The Nintendo 3DS was truly Kirby's wild west. Kirby's 3DS era echoes the franchise's Game Boy origins as it reflects the rapid-fire output and genre-spanning releases HAL Laboratory dedicated to the pink puff at the time of his debut. Even if the majority of these bite-sized games were outshined by Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Kirby: Planet Robobot, the 3DS spilled over with so many "firsts" for the Kirby series that could only be found on the eShop.
If you're planning to play all of Kirby's Nintendo 3DS eShop games legally, you have until March 27, 2023, to download these titles before it's too late. This is every Kirby game you can find exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS eShop before Nintendo sacrifices them to the great big Kracko in the sky!
3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure - Enhancing Kirby's Second Quest
3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure from developer Akira is still the best way to play the original Kirby's Adventure for the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System. This was the third release in the 3D classics series and was easily the meatiest game to get a 3D coat of paint on Nintendo's fancy "new" eShop back in 2011. Other 3D classics like Excitebike and Xevious felt like a party trick with their minimal usage of the system's flagship feature, but Kirby's Adventure was the real deal that made audiences wish for more 3D re-releases. 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure fixes many of the problems of the original release while also adding a lot of tension and awe to some of the game's most iconic moments.
The 3D effect--more impressive than it gets credit for--breathes fresh life into a game that was outclassed by its remake on the Game Boy Advance, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land.
In this 3DS remaster, Kirby navigates Dream Land's gorgeous pastel worlds like a paper doll in a diorama. Background details, like the hazy pink castles in Grape Garden or the distant setting sun in Orange Ocean, really shine while the foreground pops out when using the system's 3D effect. It may not have as much content as Nightmare in Dream Land, but the 3D Classics iteration of Kirby's Adventure is a novel way to play a game we all already love.
Buy 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure here:
Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe - Short But Bangin'
Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe is an expressive expansion of Kirby Triple Deluxe's sub-game Dedede's Drum Dash where players take control of the titular Dream Land king to jump across floating drums while keeping up with the beat of a tambourine. This iteration of the game comes with seven new stages, features the return of fiendish-friend Magalor, and introduces a handful of silly little masks with voice clips the player can put on King Dedede. It may have taken nine years, but this idea of costume customization returned in an expanded form just recently in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe.
If we somehow get another Kirby rhythm game in the future, we would like to see improved background visuals for each stage and a slightly more responsive feeling to Dedede's animations, but for now, the penguin king's compelling package features plenty of bangin' Kirby tunes to keep players distracted from the game's shortcomings. Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe is an on-the-go bop you don't want to miss.
Buy Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe here:
Kirby Fighters Deluxe - Sweet But Shallow
Shadow-dropped the same day alongside Dedede's Drum Dash Deluxe, Kirby Fighters Deluxe is a standalone expanded iteration of the Kirby Fighters sub-game from Triple Deluxe--for me personally, this was the more interesting release of the two spin-offs, but this game also did go on to receive an expanded Nintendo Switch sequel. Unfortunately for Kirby Fighters Deluxe, HAL Laboratory didn't spend too much time re-examining Kirby's copy ability movesets in the context of a fighting game.
The first Kirby Fighters standalone game has some missing fundamentals of the fighting genre, but there is still plenty to enjoy with its offerings. That said, where Kirby Fighters Deluxe thrives is within its fantastic stage selection and its unlockable costumes for copy abilities--like Dedede Drum Dash Deluxe's masks, alternate costumes for copy abilities was a series first that would return years later when Kirby and the Forgotten Land was released. For the same price as Kirby's other eShop sub-game spin-offs, there's a lot to love in Kirby Fighters Deluxe even if Kirby Fighters 2 on the Nintendo Switch is better in nearly every way.
Buy Kirby Fighters Deluxe here:
Team Kirby Clash Deluxe - A Free-to-Play Kirby game!?
A spin-off of Kirby: Planet Robobot's multiplayer action RPG sub-game, this medieval-flavored Kirby spin-off on the eShop was a real shakeup for the franchise when it came out--but how could you argue with a free Kirby game? Team Kirby Clash Deluxe features dozens of quests to take on with friends and computer allies as your Kirby party marches across Dream Land to defeat bosses far larger than the pink puff. Six years later, the original 3DS game is still also arguably better than the Nintendo Switch's Super Kirby Clash. In comparison to the prettier Switch iteration, this version of Kirby Clash managed to provide a smoother technical experience despite being on less powerful hardware.
For all of Team Kirby Clash Deluxe's glory, though, there is a major rub: the game is free-to-play, and as such, the game's content can feel stretched thin due to a currency system that only allows players to embark on a few quests a day. The game's main currency, gem apples that are sold by Shopkeeper Magolor, are easy enough to obtain for free through promotional events and codes, but the game's monetary model gives way to a repetitive structure that can nag the player to spend real money. If you take your time and are willing to log in for a short period a day, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe is a blast worth your time--either way, it's free, so go get it!
Buy Team Kirby Clash Deluxe here:
Kirby's Blowout Blast - A Taste of Things to Come
Speaking of shakeups, Kirby's Blowout Blast was Kirby's first flirtation with the third dimension since Kirby Air Ride on the Nintendo GameCube. This short and sweet expansion of Planet Robobot's Kirby 3D Rumble sub-game pales in comparison to the post-apocalyptic 3D adventure we would later get on Nintendo Switch with Kirby and the Forgotten Land, but it still made fans' brains race with possibility and showed that HAL was willing to think outside of their standard 2D-platformer box.
Most of the levels in Kirby's Blowout Blast resemble the timed challenge stages in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. Each level in Blowout Blast has only vague theming and encourages the player to beat levels as fast as possible rather than smelling the roses. It was a fun distraction, and at such a low price, this was a no-brainer pick-up in 2017. While time has not been entirely kind to this eShop-exclusive game, it's a shame that it will kick the bucket when Nintendo shuts the 3DS servers down. It's ultimately just a curiosity on the Kirby timeline.
Buy Kirby's Blowout Blast here: