Air Bullet (also known as an Air gun, Air Shot, Air Pellet, or Air Puff) is an attack involving exhaling a small puff of air when Kirby or another character stop hovering, as a byproduct of deflating themselves. The air bullet acts as a short range projectile and can hurt most standard enemies, but is useless against most Mid-Bosses and Bosses. It can also be used to interact with various obstacles, including breaking blocks and activating switches. Kirby can utilize the Air Bullet in every main series Kirby game, along with many of the spin-off titles, but it is not part of his move-set in the Super Smash Bros. games, nor is it ever used in the anime series. In later Kirby games, Air Bullets' damage to enemies can vary depending on how close Kirby is to his target (closer shots doing more damage than further ones). Air Bullet is also a recurring attack of several bosses, most notably Whispy Woods and his variants.
Air Bullets appear and function more-or-less the same way in every Kirby game in which the attack can be performed, though there are notable exceptions. The following list includes details about Air Bullet functionality in certain titles:
Kirby's Dream Land
Air Bullet is one of Kirby's primary means of defense in Kirby's Dream Land, and is useful for fending off flying enemies and clearing Star Blocks away. The Mint Leaf item causes Kirby to continuously fire Air Bullets, allowing him to take on the boss Kabula.
Kirby Super Star / Kirby Super Star Ultra
In Kirby Super Star and its remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra, Ninja Kirby's 'Ninja Kick' can be canceled by hovering. By looping the three moves Ninja Kick-Hover-Air Bullet, Kirby can save his horizontal momentum from Ninja Kick and move very fast in the air, his action of continuously spitting Air Bullets somewhat resembling the effect from the Mint Leaf. This method of saving momentum, while useful in tool-assisted speedruns of those games, has been removed since Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
Similarly, Cutter Kirby's 'Sweep Cutter' (press and hold B in midair) can be canceled by hovering. By doing the loop of Sweep Cutter-Hover-Air Bullet, Kirby can hover while still attacking, which is useful for aerial mid-bosses and bosses but requires very fast button execution.
Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble
In Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble, the Balloon item allows Kirby to fly through the air and continually fire Air Bullets, in a similar manner to the Mint Leaf. This is used to traverse specific stages and battle Kracko.
Kirby Fighters series
In the Kirby Fighters games, the Mint Leaf item returns, allowing Kirby and other characters who pick it up to fire a continuous barrage of Air Bullets at their foes. These air bullets are pale green in color (representing minty fresh breath) and are shot five at a time before finishing with a giant Air Bullet that passes through enemies. Kirby Fighters 2 in particular allows characters other than Kirby and King Dedede to use the Air Bullet for the first time through this item.
In the Kirby novel series
In the Kirby novel series, Kirby's Air Bullet is his only method of attack when he does not have a Copy Ability. He uses it whenever he ends up in a fight with seemingly no way to obtain a Copy Ability. The Air Bullet is known to be very powerful against small creatures, but not too effective against larger enemies. Overall, Air Bullets are way less effective than Copy Abilities.
The Air Bullet is first used in the beginning of Kirby and the Dangerous Gourmet Mansion?!, where Kirby accidentally uses it against Waddle Dee. Waddle Dee tells Kirby about Mrs. Parfaitski, who had recently moved into Dream Land. When he mentions that she'll have a feast at her place, Kirby shouts with so much excitement that his shout turns into an Air Bullet. The Air Bullet hits Waddle Dee, knocking him away. Waddle Dee is in pain, and rebukes Kirby for being careless with his powerful Air Bullet, but Kirby still has only food on his mind.
Kirby's first intentional use of the Air Bullet is in Kirby Meets the Squeak Squad!, where he uses it when he is chasing the Squeaks after they steal the egg that he was trusted with. Daroach and Spinni dodge the Air Bullet, but Doc takes a direct hit, which throws his UFO off balance. Later in the story, Doc builds a cannon that fires Air Bullets, and uses it to ambush Kirby and co. when they set out to return the egg back where they found it. The Squeaks start firing away when they notice Kirby using the Wheel ability to pull a cart with his friends in it. The cannon's Air Bullets disappear after flying a few feet, which Doc had not planned. Much to Daroach's annoyance, the group decides to move closer to Kirby and co.'s cart. Kirby notices them, and smashes the cannon to pieces by ramming into it as a Wheel.
Kirby makes use of his Air Bullet multiple times in Kirby: Meta Knight and the Puppet Princess. When the protagonists are fighting against Baron Gallic at the Royal Cake Factory, everyone tries to strike him with their own attacks, with Kirby always using Air Pellets. After two missed shots, Kirby finally hits Gallic with an Air Bullet, knocking him over. With the Baron down, Meta Knight has an opportunity to take Princess Marona to safety, so he lets Kirby stay behind to deal with Baron Gallic as the group watches from a distance. Gallic gets back up, but can now dodge Kirby's Air Bullets with ease. With the Air Bullets not working anymore, Kirby's next idea is to inhale Sword Knight so he can fight with the Sword ability. Later in the story, when Sword Knight and Blade Knight are under the control of Gallic's Malice Stone, Kirby deals the final blow on them with an Air Bullet. This allows him to inhale them both so they can no longer attack Meta Knight, giving him an opening to chase after Baron Gallic.
- Aside from Kabula, Ado, Adeleine, and the Holo Defense API can also be defeated using an Air Bullet, but only during the very last portion of the battle.
- In Kirby's Dream Land 2 and Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby's Air Bullet has a face on it.
- Kirby Air Ride marks the only Kirby game where Kirby does not release an Air Bullet when he stops hovering, instead slowly deflating with each jump like he does in the Super Smash Bros. games. Other games that do not feature the Air Bullet do so because Kirby does not hover in them at all.
Kirby or other playable characters
Artwork from Kirby's Dream Land
Artwork of Kirby shooting an Air Bullet at a Bronto Burt from Kirby Super Star
Artwork from Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
Artwork from Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
Artwork from Kirby: Squeak Squad
Artwork from Kirby Super Star Ultra
Kirby shoots out an air bullet in Kirby: Triple Deluxe.
In the Kirby Fighters series, characters that use the Mint Leaf are capable of spitting out one last giant air bullet when its effects are worn out.
Whispy Woods using his Air Bullet attack in Kirby's Return to Dream Land
Artwork of Whispy Woods firing Air Bullets from Kirby no Copy-toru!
Names in other languages
- Kirby's Dream Land 2 Instruction Booklet (American release), Page 7 and 11