- This article is about the game mode in Kirby Air Ride. For the game said mode appears in, see Kirby Air Ride.
|Use Copy Abilities as you race Air Ride machines!|
— Main Menu caption
Air Ride is one of the three game modes in Kirby Air Ride. It is the primary mode, pitting Kirby against clones of himself, as well as two familiar antagonists on elaborate 3D courses - where Kirby must choose a machine to ride, glide, boost and use copy abilities to win the race.
|This action-packed 3-D racing game has simple controls that let you feel the speed and use Copy abilities with just one button!|
— Kirby Air Ride North American instruction booklet, page 7
Controls are exceedingly simple, but difficult to master. Kirby's machine accelerates on its own, so the control stick is used to steer. Flicking the control stick left and right together causes Kirby to Quick Spin, which can damage enemies and rivals. Holding down the A button will cause Kirby to brake, and charge up energy, which can be released at max power to perform a Boost. This is useful for drifting, and taking tight turns. Most machines also have the ability to Glide, which can be done by launching from a ramp or riding off a cliff. While in the air, the control stick is used to steer. Tilting up on the stick causes Kirby to nosedive, and tilting down causes him to pull up. If Kirby's machine is angled well upon landing, Kirby will gain a small boost in speed. This does not apply to wheeled machines.
Tapping A near an enemy will allow Kirby to inhale it, which can grant him a Copy Ability if done near certain types of enemies. Kirby can use this ability to attack his foes, or gain an advantage of some kind.
|Warp Star||The Warp Star is the most balanced machine in Kirby Air Ride. It is the default machine in Air Ride mode before the player unlocks anything. Just as with balanced machines, this machine has no major flaws or advantages.|
|Turbo Star||The Turbo Star has great top speeds, but its handling takes time to get used to. It also does not have great battling capabilities, such as vitality and offense. This unusual machine also charges up very slowly when not in motion, but charges up quickly when braking from high speed.|
|Formula Star||The Formula Star is a vehicle with very high top speeds, but poor handling, acceleration, and nonexistent gliding. It excels on Nebula Belt, but is tricky to use on other courses.|
|Slick Star||The Slick Star is a speedy machine with above-average charging. But its one major drawback is its slippery, unorthodox handling, which can take some time to get used to. All other stats are around average.|
|Swerve Star||This machine cannot turn while moving, but can turn while charging or gliding, making it a unique machine. It also has excellent acceleration, boosting to its top speed instantly. It is about average everywhere else, except for gliding, being below average.|
|Wagon Star||The Wagon Star cannot charge; stopping the vehicle merely halts the vehicle in a spot, without the gauge meter filling. To pay up for the lack of that ability, it has mostly above average stats and excellent HP.|
|Bulk Star||This machine uses charge energy as fuel; when the charge gauge is empty, the vehicle is unable to move on its own. The Bulk Star is very heavy, with great battling capabilities, and can go surprisingly fast if handled properly.|
|Shadow Star||The Shadow Star has excellent offensive, acceleration, and gliding stats. However, it has low defenses, especially HP, making it easy for other machines to take it down.|
|Winged Star||The Winged Star is a fairly slow machine, but has a superb gliding ability. However, it performs poorly when it comes to battling other machines and is very light. All other stats are around average.|
|Rocket Star||The Rocket Star has very poor top speed, but has a massive charge boost that sends it propelling at very high speeds. However, it charges relatively slowly, which is another drawback. All other stats are approximately average.|
|Jet Star||The Jet Star is an average machine, and well-rounded everywhere. However, it has a special gliding ability; whenever it hits the air, a burst of speed sends it propelling forwards, and when it makes a good landing, another burst of speed follows.|
|Wheelie Bike||The Wheelie Bike always hits the ground with a single wheel, unlike the other machines based on stars. It has average stats mostly everywhere, but its major drawback is its lack of control and gliding. Due to it being on the ground, it automatically hits boosts without stopping. It also has relatively high top speeds.|
|Wheelie Scooter||This machine has very low top speeds, but very high handling, charging, and acceleration stats. It also gains speed when it drives off ramps, drives over boosts, or drives over rails. However, it has very low battling capabilities.|
|Rex Wheelie||The Rex Wheelie has handling that takes time to get used to, but due to its large size and weight, it has superb battling capabilities. It does not have great gliding or acceleration either, but it has fairly high top speeds.|
|Meta Knight||A special character who functions like a combination between Wing and Sword Kirby. Cannot copy abilities.|
|King Dedede||The self-styled king riding a Wheelie Bike. He uses his hammer to bash enemies in front, so he cannot copy abilities.|
There are nine courses to play in this mode, with the last one - Nebula Belt - being locked initially. They are as follows:
|Fantasy Meadows||3||A simple loop course set in a grassy field. Heads through a windmill into a cave briefly before coming out the other side.|
|Celestial Valley||2||A twilit race through a mushroom gorge with many pitfalls and twisting pathways. Near the end, a long waterway can be ridden.|
|Sky Sands||2||A race in a scorching desert area, dotted with ruins and containing a couple shortcuts.|
|Frozen Hillside||2||An utterly frozen course set in an aurora-filled night.|
|Magma Flows||2||An utterly molten lifeless area with many branching paths.|
|Beanstalk Park||2||A twisted course with many grind rails and a ferris wheel.|
|Machine Passage||2||A futuristic course with many boost panels and tight turns.|
|Checker Knights||2||A very long course with a long grind rail separating two main areas. Castle ruins occupy the upper area, while strange metal constructions occupy the lower.|
|Nebula Belt||2||A very simple course consisting of a few looping bends in deep space. No enemies can be found here, but there are a few Copy Chance Wheels.|
Modes and Settings
There are three primary modes in Air Ride. They are as follows:
- Air Ride - Play the courses normally, with human opponents or CPU.
- Free Run - Play each course solo with no enemies.
- Time Attack - Play 3 laps solo with specific enemies appearing.
Additionally, there are a number of settings that can be changed when playing the standard Air Ride mode. These are as follows:
- Rules - Change between Laps mode or Time mode.
- Laps - Change the number of laps that are ran (1 - 99).
- Time - Change the time before the race stops (1min - 99min).
- Damage - Set whether racers have HP or not.
- Enemies - Set whether enemies will appear or not.
- Game Tempo - Change the speed of the game.
- Course Selection - Change how the courses are selected.
- Main article: Checklist (Air Ride)
Like the other game modes, Air Ride has a Checklist, with 120 unique objectives to meet. Most of these revolve around meeting certain times, performing certain tasks, and racing under certain conditions or with certain machines. Most of what is unlockable from the Checklist are new machines, music tracks, and different color palettes.