Few games age as well as a good old Kirby platformer so let's take a look at 2 of his best retro experiences and see which one prevails.
Kirby debuted in 1992 with Kirby's Dream Land for Game Boy yet it wasn't until a year later that he gained his iconic ability to copy enemies in the timeless NES classic Kirby's Adventure. I remember playing through this delightful journey countless times as a kid. Seeing all of the different world themes while carefully exploring each level for secrets was a joy and being able to fly wherever I wanted made it feel unlike any platformer that I've ever played before. What really set it apart was the copy ability. Inhaling and swallowing your enemies to see what sort of ability you could acquire from them was exciting stuff and with 24 in total, experimenting with what they're capable of is great fun. And who could forget fun moments like eating candy to become hyper and invincible?
Fun fact: ROYGBIV
The worlds in Kirby's Adventure spell out the classic rainbow initialism with their first letters in reverse order: Rainbow Resort, Orange Ocean, Yogurt Yard, Grape Garden, Butter Building, Ice Cream Island, and Vegetable Valley. Neat, huh?
In 1996, Kirby Super Star released for Super NES and it took the formula that Kirby's Adventure established and made it much more fully featured. Instead of including a selection of worlds, it contains 6 mini-campaigns that are super-fun and offer a ton of variety. No matter which one you play, the gameplay remains similar to Kirby's Adventure but this time around, you can materialize your current copy ability into an actual helper that a second player can optionally control. This adds a whole new dimension to its gameplay as you can share recovery items and even have Kirby ride around on a Wheelie helper. I should mention that the bosses in both Kirby's Adventure and Kirby Super Star are excellent and I especially enjoy fighting Lololo and Lalala. Anyway, when it comes to gameplay, Kirby's Adventure established an incredibly innovative formula for the time yet Kirby Super Star took it to a whole new level so it wins here.
Kirby's Adventure includes a stage-based campaign that takes about 4 hours to complete if you master all of the levels. To achieve 100%, you must find all of the hidden big switches that unlock bonus portions of each world. Plus, if you can clear the game in Extra mode which is much more challenging, you'll unlock the sound test menu. Along the way, you can partake in fun mini-games for extra lives which include Crane Fever, Egg Catcher, and Quick Draw. If you manage to master each mode including the tougher versions of all 3 mini-games and Boss Rush mode then you finally get a "PERFECT" label on your save file that you can show off to your friends.
Even though that seems like a ton of replay value, Kirby Super Star includes even more content. Its mini-campaigns add up to about the same length as Kirby's Adventure yet each one offers a welcome amount of variety. For example, Gourmet Race has you race against King Dedede, The Great Cave Offensive features a huge open map where you can collect up to 60 hidden treasures, and Revenge of Meta Knight implements a time limit. Aside from these, you can also challenge a few mini-games including Megaton Punch, Samurai Kirby, and The Arena. Again, if you manage to master everything which includes finding all of the in-game secrets and treasures then you'll unlock the sound test mode. Finally, you can achieve high scores within each mode although they aren't saved but this does help the overall replay value somewhat. After all is said and done, you could definitely have a few more hours of fun with Kirby Super Star.
Kirby's turning from pink to blue with anticipation so I should really pick a winner which is...
Winner Kirby Super Star
Playing Kirby's Adventure is one of my fondest memories on the NES and it laid the foundation for an incredible series of 2D platformers. However, Kirby Super Star built upon that foundation to create one of the best games on the Super Nintendo and it's still a blast to master nowadays. Whichever one you prefer, you'd be a goof not to play both of these timeless classics.
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!