Kirby’s Adventure is a 1993 platform game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It is the second game in the Kirby series after Kirby’s Dream Land (1992) on the Game Boy and the first to include the copy ability, which allows the main character Kirby to gain new powers by eating certain enemies. The game centers around Kirby traveling across Dream Land to repair the Star Rod after King Dedede breaks it apart and gives the pieces to his minions.
Masahiro Sakurai returned as director after serving the same role for Kirby’s Dream Land. He conceived the copy ability to add more challenge and replay value after the last game received criticism for its simplicity. Because the NES hardware had greater graphical power than the Game Boy and programmers were skilled with the now antiquated hardware, HAL Laboratory was able to create impressive visuals. Kirby’s Adventure is the first game to depict Kirby in color. Sakurai had always planned him to be pink, much to the surprise of other staff.
Kirby’s Adventure was well received and commended for its tight controls, level variety, and the new copy ability. It was remade in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance with enhanced graphics and multiplayer support, titled Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land. The original NES version was re-released later via Nintendo’s Virtual Console digital distribution services, the Wii compilation disc Kirby’s Dream Collection, the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo Switch Online, and with stereoscopic 3D for the 3D Classics product line for the Nintendo 3DS. In retrospect, journalists have ranked it among the best NES games.
Like its predecessor Kirby’s Dream Land (1992), Kirby’s Adventure is a 2D side-scrolling platform game. In the game’s scenario, an evil entity named Nightmare corrupts the Fountain of Dreams, which provides restful sleep to the residents of Dream Land. King Dedede steals the Star Rod that powers the fountain and gives pieces of it to his friends in an effort to stop Nightmare. Kirby, the player character of the single-player game, mistakenly believes that Dedede stole the rod for evil and sets out to reunite the pieces. When Kirby defeats Dedede and returns the rod to the fountain, Nightmare goes into outer space to spread bad dreams, but Kirby follows him and uses the rod’s power to defeat him.
Kirby retains his abilities from Kirby’s Dream Land: he can walk left or right, crouch, and jump. To attack, Kirby inhales enemies or objects and spits them out as star-shaped bullets. He can also fly by inflating himself; while flying, Kirby cannot attack or use his other abilities, but he can exhale at any time, releasing a puff of air that cancels his flight and can be used to damage enemies or destroy blocks. New moves include the abilities to run at a fast pace and to perform a sliding kick. A major aspect of the game is Kirby’s copy abilities. By inhaling and swallowing certain enemies, Kirby will obtain powers based on the special ability the enemy possessed. Copy abilities allow Kirby to access new areas and experience levels in different ways. Certain copy abilities can only be used a limited number of times. Kirby can discard his ability at any time or lose it when he is hit by an enemy; he must reacquire it quickly or it will disappear.
The game consists of forty-one levels across seven worlds, each containing a lobby with doors leading to four to five regular levels, a boss fight, and a Warp Star door which enables Kirby to travel back to previous worlds. Most worlds also contain minigames which allow Kirby to gain extra lives, museums where Kirby may easily gain certain powers, and arenas where Kirby must battle with a miniboss to win health and allow him to copy the boss’s special ability. The game automatically saves the player’s progress after each level. The objective of each main level is simply to reach its end. If Kirby touches an enemy or a dangerous object, he will lose a section of his health meter. If all of his health is lost or he falls off the bottom of the screen, the player loses a life. Losing all lives results in a game over. Kirby can touch or eat food items to replenish health or gain temporary invulnerability.