Sixteen years ago Nintendo brought Kirby to the N64. A super adorable ball of murder and death Kirby is one of Nintendo’s popular franchises and has a fond place in the hearts of many adults/children everywhere. When Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards finally released, many fans rejoiced as we finally had a chance to play as the vacuum cleaner of death in 3D. However, when we say 3D actually means 2.5D since the game was actually a side scrolling platformer.
But, this fact did not detract from the game one bit, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards ended up being an extremely fun adventure through the galaxy which houses Pop Star (Kirby’s home planet).
The story begins with Kirby star gazing as a fairy crashes into him. Ribbon explains that she is on a quest to protect the crystal which houses the power of her home world, however the evil entity Dark Matter which has taken over her planet Ripple Star smashed the crystal into pieces and now they must be gathered. Kirby requires no further explanation and embarks on a journey to help the little fairy regain her home. Yet, these two aren’t alone in their journey since along the way Kirby will obtain assistance from 3 of his former enemies, Waddle Dee, Adeleine the painter, and Dedede; with the help of these Kirby is ready to face any challenges that might come his way.
The challenges come in the form of planets, each of these have a few levels and those stages contain 3 crystal shards. They are obtained by various methods, but some of the puzzles can be almost counter-intuitive for example there is a stage which requires you to destroy blocks in the form of an umbrella. But, if you try to imitate the shape of the umbrella as it is drawn you will complete the puzzle (it actually requires you to take some creative liberties, but you’re not given any indication of this at any point). Furthermore this is the only puzzle of its kind and was ironically the last shard I obtained, and only did it by pure luck. Yet, this is the exception and not the rule, but still provides a fair amount of challenge and enjoyment. This layer of challenge actually complements the difficulty rather well since the game overall easy.
However, easy does not mean boring and the game utilizes Kirby’s ability to copy powers to the fullest. Kirby 64: The Crystal 64 lets the eponymous character mix and matches his powers to create unique abilities based on both. For example if Kirby mixes his ice and electricity then he will become a refrigerator which spews out food that actually heals the character. Want to make fireworks? Then use the powers of fire and explosives to light up the sky! Did you ever feel like being a volcano? The earth and fire is all you need to erupt into a machine gun Krakatoa of justice! Or if you’re feeling the dark side you can mix electricity and cutter to become Darth Kirby with his dual Lightsaber!
You will enjoy the crap out of these powers throughout Kirby’s journey and trust me when I say that you will need them to reveal all of the secrets in the game. You see to finish the game and see the true ending you have to gather all of the Crystal Shards. While beating the game can be done by simply passing the levels you would be missing out on an intense and fun battle as Kirby machine guns the hell out of the last boss with zero impunity. The fight versus nightmare is long and can be a bit difficult, but as a kid playing this level it was awesome. I couldn’t wait to destroy the being which had been a thorn on Kirby’s side until this point and in the end it was worth it. Yet, this is not all which Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has to offer.
Kirby 64 came with a multiplayer mode which was hilariously fun. You could gather apples; try to make your enemies fall from the heavens and other types of games that could provide an extra bit of fun for when you have company. All things considered Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards was a memorable adventure in the world of Kirby. You can get it these days much cheaper by buying the Dream Collection on the Wii and it is totally worth it.