Over the many years that Nintendo has been around making video games, we have received some of gaming’s most acclaimed and renown franchises in all of the industry from the big N. Names such as The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon and most notably Super Mario have helped propel the company in being one of the if not the greatest video game company. Now having said that, these major blockbuster franchises have had blunders of the years, but there is one Nintendo series that tends to remain consistent and a fan favorite after each and every title and that, of course, is with Kirby.
Since the series introduction way back in 1992 on the Game Boy, Kirby quickly rose up the ranks of Nintendo’s prolific franchises and has been a constant role on each and every Nintendo console ever since. From the 8-bit era, all the way to the newly announced title for the Switch with Kirby: Star Allies, each installment has and will be an integral part of that consoles success in some way, shape or form, but what makes the Kirby franchise stand out from all other is the fact that it can reinvent itself all while carrying over its successes.
As the series has expanded, Kirby has been able to take up new quirks to consistently offering unique entries all while maintaining the core concepts of the more traditional games from the series. Taking a look at the more obscure titles in the franchise in the likes of Kirby and the Canvas Curse / Rainbow Curse, Kirby Pinball Land as well as Kirby Air Ride all have reached critical acclaim with both critics and fans alike all being their own creative experiences.
It is not to say that the series only strives on the more obscure titles as Kirby has been able to deliver on fantastic experiences as traditional platformers. While the platforming entries can be considered traditional, many of the titles, especially the newer ones will have a variety of difference whether it be from a visual aspect or new gameplay mechanics altogether, it is hard to put two Kirby games side by side and view them as a carbon copy from one another.
The more traditional games in the franchise have always strived in catering to a broader audience, but it isn’t to say that they aren’t enjoyed by those who are looking for a more demanding experience. Many of the Kirby games offer different trials or rewards to those who wish to go and challenge themselves all while maintaining its pedigree of ensuring everybody can enjoy the same title all while offering unique experiences to how you wish to play.
Combine this with the quirky nature that the Kirby game has to offer as well as being vastly different from another makes it that you won’t receive the same experience twice but the lasting impression remains the same. The high-quality title that the team at Hal Laboratory and other developers have been able to produce with the pink puffy mascot and the versatility the franchise has shown over the years has easily set itself apart from other Nintendo series’.
While the big names have also produced exceptional games as well, their lack of being able to diversify from their set formula and their dependence on always having a “main-line” titles only proves how the Kirby series has grown past the need to rely on more traditional experiences to stay relevant. Having been part of racing games, platformers, puzzle titles and more has helped the Kirby series not only part of a set genre but of multiple ones without having to sacrifice its image to do so.
Is Kirby the most popular or renown franchise that Nintendo has to offer? No. Is it the most profitable one? Not at all. Does it consistently innovate all while pushing yearly releases that improves and diversifies after each title? Yes. It may not be what comes to mind when thinking of the “big name” franchises, but its steady pace of releases and creativity has to be one of the most important series’ that the company has to offer. Which is why Kirby has to be considered as the most consistent and innovative Nintendo series.