Overall rating: 4.5/5
By now, Kirby is a widely recognized figure on the video game landscape, especially on the Nintendo scene. With his familiar pink puffball cartoony looks, ability-absorbing suck-and-swallow tactics, and richly whimsical environments, he got his start on his Dream Land quest for Game Boy, then has gone on to star in cross-genre hits and be enshrined as a consistent Super Smash Bros. selectable character.
Although Kirby’s hits have ranged from epic platformers to fast-paced puzzlers, from mini-games to the Air Glide racer, arguably his greatest title of all time was the Kirby’s Adventure cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
This two-dimensional platform foray follows protagonist Kirby as he traverses level by level, encountering bosses, minigames, and an overworld view along the way, which is a nice touch. The selling point of any Kirby game, of course, is his knack for eating enemies in order to gain their powers. Rather than focus on power combinations or partners, this romp focuses on a vast array of powers available; some obnoxiously common, others rare and highly sought. With tightly developed areas, imaginative settings, and seamless control, the gameplay is pitch-perfect, with a simplified difficulty being its only flaw.
Released at a period when the NES had long since passed the period of its pixelated launch titles, Kirby’s Adventure simply looked great. Each overworld had a distinctive theme to its appearance, all elements were sharp and well-defined, and there were just some nice little subtle touches throughout: The way Kirby somersaults at the apex of his jumps, the varying expressions of characters, the black-and-white stage, etc.
The classic soundtrack is of highest quality. The songs are original, deep, and speak to a myriad of feelings, having now inspired many gamer-themed instrumental tracks on sites like ocremix.org. The effects are top-notch also, lending an all-around fantastic experience for listening ears.
Creativity and Innovation
Even if the original world that was created for Kirby is considered alone on its own merits, the game still scores well for its imaginative efforts. Although it is not the first 2-d playformer with an originality-laden storyline, or even the first Kirby game, it does have a step up over the previous entry in the series in its sheer variety of absorbable powers.
One of the nicer features of Kirby’s Adventure is the three saved-game slots, unusual for an NES game of this type but adding a rewarding aspect: Each level has a secret, and even after beating the Adventure, a player can still seek the hidden secrets.
This game is a Nintendo classic not to be missed, showing clearly why Kirby has risen to the upper echelon of home console characters. Aside from a childish feel, it is flawless, nailing four and a half stars out of five.
For a reference on some of the other best classic video games for the NES console, see NintendoLegend.com.