Kirby Super Star Ultra (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 01.01.2010 13

Review for Kirby Super Star Ultra on Nintendo DS

From Kirby's Dream Land on the Game Boy, way back in August 1992, through to Kirby Mouse Attack in 2006, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory's little, pink ball of a character has had what many would describe as an illustrious career, spanning all sorts of genre, from standard platform outings, puzzle efforts, golfing shenanigans and even pinball and racing. The common denominator, though, is that whatever game Kirby features in, the quality is nearly always of the highest calibre. Now he is back in a special collection package that ties together some of his finest adventures, as well as mixing in a bunch of new features on top to increase its value for money further.

Nintendo has certainly not just lumped together a batch of old Kirby games for this new package, instead taking the originals and spicing things up by throwing in a bunch of extra content to make this feel fresh even for those that bought Kirby Fun Pack on the SNES over a decade ago. For instance, gone are the 2D introductory sequences, with them all being replaced by new 3D versions, as well as a healthy dose of completely new cut-scenes that were not included the first time around. Also, a few touch-screen games have been added to make this feel more of a DS game as opposed to an emulated SNES one. Two of these are mini-games, both testing reactions, as players must choose the card that correctly matches the image shown at the top of the screen in one of them ('Kirby on the Draw'), whilst having to flick bombs and worms away from their conveyor belt to allow Kirby to swallow as much food as possible before the timer runs out in the other ('Snack Tracks'). There is also an adventure where gamers can play as Meta Knight that makes use of the touch-screen. Whereas Kirby can wander around, sucking up enemies and swallowing them to obtain their powers, for Meta Knight it is a case of despatching opposing monsters to store up points on the touch-screen, then once enough have been accrued simply tapping on one of the skills shown to power him up, increase his speed, call another Knight to help out, heal wounds or unleash a devastating Mach Tornado.

For the traditional 2D side-scrolling adventures included, such as Spring Breeze and Dyna-Blade, Kirby can go about his business of sauntering through levels (running when double-tapping on the direction pad), breathing in air to fly around, sucking up enemies and blowing them back out as stars to harm others, or consuming them to take control of their powers (hammer flinging, fire breathing, sword wielding, bike riding, and many more - sucking in two enemies at the same time lets the player choose a random power or create a special new one) all on his own. Or, alternatively, pressing X will turn the current ability he has into a separate side-kick with that power (a 'Helper') so that you have a little extra back-up for the fights ahead. Unlike past Kirby outings, some of the games included here really do pack a punch. Sure, there is still the option to 'cheat' by flying high above everything, but since that saps all enjoyment out of the adventure, clearly it is not advised. Certain games are a walk in the park, but as the player progresses, each new game they come across picks up in the difficulty stakes to ensure there is a decent enough challenge for even veteran gamers.

Screenshot for Kirby Super Star Ultra on Nintendo DS

There is even a little twist where sucking up enemies does not grant Kirby the use of their abilities, in Milky Way Wishes where Kirby must save Pop Star using something called the 'Copy Essence Deluxe', which lets the pink ball-shaped protagonist gather many powers that can then simply be chosen from the touch-screen at the player's will, and there is no fear of being hit and losing the ability as in the other adventures. There are also modes where Kirby must take on each of the game's bosses in a row, or do so as one of the Helper characters, or even take part in a treasure hunt where sixty chests hidden around stages must be uncovered. The range of delights thrown in by Nintendo certainly helps to make this the best Kirby game in terms of value for money, yet on top of that it oozes fun from every pore, delivering a treat for everyone.

HAL has also brought back the multiplayer play-through feature where a friend can jump in to take control of the Helper that follows Kirby across a level. The beauty of it is that only one DS game card is required, making it as simple as having a friend with a DS unit to come along for the ride. Up to four players can also take part in any of the mini-games, so when dedicated solo players have worked their way through every inch of the game, uncovering all of its secrets and achieving the 100% mark, there is indeed still fun to be had with friends. There is just cause for this to be the best-selling Kirby game in Japan for many years (selling over 1.2 million copies so far), so it would be a real shame for Western gamers to miss out on what their Far Eastern counterparts have been sampling in their masses.

Screenshot for Kirby Super Star Ultra on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Kirby Fun Pack on the Super Nintendo was seen to be the pinnacle of platforming goodness back in the mid-1990s. Now Nintendo has taken that template and jazzed it up considerably to ensure that Kirby Super Star Ultra is one of the best Nintendo DS experiences, full stop. Kirby fans and lovers of the platform genre in general should certainly not miss out.


HAL Laboratory




2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (24 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


I loved Kirby Superstar back then. It looks like they really did amp it up the RIGHT way, which makes me feel proud. I'm glad you guys could enjoy it too.

It requires great courage to look at oneself honestly, and forge one's own path.

I was just looking back at when this was released. It was a 2008 release in Japan! Smilie Yet Europe only got the game in November, 2009.

I've still got my version of Kirby Fun Pak for the SNES somewhere in a cupboard safely stored Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

This game was one of the best ever on the SNES, man those SNES days were truly great for gaming...
I have this on my DS, LOVE IT so much! Man it's good to play a great Kirby Game, the art style, the level design... Meta Knight's revenge is so good! Damn Nintendo make some moar Kirby games NAOW!
Great Review once more Adam, glad you highlighted the things I really loved about this game! Well done! Smilie

I loved playing as Meta Knight - definitely made a nice change from just being Kirby. I certainly hope it's a feature that returns in future Kirby adventures.

I wonder if the long-in-development GameCube Kirby that's supposed to be coming out on Wii this year will actually be turned into a 2.5D game after the massive success of New Super Mario Bros. It would definitely make sense. 2D Kirby sells ridiculously well in Japan and the US, and Mario has shown that that style of game can sell perfectly well on home consoles.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Pffff now you've done it, I need new pants. Damn right it would be awesome a 2.5D Kirby adventure! ohhh Imagine if they make it 4 player too, using Waddle Dee and other characters which don't have powers to help you out, or even like the N64 title, that would be so cool!!

If they make the game massive and 4 player action it would be so good! Plus Kirby always sells well in Japan isn't it? I think Kirby games in japan are million sellers normally right?

Andrezao said:
Plus Kirby always sells well in Japan isn't it? I think Kirby games in japan are million sellers normally right?

Power Paintbrush/Canvas Curse barely sold over 300,000. Knights in the Nightmare on GBA sold around 900,000. Can't remember about The Amazing Mirror (my fave Kirby, just behind Mouse Attack - I wish Capcom subsidiary Flagship hadn't been closed...between its Kirby titles and Zelda: Minish Cap, they made some damn good games!).

Kirby on DS has seen a massive revival for the series. Mouse Attack and Superstar Ultra both cracked a million, the former only just, the latter is around 1.2 million.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Yeah I had the DS ones in mind, sorry my mistake Smilie. Well, considering mario sold so well on the Wii, Nothing is stopping a 2.5D kirby game from doing the same! Hope so!

I got this game awhile back. Just like you stated. the beginning is a breeze, but once you hit the maze, it's gets real intense.

I was surprised how much of a striking resemblance the majority of the game was to the "campaign" on SSBB, until I realised that both were made by HAL. Having played both, this game is way better, but I guess that's a no brainer considering that this was an actual game and the campaign of SSBB was only a portion of the whole.

The former top user was Keven! You'd probably give birth to yourself 1000 times over until you sprout wings to fly away into the fading sun, that or you'd just turn into a lesbian. Who knows @_@ - L, 12/06/09

One thing that really annoyed me about this was that when you turn around you have to start running again. In most Kirby games after you double tap you run until you let go of the D-Pad completely, but in this you have to double tap every time you turn around, which can get really annoying, it makes it hard to speedily get through the game when you just end up walking everywhere :/

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

That's odd. I only had that problem a few times, but even then didn't it too troublesome.

I only played a small amount of Smash Bros. and had no idea the campaign mode was similar to Kirby!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I'm of the opinion that whatever Kirby GC was, it - or at least elements of it - became Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary. They're very similar in play style, only with a fighting twist. I still hope that Kirby GC/Wii comes out and is in development and will be massively disappointed if it doesn't, but I really don't think it's going to be the same game we saw a trailer for years ago anymore...

Nice one Adam - glad they did a good job with this!

I saw my little nephew playing this. It sure brought back memories. Good to see that they're revitalizing the series for both younger and older generations to enjoy.

Diablo II
"I'll make weapons from your bones!" - The Smith Paladin: I will cleanse this wilderness. Deckard Cain: Stay a while and listen!

Mason said:
I'm of the opinion that whatever Kirby GC was, it - or at least elements of it - became Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary.

Seems a very logical outcome. Might as well make use of the assets and game engine that had been developed on the GameCube. I know there hasn't been a proper 3D Kirby adventure, but I still think Kirby Wii will be more like the SNES/GBA/DS games than Kirby 64...just seems to make the most sense considering how well NSMB Wii and the DS edition are still doing.

Teetrab said:
I saw my little nephew playing this. It sure brought back memories. Good to see that they're revitalizing the series for both younger and older generations to enjoy.

It's good that Nintendo didn't just slap the old game right onto a DS card. At least there were some additions and touch-ups to make it a worthwhile purchase.

Shame NoE didn't capitalise on how well Kirby Mouse Attack did here. After it performed far better than any Kirby game in many years, it seemed set up perfectly for Super Star Ultra (or Fun Pak DS, as it should have been here) to climb even higher.

The fact Kirby was snuck into the retail scene makes me fear for poor Starfy. This 5th Legend of Starfy is really enjoyable, but if it doesn't get pushed, then it's going to die an early death. Clever advertising in the US helped it nearly crack the Top 10 in its debut month, which for an unknown platformer is very impressive.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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