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The Top 10 Copy Abilities in the Kirby Series
I’ve always been a pretty consistent fan of the colour pink, in part due to my fascination with Kirby, the wonderfully round hero of the Kirby series, one of Nintendo’s long running staple series and the brainchild of Masahiro Sakurai, who you probably know for his work on Super Smash Bros or Kid Icarus: Uprising.
Kirby is known for his ability to copy the powers of his enemies, and it is that very aspect which has always kept the series interesting. Whether it’s the way long term abilities have developed since Kirby’s Adventure introduced the concept in 1993, or seeing the impact of new abilities, it’s hard to imagine the series without them.
Of course, the first Kirby game, Kirby’s Dream Land, didn’t have them – but most games don’t get everything right on the first try. The introduction of copying an enemy’s powers likely saved the series from falling into general obscurity.
With all that being said, the purpose of this article is to use my many years of Kirby experience, coupled with some good old fashioned, hand written charts, to create a list of my personal Top 10 Kirby Copy Abilities. As this is a subjective list, I’m expecting you may disagree with some choices, or may be saddened to not see your favorite copy power in there. If so, let me know in the comments. Also, none of the combination powers from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards are eligible for this list – single abilities only! With Kirby Triple Deluxe on the horizon (a game we here at Leviathyn are excited for, by the way), what better time to put Kirby under the microscope?
One of the more iconic abilities, Kirby is absolutely adorable with his red and white parasol in tow, and while the parasol doesn’t do a lot in the way of damage, its ranking comes based on utility. For starters, it can be used while underwater – a factor that came into play consistently when constructing this list.
Parasol attacks in simple ways, including a forward flick, a drill attack activated out of a dash which grants invincibility frames in Return to Dream Land, and a diving move. It also has a throwing move that can be activated on weaker enemies, and the parasol itself is capable of doing damage to enemies that touch it. Finally, the parasol slows Kirby’s descending speed and causes him to sway, and the sway is just adorable.
One of the stranger abilities Kirby can come across, UFO is difficult to find in the few games in which it appears, and it just may have stolen a spot from a more traditional Kirby ability due to being strange. You might even say that it abducted the #9 spot from something more deserving.
So why do I like the UFO power so much? It’s odd since there’s actually several reasons I can think of off the top of my head that make the UFO seem pretty awful, like its inability to interact with both ladders and floors. Unlike other forms, which can go through certain types of floors, UFO Kirby is unable to do so. Add in the fact that in several of its appearances, the UFO ability can’t be brought into the games’ hub worlds, and you’re definitely asking – how is this power on the list?
The UFO’s capability to fly smoothly and fire four different types of lasers depending on how long you hold down your B button makes it a fun power up to use, and let’s remember that we’re talking about the Kirby series here – cuteness goes a long way and if there’s one thing Kirby piloting a UFO is, it’s cute. It’s also one of the few traditional power ups that appear in Epic Yarn, so it gets some credit for that too.
Here’s a much more serious choice, because explosives are always serious business. Bomb Kirby is pretty special due to his ability to function at range, rather than a focus at attacking enemies up close. While Bomb doesn’t offer a wide variety of attacks, the bombs can be thrown at varying angles, bowled across the ground or set until their inevitable explosion.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of thought to use the Bomb ability effectively, and that’s certainly one of its nicest traits. You want your enemies to die, so you chuck bombs at them until they do – it’s simple.
Placing Stone on this list was a foregone conclusion – I knew it had to be on it, as it is another ability of Kirby’s most recognizable abilities. It’s also one of the most useful, and capable of doing lots of damage, as well as providing an excellent defensive power for Kirby to use.
So why isn’t it ranked higher? Well, let’s face it – Stone is a pretty boring ability. Until Return to Dream Land, it didn’t even have a way of doing any sort of attack outside of transforming into various heavy items and either crashing down onto an enemy’s head or sliding down a slope into them. Even with that game’s uppercut move, Stone is a predictable and overly safe way to play any Kirby title. The amazing defense it can provide will make exciting encounters into a slow repetition of transformation, then waiting until the boss is somewhere else on screen.
I do have to acknowledge Stone’s use in activating certain types of switches which need to be pounded into the ground, but another power further down this list can do the same, and is actually pretty fun to use.
Another example of great simplicity, Sword is easily recognizable due to the Link inspired hat Kirby dons with a sword in hand. Sword is easy to obtain in the Kirby games, and many of you probably remember Meta Knight offering the ability up so that you could duel him on equal terms.
Sword has several advantages when it appears in the Kirby games where abilities have multiple attacks, which has been a consistent consideration throughout this list. Sword performs very well with its several different attacks, including a rapid fire slashing attack, a spin attack, and sword beams at full health. Have I mentioned how clearly this ability is influenced by The Legend of Zelda series? That’s a bonus in my book. Add in the ability to attack underwater, and Sword is one of my most commonly used powers in any Kirby game.
It’s probably the fastest ability in the entire Kirby series, which means it can dish out a lot of damage very quickly, and get out of tricky situations. Its basic attack, which involves Kirby throwing a kunai across the screen, can be spammed very quickly, and it’s a projectile weapon, which adds to its usefulness. The kunai itself isn’t terribly powerful, but you can toss so many of them so fast that your enemy often doesn’t have the chance to react.
If they get too close, Kirby can swing his katana and can create a shockwave with the weapon, damaging enemies heavily. Not quick enough with that? Upon taking damage, Ninja Kirby can disappear briefly, keeping himself safe.
Ninja Kirby also has great movement, capable of sticking to walls, and in Squeak Squad, can even walk on water. While these can be useful abilities, I’ve found myself fighting with the games a little bit to get Kirby off a wall, so that’s unfortunate. Still, I really like the Ninja power up, but there’s still several power ups that deserve a nod over it.
Outside of one time use abilities like Crash, Hammer is easily the hardest hitting ability Kirby can come across. Even with its most basic attacks, Hammer will smack enemies hard, can do so underwater, and hit down stakes like Stone, while functioning as an absolutely solid combat ability.
Hammer does have one particular move, known as the Hammer Flip, which while being incredibly close range, does insane damage – more than any single attack, and if used probably, can bash bosses to pieces with little difficult.
In fact, it’s that power which actually keeps Hammer from being the ultimate power up, in my eyes. There’s something about being too powerful that leads to a lack of excitement, and that’s what I feel Hammer does.
I’m a big sucker for the elemental powers in the Kirby series, although recent additions like Water and Leaf haven’t proved themselves to me in the way a power like Ice has.
So why do I like Ice so much? It’s a simple ability, with Kirby’s running replaced by ice skating and the ability to spew an icy breath forward. This blast is capable of freezing weak enemies, turning them into large ice blocks that Kirby can kick, leading to a nice use as a projectile weapon.
In addition to his freezing breath, Ice Kirby has several other useful moves that can be activated in the air or while in a dash. Both surround Kirby in an icy aura, one spreading outwards (in the dash attack), and the other rotating around Kirby (while moving in the air). Both of these attacks can also cause the freezing effect, making Ice Kirby an excellent tool for stopping enemies in their tracks, and tossing them all over the place as comically sized ice cubes.
Fire typically defeats Ice and in this list, that common element of chemistry and matter isn’t going to be dismissed. Fire is very much like Ice, in that Kirby’s main attack involves spewing the element, and they even have a similar aerial attack.
Fire Kirby also has a great dashing move which involves turning into a fireball and charging forward, and it’s also usable in the air. Fire Kirby can also turn into a flaming wheel and speed along the ground.
Most importantly, Fire Kirby is capable of doing some of the highest amounts of damage from any copy ability with his Fireball Inferno. Start breathing fire, but hold the directional pad back towards Kirby, and he will ignite himself, turning himself into a flaming pillar for as long as you hold the attack button. Any enemy touching the fire will be severely damaged, and this attack can be used to damage bosses over and over again, as long as they remain in the fire.
While the Fireball Inferno isn’t without problems, its massive damage output makes up for being stationary, and its relatively slow starting animation. With a move this good, you’re asking what ability could possibly be better than Fire. You’ve come this far, I’m sure you’re prepared…
Clearly, the ability to take a nap in front of your enemies is the most powerful one of all. Nothing can possibly compare to Sleep and the many different scenarios in which it excels over every other power up in the game. Rock on, Kirby!
I felt obligated to include that little joke, as it was one of the first things that came into my head when brainstorming this list. But now, let’s seriously discuss what I feel is the most powerful and most useful Kirby series power up.
By the way, I’m talking specifically about the Return to Dream Land iteration of Spark, which takes the original Spark power up and combines it with the wonderful Plasma ability from Kirby Super Star. While Spark initially did little more than generate an electric field around Kirby, shielding him from harm and electrocuting his enemies, the combination with Plasma turns Spark into the best weapon you can ask for.
By shaking your Wii Remote, or rocking your d-pad, Kirby builds up a field of electricity around him that will persist until you use an attack. This field looks cool, and sounds awesome with its crackling sparks – plus it’ll do small amounts of damage to enemies and keep them out of your business. The more you shake, the more it charges, until it reaches a maximum charge. At this point, the shot you can fire will do as much damage as a hit of Fireball Inferno, and it has a whole screen of range. This is Spark’s best advantage – it’s capable of doing a lot of damage without ever getting close to enemies.
All these wonderful things make up why Spark is a great ability, and why I actively seek it out whenever I play. There is simply nothing about the power up that I dislike, and electrifying your enemies is oh so satisfying.
As a note, you should be looking out for our oncoming “Tales from the Game Shelf” articles, which will be where you’ll want to comment with your favorite game stories for a chance to win a copy of Double Fine’s The Cave on the PS3!