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Ranking the Best Kirby Spinoff Games: The Super Tuff Pink Fluff

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Best Kirby spinoff games

The Best Kirby Spinoff Games
Every Kirby Spinoff Game Ranked

He’s super, he’s tuff, he’s pink, and he has gotten himself into a whole lot of fluff. Since the year after Kirby’s Dream Land debuted, HAL Laboratory has been pumping out spinoffs featuring the franchise’s titular character almost every year when a new mainline game wasn’t releasing–and none of it has somehow been negatively received! From the interworking of a pinball to online escapades with individual copy abilities, the variety of Kirby spinoffs available is vast, innovative, and of course often adorable. In celebration of the pink puff’s upcoming 30th anniversary, this is our ranking of almost every Kirby spinoff that has been released thus far!

Editor’s Note: For this ranking, we decided to group together original releases and remakes due to multiple factors. Additionally, the Kirby games released on the Broadcast Satelleview add-on and e-Reader are not featured in this ranking.

18. Kirby’s Pinball Land

best Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

Kirby’s Pinball Land was the franchise’s first novelty game, a product of its time that may still be worth a playthrough nowadays but is far from being a strong recommendation to any type of fan. Whether you casually play his games or are deep in the lore of Dream Land, Kirby’s on-the-go iteration of the classic coin-eater cabinet is flat-out just Game Boy pinball–and that may not always be the highest compliment even if the game is rather enjoyable. With wonky albeit admirable in-game engine physics for the time, the first Kirby spinoff offers little replayability and minor frustrating control aspects that show their age but still never displeases.

17. Kirby Battle Royale

Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

Being the second to last Kirby game on the Nintendo 3DS, Kirby Battle Royale was met with a mixed reception by fans due to its lackluster gameplay loop and reliance on ideas that failed to break the franchise’s usual spinoff standards. Categorized as a party and brawler game, Battle Royale did a good job at bringing over the world of Dream Land to its merging genre but never worked towards creating anything special with the pink puff’s distinct characteristics. Even in the face of ten game modes and a campaign, Battle Royale rarely catered to the franchise’s vast array of characters as it mostly plays it safe for innocent single-player and multiplayer rounds of entertainment. Kirby Battle Royal is serviceable in short bursts for those looking for a barrage of mini-games but is far from the epic battle its title claims to be.

16. Kirby’s Blowout Blast

Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

A Kirby game that is in 3D? The concept may have sounded a bit unorthodox to the masses before the Forgotten Land was revealed but the pink puff had made a few wild endeavors into the next dimension before–or at least attempted to as many were either canceled or limited by focus. Kirby’s Blowout Blast is the second expanded standalone sub-game that derived from Kirby: Planet Robobot. Disappointingly, this particular spinoff features an interesting idea that is constantly overwhelmed by repetitive level design. If players are ever wondering why the game feels oddly nostalgic though, the majority of Blowout Blast’s content was inspired by Kirby’s Dream Land. Blowout Blast noticeably spotlights characters and areas that were directly featured in the franchise’s debut–which is arguably both appropriate and frustrating when looking at the title’s overall structure.

15. Kirby Fighters Deluxe

Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

Building off of Kirby: Triple Deluxe’s battle mode, Kirby Fighters Deluxe is the pink puff’s own soft Super Smash Bros. styled game. Featuring more fighters, stages, and items than its original sub-game, Deluxe heavily improved upon the foundation Kirby Fighters formally established even if its gameplay speed was still a tad too slow for many’s likings. For a game that is supposed to be played with other people, Fighters Deluxe strangely missed out on including any form of online functionality for its multiplayer. Additionally, the game’s local Download Play required users to either own Triple Deluxe or the title itself–which is a strange departure from not only Kirby’s past endeavors into the wireless form of multiplayer but a rather significant one for Nintendo.

14. Kirby’s Block Ball

Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

In the vein of Breakout, Kirby’s Block Ball has players controlling two or more paddles on the sides of the screen to bounce Kirby between a set of obstacles. If there is one aspect of Kirby’s Block Ball that thrives amongst its competitors, it is how the game continually increases its difficulty while matching the standard curve Kirby’s Dream Land created. Even if it is just another skin of a familiar game, Block Ball made an effort in attempting to utilize some of Kirby’s characters to its advantage. For a game that had to be completely reworked halfway through development, Block Ball deserves more credit than it gets attempting to stray from Breakout’s repetition by adding smaller gameplay additions. Like Kirby’s Pinball Land, the game can sometimes come off as a product of its time–at least it is way longer though!

13. Kirby Star Stacker / Super Star Stacker

Image: Nintendo

Inspired by the likes of Dr. Mario and Tetris, Kirby Star Stacker strongly resonates with its title as players in this puzzle game attempt to earn the most stars possible by stacking blocks featuring Kirby’s animal friends who debuted in Dream Land 2. For a puzzle game on the Game Boy, Kirby Star Stacker is not the finest endeavor the pink puff has made into the genre or revolutionary by any means, but it is a spinoff entry that does its sub-genre justice as it requires some higher-level thinking when playing–if anything the game’s greatest drawback is a lack of mode variety as it adhered to that nostalgic on-the-go arcade-esque highest score design. In Japan, Kirby Star Stacker received an enhanced remake for the Super Nintendo called Kirby no Kirakira Kizzu (which translates to Kirby’s Super Star Stacker).

12. Team Kirby Clash Deluxe

Image: Nintendo

Expanding upon Kirby Planet Robobot’s multiplayer sub-game, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe was the first free-to-start Kirby title that had players working with one another to fend off waves of challenging enemies and bosses. Featuring different “Kirby Classes” (the copy abilities with unique stats) and light role-playing aspects, the Deluxe iteration of the Clash sub-game had plenty of added meat on its bones. While the spinoff does make strategic use of the Nintendo 3DS’ Streetpass functionality, Deluxe upsettingly did not also have any online capabilities–which was quite baffling considering its multiplayer focus yet understandable as Planet Robobot and its spinoffs had released towards the end of the system’s lifespan.

11. Kirby Tilt ’n’ Tumble

Image: Nintendo

Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble is arguably the most experimental the pink puff will ever be. There is likely no other game in the franchise that will ever attempt to replicate its gameplay style and sense of control. Tilt ‘n’ Tumble was one of the few Game Boy games to utilize the handheld system’s lineup of accelerometer cartridges–ones that were designed with a special transparent pink color too! To control Kirby in Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, the player must lightly move the Game Boy around and flick it to jump. While the control scheme does not always work perfectly due to the Game Boy needing to be held vertically, Tilt ‘n’ Tumble stands amongst a niche category of games that have successfully replicated its ball in a box feeling. Anyone who picks up this spinoff will just feel an added sense of weight to their Game Boy.

10. Kirby Fighters 2

Image: Nintendo

As HAL Laboratory slowly worked away on Kirby and the Forgotten Land, fans were suddenly met with a shadow-drop release of a surprise sequel to Kirby Fighters Deluxe. Kirby Fighters 2‘s next-generation leap in hardware was enough of a reason in itself to give the spinoff series a second chance to gain a larger following. Like the original standalone Deluxe release, the sequel does suffer from a lack of in-game match options but Fighters 2 does contain far deeper mechanics that make its battles more engaging and fixes many of the issues fans raised with the first entry. With the addition of an online and battle tower-esque mode, Fighters 2 offered just enough content to make its larger price point worthwhile.

9. Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe

Image: Nintendo

Out of all the sub-games from Kirby: Triple Deluxe that spun off into its own standalone release, King Dedede’s action rhythm-based levels had the most going for it due to one key factor: Kirby soundtracks have always been a banger. If Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum ‘n’ Fun! is the only way fans will get to experience a rhythm game featuring Kirby music on home consoles, then Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe is the next best alternative for handheld players. Featuring the great king as he travels across a series of drums while defeating enemies, Dedede’s Drum Dash is an oddly refreshing sub-game for the Kirby series that only got better with its standalone Deluxe release. For a concept so simple, Deluxe can present a surprising amount of challenge for those looking to achieve a perfect score.

8. Kirby’s Avalanche

Image: Nintendo

Kirby’s Avalanche–or rather Kirby’s Ghost Trap for those outside of America, was intended to be the western iteration of Super Puyo Puyo. While it may not attempt to rework Kirby’s formula into any of its game design, Avalanche is a competent puzzle game even if that is only because it reskins Puyo Puyo’s hit entry. If anything, the impressive late Super Nintendo sprite work is by far Avalanche’s most notable aspect as it also builds upon a story where Kirby speaks–and not in short Poyos, but in full sentences! Surprisingly enough, Kirby’s Avalanche is the only Kirby game to not release in Japan–is it fair that we are not talking about Kirby’s Toy Box in our ranking?

7. Super Kirby Clash

super kirby clash for Nintendo Switch pink puff | Best Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

Making its way to the Nintendo Switch just two years after the first standalone entry, Super Kirby Clash aimed to be a greater spectacle than its Deluxe iteration despite a lack of significant changes. Super Kirby Clash built upon what Team Kirby Clash Deluxe forged by giving the game a gorgeous graphical overhaul and even more to do. Even if it is a free-to-start game, HAL Laboratory generously provided dozens of Gem Apple codes for fans to lavish in during the sequel’s first year on the eShop–and they will need every piece of currency they can grab. Fans will be kept more than occupied with the game’s slew of additional levels that feature plenty of fun callbacks to some of Kirby’s previous fights. Did you also know that Super Kirby Clash is the most downloaded game in the franchise to date?

6. Kirby: Canvas Curse

Kirby Canvas Curse for Nintendo DS
Image: Nintendo

Kirby: Canvas Curse was an oddball for the Nintendo DS–and not because of the pink puff’s return to his spherical form for this spinoff. Over the course of its lifespan, game developers challenged the gimmicks of the handheld by figuring out how to get players to love the touchscreen. In hindsight, perhaps the answer was simple as Canvas Curse strayed from the typical trope of giving players a lot to control. Kirby’s first dual-screen spinoff was an engaging delight that was never hindered by its repetition. Fast-paced, stuffed with long levels, and flat-out methodical at times, there is no denying that Canvas Curse has aged incredibly well as a game itself and a system seller. The most unforgettable aspect of the title though is undoubtedly its bizarre American commercials. Seriously, who came up with the idea of Kirby traveling around with a massive finger–and that closing slogan?

5. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Image: Nintendo

Kirby and claymation always have been a perfect combination, but the lived-out dream suffers behind a curse. A sequel to the first Nintendo DS touch game was instantly presented with trouble as it was designed for the Wii U–or rather its pesky tablet. On a singular screen, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (or rather, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush for those in the PAL region) is a legitimate epic; an adorable adventure oozing with HAL Laboratory’s creativity. Even with a tremendous amount of highs though, the problem with the game is how little the player will get to enjoy the visual spectacle it presents as they are focusing on a low-resolution gamepad. If it were not for its asymmetrical burden, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse would be a peak point for the franchise.

Perhaps one day though, Rainbow Curse can be resurrected on Switch and live up to its true glory, but until then its bright colors live under a shadow of despair and an incredible orchestra–seriously, the game has the franchise’s best soundtrack, going as far to remaster an hour worth of classic music remixes for the Soundtrack Selection mode.

4. Kirby Mass Attack

the super tuff pink puff in Kirby Mass Attack
Image: Nintendo

What’s the only thing that’s better than Kirby? Being able to control multiple of him of course! Kirby Mass Attack was an overwhelmingly adorable endeavor back into the franchise’s puzzle routes as HAL Laboratory explored the possibilities of combining the genre with platformers. Once again taking advantage of the Nintendo DS touchscreen, Mass Attack intricately plays around with the idea of flicking hoards of Kirbys around to complete every Kirby game’s usual tasks. With a barrage of star warriors ready for action, Mass Attack also contained quite a few of the franchise’s best sub-games. From an overhead arcade-styled shooter to a thrilling RPG, Mass Attack arguably has more fun activities to partake in outside of the main game.

3. Kirby Air Ride

Kirby Air Ride for the Nintendo GameCube  | Best Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

It may have been panned at the time by critics and fans for its simplicity, but there is no doubt that Kirby Air Ride accomplished Masahiro Sakurai’s dream of creating a one-button game. Had it not been for the game’s underlying deep learning curve and creative approach to handling its in-game machines, Kirby Air Ride would never have garnered the cult following it has today. The pink puff’s racing spinoff soars with players who take the time to understand its meticulous craft; it is not a game to simply button-mash through as it challenges users to find their rhythm and control patterns through clever ques. There is one aspect of Kirby Air Ride everyone who has played it can agree on… get that Kirby derby started and load up City Trail immediately!

2. Kirby’s Dream Course

Kirby's Dream Course | Best Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

Birthed from the franchise’s most experimental phase of side projects, Kirby’s Dream Course is an absolute knockout of a spinoff. Despite retooling Kirby’s signature mechanics significantly, Dream Course sticks to the franchise’s philosophies as it retains its heart and soul with miniature golf-inspired playgrounds of calculation. Like actual mini-golf, once players put enough practice into the title and begin scoring perfect swings there is no doubt that Dream Course’s precise gameplay will captivate them. It’s such a shame the game’s Nintendo 64 sequel was canceled along with any plans for a follow-up, but perhaps one day Kirby fans will get to see Dream Course return with some new iteration or inspired sub-game!

1. Kirby’s Epic Yarn / Extra Epic Yarn

Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Nintendo Wii and 3DS | Best Kirby spinoff games
Image: Nintendo

Yes, you read that right, surprisingly this is not considered a mainline game! Created in collaboration with developer Good-Feel, 2010’s Kirby’s Epic Yarn knitted together the perfect spinoff for the pink puff as Dream Land’s hero teamed up with Prince Fluff to take on a crafty new threat. All of the Kirby franchise’s best spinoffs fall in line with the idea that the mascot’s malleability can be used to create fresh, fun, and innovative experiences, and Epic Yarn did just that. Good-Feel’s game reinvented Dream Land by taking Kirby into new directions as he ditched his signature copy abilities for a more traditional platforming moveset. The developers utilized Pop Star’s wildly different iteration to create scenarios that Kirby and his foes could not experience before because of their prior world’s restrictive design.

While it may not also be the most mind-blowing rerelease, Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn for the Nintendo 3DS does deserve to be recognized for its additional features and excellent porting job. It may not look as classy and cute as its higher-quality Wii counterpart, but the game was given a heavy dose of justice on the underpowered handheld. The 3DS may have left the market with a soft firework rather than an explosive finale, but at least Kirby ushered out the system with one last stroke of excellence from his critically acclaimed catalog.

For more from our Kirby game rankings, you can check out Goomba Stomp’s official list of the mainline Kirby entries and (almost) every franchise release ranked!

Creative writer, NXpress Host, and Games Editor. I have always held a high interest in the fields of professional writing and communications. You can find me with my head deep in the espionage genre or in a kayak upstream. I’ll always be first in line for the next Hideo Kojima or Masahiro Sakurai game.