Kirby Spin-Off Games Tier List

The Kirby series is one of Nintendo’s most popular and best-selling IPs. Featuring a pink, spherical creature named Kirby as the main character, the franchise is known for its colourful settings, cute characters, and Kirby’s power to swallow enemies so he can copy their abilities. Most Kirby games are platformers where players must fight enemies, solve puzzles, and defeat bosses.

Over the years, however, the Kirby series has also received a number of spin-offs that include puzzle, racing, pinball, and fighting games. For the most part, the mainline Kirby games have stayed relatively similar, but spin-off games are where the franchise gets more experimental and innovative. Although there have been a couple of misses throughout the years, Kirby spin-offs are usually just as impressive as the mainline games thanks to their unique mechanics and gameplay.

S Tier

Kirby Air Ride

Kirby Epic Yarn/Kirby Extra Epic Yarn

Kirby Air Ride was the franchise’s first and only racing game to date, and despite its simplistic controls, it offered diverse stage designs and an interesting implementation of Kirby’s copy abilities. It received mediocre reviews upon release, but the game has aged surprisingly well thanks to its unique City Trial mode where players must navigate a city collecting power-ups before facing off in a mini-game.

The Kirby Epic Yarn games are similar to the standard platformers, except Kirby loses the ability to inhale and float. Instead, Kirby gains the use of a yarn whip to explore the scrapbook-influenced world of crafts. One of the more visually impressive Kirby games, Kirby Epic Yarn is proof that games don’t need to be challenging to be great. With its level design, Kirby Epic Yarn easily rivals the best mainline Kirby games.

A Tier

Kirby: Canvas Curse

Kirby’s Dream Course

Kirby Mass Attack

While Kirby: Canvas Curse was a platformer, it differentiated itself from traditional Kirby games by relying on the Nintendo DS stylus and touchscreen to control Kirby. Incredibly innovative for its time, the game was one of the Nintendo DS’s earliest successes and paved the way for future platformers.

Kirby’s Dream Course was a mini-golf spin-off that featured clever level design and innovative mechanics. There was something satisfying about using every power to achieve a hole-in-one or having the careful planning of trial and error finally pay off. Kirby Mass Attack was a Pikmin-styled spin-off that used only the Nintendo DS touchscreen and stylus. Although it could be difficult at times, it featured some of the best minigames in the franchise.

B Tier

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Kirby’s Block Ball
Kirby’s Star Stacker
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble
Kirby Fighters Deluxe
Kirby Fighters 2

The B-Tier Kirby spin-offs usually have some minor issues but still manage to be exciting adventures for any fan of the franchise. Kirby and the Rainbow Curse came up a little short compared to its predecessor due to its controls, but the claymation aesthetic was just as breathtaking as the original. Spin-offs like Kirby’s Block Ball and Kirby’s Star Stacker combined the features of breakout and puzzle games together with Kirby, though they didn’t always mesh together perfectly.

On the other hand, games like Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble showcased potential with an accelerometer built into the cartridge. Though it was an interesting concept, it feels like a product of its time, and the tilt controls weren’t always refined. Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Kirby Fighters 2 are recent spin-offs that are based on the fighting game genre. Although it can get repetitive once players are familiar with the game, they offer plenty of stages, copy abilities, and movesets for players to explore.

C Tier

Kirby’s Avalanche
Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe
Kirby’s Blowout Blast
Kirby Battle Royale
Super Kirby Clash
Kirby’s Pinball Land

A lot of the C-Tier Kirby spin-offs are still fun games but don’t always bring something new, and sometimes feel a little too experimental for their own good. For example, Kirby Avalanche is very much a reskin of a Puyo Puyo game and strangely decides to make Kirby into a mean, sarcastic version of himself. Games like Kirby’s Pinball Land, a combination of Kirby and pinball, often feel clunky and far too distinct to work.

Games like Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe and Kirby’s Blowout Blast are simply upgraded, standalone versions of minigames from the mainline series. Although they provide new content like levels, music, enemies, and bosses, they obviously lack the depth of a full game and won’t have enough content to last long.

A lot of the more recent Kirby spin-offs are also in the C-Tier as Nintendo begins shifting toward free-to-start models and an emphasis on online play. While the Kirby franchise does have a few interesting multiplayer games, they simply don’t capture the platforming magic and exploration found in the single-player games. Games like Kirby Battle Royale have fun concepts but the amount of content is quite limited, while games like Super Kirby Clash introduces RPG-lite mechanics that are unfortunately held back by time gate mechanics and microtransactions.

D Tier

Kirby Slide
Team Kirby Clash Deluxe
Kirby’s Toy Box

Kirby Slide and Kirby’s Toy Box aren’t particularly bad games, they’re just inaccessible and fairly boring as far as Kirby spin-offs go. Kirby Slide was a simple sliding puzzle game for the e-Reader on the Game Boy Advance. More of a marketing tool, Kirby Slide can barely be considered an actual game. On the other hand, Kirby’s Toy Box was a Japanese exclusive that featured a few minigames like baseball, pinball, and breakout, but could only be downloaded during an event and must be found through emulators now.

Team Kirby Clash Deluxe isn’t a bad Kirby spin-off in terms of gameplay, but it highlights the problems of Nintendo’s free-to-start models and microtransactions. Originally a sub-game in Kirby: Planet Robobot, it was upgraded to a standalone version with new stages and bosses. Unfortunately, without microtransactions, the game quickly becomes a frustrating experience of waiting. In fact, without spending any money on the Gem Apples, it would take three years to 100 percent the game. As a result, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe takes the Kirby franchise in a rather disappointing direction.

About the Author


I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like these