't appear, an Expy probably will, such as King Golem and Mecha-Kracko (duh), respectively.
Recurring Boss Template: Half of the bosses in Amazing Mirror are blatantly Alternate Universe counterparts to previous bosses. King Golem is Whispy Woods, Dark Meta Knight is obvious, and the final boss starts off as an expy of Nightmare before ending up as an expy of 0.
Reflecting Laser: "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. (And it bounces off walls, too!)". Also, the Halberd's Reactor Core. (You may have to take advantage of this to get the laser to strike the Reactor itself, which is the only way you can damage it.)
In Kirby's Dreamland 3, Kirby gains a chargable beam that bounces off walls when he has both the Spark ability and Chuchu as his partner.
Ret Canon: Happens several times with material that showed up in the anime. For example, Plasma Kirby (from Super Star) was originally pink, a la Spark Kirby; the anime portrayed Plasma Kirby as having green skin, so when the time came for Super Star Ultra (and Air Ride before it), Plasma Kirby was given green skin.
Ridiculously Cute Critter: Kirby and just about everything else that isn't a final boss. Subverted by minor enemy Scarfy, which turns One-Winged Angel when provoked. Defied by Meta Knight, who hides his cute face with a mask and Badass attitude.
Samus Is a Girl: Inverted from the trope namer in that rather than the manual hiding the trope and the game giving it away, the trope is All There in the Manual instead of in the game, and the game doesn't make it obvious. Unless you read the manual (or the 3DS Virtual Console release's digital manual), it's more or less impossible to know that Kaboola is female. However, in Kirby Super Star Ultra's Revenge of the King game, she has a face with feminine eyes (as well as a fanged smile).
Savage Setpiece: Scarfy, though in some games they will chase you like any other enemy if you get too close to them.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Doing a single ability run of any game's Boss Rush is popular among fans. Although doing one on Squeak Squad's Boss Rush is almost impossible because the game actually forces the Eleventh Hour Super Power on you, destroying your current ability! You can keep the ability by quickly spitting it out, getting the triple star ability, spitting that out, and sucking the old ability back while it's bouncing around but it can fail and/or you may not think of it.
Sequential Boss: The worst offender is the final boss in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, which has you fight against the second-last level's boss again but with more attacks, then the same Warlock-ish form of Dark Mind four times, with the only reason being to have a different area to fight him in and some power-ups, then a giant eye form of Dark Mind, and then a smaller version of that eye flying away, with you trying to finish it off during the credits. Although, once the credits start, you've already won, and are just playing a scored game of No Kill Like Overkill.
Shotoclone: The Fighter ability turns Kirby into one.
Shout Out: Kirby's Sword ability has him donning Link's cap, with a puffball on the tip. And he can shoot beams with it at full health, in a further Shout Out to The Legend of Zelda. In some games, the sword that comes with it looks almost exactly like the Master Sword.
Also from Amazing Mirror is the "Smash" ability, gained from swallowing the mini-boss forms of Master Hand, which gives Kirby all of his special attacks from Super Smash Brothers.
Yo-yo Kirby seems to be based off of Ness. The background for this ability even has the same background as EarthBound's first menu screen. This is because Kirby and Earthbound were both made by HAL Laboratories.
In one of the ghost levels in Kirby Mass Attack of World 4, one of the pieces of background music played is very reminiscent of the Threed section in Earthbound.
Dedede makes a shout out to another in-game character (Meta Knight) in the Revenge of The King arc in Super Star Ultra. He gets an intimidating mask and lets Kirby take a hammer at the beginning of the fight (as opposed to Meta Knight letting you have a sword), and his weapon is also significantly better than yours.
King Dedede: Now, Kirby! Arm yourself!
Said weapon, a jet-propelled hammer, was first seen in Smash Bros. Brawl.
In Revenge of the King, Kabula fires what seems to be Bullet Bills from the Super Mario Bros. series at you during your boss fight with it.
In The Great Cave Offensive game from Kirby Super Star, some of the treasures Kirby collects are items from other Nintendo series. This is including (but not limited to): Donkey Kong, Metroid, and Fire Emblem.
Also from Super Star (and Ultra), you can see Mario characters in the audience of King Dedede's wrestling ring.
Plus, occasionally when using the stone power, Kirby will turn into a gold statue of another Nintendo character. He also sometimes turns into a statue of one of the animal helpers from Dream Land 3, a reference to the Rock + Cutter ability from 64.
A mission in Kirby's Dream Land 3 has some Metroids show up. At the end of the stage, Samus Aran is there waiting for you. Another stage involves collecting the pieces of a R.O.B.
More obscure examples include Donbe and Hikari from Shin Onigashima and Goku and Chao from Yuuyuuki, both being adventure games for the Famicom Disk System.
There's an enemy in several Kirby games that is a witch with a hair ribbon riding around on a broom. Her name is Keke, a reference to Kiki's Delivery Service.
"Kirby Master" is a sub-game in Kirby Mass Attack featuring a logo and menu design similar to that of a certain RPG produced by HAL, featuring music from the Kirby series' two senior sound composers.
There is a gorilla/yeti-based boss in Return to Dream Land named Goriath whose hair turns golden once it Turns Red. Furthermore, he starts to use what looks like Kamehameha waves, and even does a Spirit Bomb in Extra Mode.
Sociopathic Hero: Kirby has shades of this. As an example, look at what happens when his cake gets stolen. Instead of asking around, he just devours/beats the shit out of everything in his path just because he wants his goddamn cake.
Spell My Name with an S: Kaboola/Kabula, Mr. Frosty/Mr. Flosty, Combo Cannon/Main Cannon #2, Aqualiss/Aquarius, Cavios/Cavius, Mecheye/Mekkai, Iron Mam/Iron Mom. There's also some confusion on whether or not Ado and Adeleine are supposed to be the same person.
Is it Meta Knight, Meta-Knight or MetaKnight? The most-often-used spelling in the games is Meta Knight, but his trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl calls him Meta-Knight. And of course, it's written as one word (Metanaito) in Japanese, since the Japanese language doesn't use spaces.
Surprise Creepy: In a series where almost everything is cutesy, the final bosses will catch you off guard.
Suspicious Videogame Generosity: In many modes in Kirby Super Star, you'll know you're about to hit a boss room when you reach a single room with nothing but Copy abilities and a Maximum Tomato (Convenient, isn't it?).
This Cannot Be!: Captain Vul says this in Kirby Super Star Ultra when he reacts to his fellow crew members reporting that Kirby destroyed Main Cannon #2. In the original Super Star, his reaction? "Holy cow! What happened?"
Mace Knight: The main cannon has been destroyed! Captain Vul: Holy cow! What happened?
Meta Knight again in his version of Milky Way Wishes, for wishing to unleash the most powerful warrior in the universe, locked away specifically because people were afraid of it, just so he can kick its ass to prove he's stronger. Then again, if he weren't such an overconfident, arrogant badass, he wouldn't be Meta Knight. And he did win.
Kirby falls for the "help me take over the world!" scheme again in Return to Dream Land.
Took a Level in Badass: King Dedede in his "Masked Dedede" incarnation in Kirby Super Star Ultra. It shows in the difficulty level of the fight as well.
Everything about the normal King Dedede fight took a level in badass. His appearance, his weapon, his attacks...
Tornado Move: A recurring Copy Ability in the series is one called "Tornado", which allows Kirby to turn into a tornado for a short while. Meta Knight also has a attack called "Mach Tornado", which allows him to create a huge tornado from his sword.
The last normal stage of Milky Way Wishes (from Super Star and Ultra) is a side-scrolling shooter, as are the boss fights against Kabula in Kirby's Dream Land (and the Revenge of the King segment of Super Star Ultra), the first form of Nightmare in Adventure, Dark Matter and 0 in Dream Land 3, and 0^2 in Crystal Shards.
The final boss of Amazing Mirror is fought in a vertical Shmup style during the credits.
Kirby's Epic Yarn features two levels that are partly shmups, and two levels that are fully shmup.
Kirby Mass Attack features a sub-game called SHMUP. Guess what the gameplay format is?
Vaporware: Kirby, with the addition of a pink, curly hair on his head, was originally supposed to star in a Spinoff Babies game, Kid Kirby, for the SNES; it was never finished, and all that remains of the game now are a few sprites and one stage layout.
Air Ride began on the Nintendo 64 and was scheduled for a late 1996 release. It went through years of delays until it was quietly cancelled in 1998. It caught the public by surprise when a Gamecube version was announced in 2003.
When the Nintendo 64 was in development and still called the Ultra 64, one title in development was Kirby Bowl 64 — Kirby Bowl being the Japanese name for Kirby's Dream Course. The snowboarding mode it featured likely led to Kirby's Air Ride as described above.
Also, Kirby's Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 for the GameCube, using the Game Boy Advance and cable to control the same way as the original title.
There were several attempts to make a console Kirby game for the GameCube and later the Wii. The first of such attempts was shown in an E3 trailer, but this one fell through. The fourth attempt was finally released on the Wii as Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
Victory Cake: Kirby can be seen snacking on foods in celebration at the end of some games (and at the end of every stage in others).
Literal Victory Cake at the very end of Squeak Squad, as a gift/apology from the Squeaks.
Video Game Flight: Kirby is one of the few characters who can generally fly anywhere, any time. Don't think you can just fly over everything, though - there are enemies in the skies, and some levels are pretty tight. A few games also have a time limit on how long you can fly, namely Crystal Shards and the Smash Bros. games.
Video Game Remake: Super Star Ultra. Also, the Spring Breeze mode of Super Star is a condensed remake of the original Kirby's Dream Land, while Revenge of the King in Super Star Ultra is a somewhat more faithful remake of the original game's hard mode.
Nightmare in Dream Land, which is a remake of Kirby's Adventure.
Not to mention the Super Famicom version of Kirby no Kira-Kira Kizzu (better known as Kirby's Star Stacker).
Inverted with the Mirra from Amazing Mirror: it resembles a mirror (which are functionally identical to doors in the game), but won't attack when you draw near it, and in fact will actually escape if you don't kill it quickly enough — which you don't want it to do, since it will not leave an actual mirror behind unless you defeat it before it escapes.
Warm-Up Boss: Whispy Woods in every game, with the exception of Amazing Mirror which has an expy in King Golem.
He and those in his likeness manage to put up a surprisingly good fight in a few games.