Kirby Air Ride

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Kirby Air Ride

Kirby Air Ride boxart.png

KAR PC box art.jpg

North American box arts of Kirby Air Ride
Developer(s) HAL Laboratory
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Masahiro Sakurai
Release date(s) Japan July 11, 2003
NA October 13, 2003
Europe February 20, 2004
Australia March 30, 2004
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube
Rating(s) ESRB: ESRB E.png - Everyone

PEGI: PEGI 3+.png - 3+

Game chronology
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
On partnered sites

StrategyWikilogo.png Walkthrough
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This article is about the racing game released on GameCube in 2003. For information on the canceled Nintendo 64 precursor, see Kirby's Air Ride (Nintendo 64). For a related sub-game from Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land, see Kirby's Air Grind.

Kirby Air Ride is a spin-off title released for the Nintendo GameCube, being the only Kirby game released for that system. It is a multiplayer racing game that takes place in full 3-D environments, involving Kirby and clones of Kirby racing on various machines, including the Warp Star and Wheelie Bike through various courses.

There are three main game modes in Kirby Air Ride which each offer their own unique experience. In addition, a LAN adapter can be utilized to allow up to 4 players to play on different screens using multiple copies of the game and multiple Gamecubes. Otherwise, the game can be played split-screen with up to 4 players, or with CPU opponents.


All three modes feature the same simplified control scheme, in that only the control stick and the A button are required for normal play. Kirby's machine will move forward automatically, so the control stick is used to steer, both on the ground, and in the air while Gliding. The control stick can also be used to perform a Quick Spin, which is done by quickly tapping left and right together. The A button, when held, will cause Kirby's machine to brake, which builds up power in the form of charging. When this power is at its full extent, releasing the A button causes Kirby to Boost which - depending on the machine - will cause the machine to instantly boost speed by a certain amount (or none at all). This is useful for handling tight corners, but not so much when racing in a straight line.

When near an enemy that can be inhaled, tapping A quickly will cause Kirby to inhale his foe. If it was an ability-bearing foe, Kirby will temporarily gain a Copy Ability which he can use to attack his rivals or gain some other advantage. Tapping A quickly can also be used to activate Boost Panels on the ground, or to interact with other floor objects, though tapping A is not required when riding a wheeled machine.

In City Trial, it is possible for Kirby to jump off of his machine if the player holds down A, then taps down on the control stick. While on foot, Kirby can run around and jump, with his characteristic Flying ability allowing him 5 consecutive jumps in the air before he has to come down again. While off a vehicle, Kirby cannot collect items, interact with objects, or attack his foes. He will need to find a new vehicle, which he can jump onto simply by approaching it.


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Kirby Air Ride has three different modes. All vary in technique and gameplay but use the same basic controls. All modes have a Free Run mode, and all modes have a unique Checklist which tracks the player's progress through the game.

Air Ride[edit]

Main article: Air Ride
Air Ride racing in Nebula Belt.

Air Ride is a mode that revolves solely on racing. Players must choose only the default Warp Star at the beginning of the game, but as they progress, they can also unlock more vehicles for use. Players can choose up to 9 tracks to race on, with one being unlockable. Kirby can copy different abilities from the varied enemies in the track, attack other rivals (with or without the abilities), and try to place 1st in the race. All courses, except for Fantasy Meadows, have 2 laps in default (in the case of Fantasy Meadows, 3), but the player can adjust the number of laps, as well as other options, using the game settings.

Also unlockable are Meta Knight and King Dedede, who can be used in the courses.


Top Ride[edit]

Main article: Top Ride
Kirbys racing in Grass

Top Ride is the simplest mode in the game, which - like Air Ride - revolves on racing. Races are played on an overhead view, with the default number of laps being (usually) 6. Tracks in this mode are considerably shorter and smaller than those in Air Ride, due to the overhead capability, and each consist of a simple elemental theme. Copy Abilities cannot be used in this mode, but there are items that, after a while, fall on the course that can help or hinder the racers. The game can also be tweaked using different settings.


City Trial[edit]

Main article: City Trial
City Trial gameplay

The most extensive mode in the game, City Trial does not focus solely on racing, unlike Air Ride and Top Ride. Instead, racers roam around in a sandbox-like environment city, collecting patches to power-up their machine, in order to compete in the Stadium with other opponents. The Stadium can differ from time to time, with the player adjusting on what Stadiums are going to appear, such as Single Race or Destruction Derby, or can randomize the choices. Racers can abandon their vehicles in order to find a vehicle better suited to their needs. Events can happen from time to time, either hindering or helping racers' progress.

Copy Abilities[edit]

Like most Kirby games, Copy Abilities are available for Kirby's use. However, unlike most other Kirby games, all copy abilities are only temporary or one use. They are obtained by eating certain enemies or, if in City Trial or in the Stadiums; Destruction Derby and Vs. King Dedede, collecting Copy Panels[1]. There are a total of eleven copy abilities in the game.

Copy Abilities in Kirby Air Ride  
Copy Ability Name Description
BombPanel.png Bomb A bomb appears on Kirby's hands. The farther the player holds A, the farther Kirby throws it. The explosion does small damage but covers a large radius that slowly increases in size until it disappears.
FirePanel.png Fire This ability allows Kirby to toss fireballs that stay on the ground. It damages any opponent that drives over the flames. The Fire ability also makes Kirby's body damaging to touch.
FreezePanel.png Freeze When Kirby obtains this ability, he is able to create a surrounding, short-ranged projectile of Ice that protects himself and freezes other enemies that touch it.
MikePanel.png Mike The Mike ability gets activated automatically when Kirby obtains it. Kirby sings and does slight damage to anyone over a huge range.
NeedlePanel.png Needle Not too different from the Freezing ability, the Needle ability allows Kirby to extend Needles that protect him and damage any opponent near the spikes. It can also damage when Kirby simply touches opponents without activating the ability.
PlasmaPanel.png Plasma Very much like in Kirby Super Star, Kirby can charge up his energy levels when the player wiggles the control stick back and forth. This ability lasts depending on how much the player uses it and how much power it uses up.
  • Level 1: Kirby punches several small beams
  • Level 2: Kirby punches more small beams
  • Level 3: Kirby shoots out three, straight moving sparks
  • Level 4: Kirby shoots out a single, homing spark
  • Level 5: Kirby kicks a huge, homing ball of electricity
SleepPanel.png Sleep The Sleep ability causes Kirby to sleep, which makes him lose control of his vehicle and makes other opponents fall asleep if they touch him. He can be woken up quicker if the player wiggles the control stick back and forth.
SwordPanel.png Sword The Sword ability lets Kirby automatically swing his sword at any nearby opponents.
TornadoPanel.png Tornado The Tornado ability grants Kirby a powered up quick spin that can be performed mid-air. When Kirby first gets this ability, any nearby opponent gets affected by the start-up attack.
WheelPanel.png Wheel This copy ability turns Kirby into a wheel. It is quite fast, touches the ground so it activates any switches on the ground, and damages any opponents that touch it.
WingPanel.png Wing When Kirby gets the Wing ability, he temporarily loses his vehicle and flies using the ability. His quick spin is slightly different than the regular quick spin; it sends opponents flying in the air. Opponents cannot draft him, but he cannot draft opponents either when he has this ability.


There are a total of sixteen rideable machines in Kirby Air Ride, not including the machines used in Top Ride mode. In Air Ride mode, all but the Warp Star must be unlocked, in order to be used. As for City Trial, racers start out with the Compact Star and must find the vehicle they want in the city, before they can use it. The vehicles may or may not be available at times, and they can appear in different spots in the city. Racers can then hop off their current vehicle, and ride on another.

Standard machines in Kirby Air Ride  
Machine Name Description Mode(s)
KAR Warpstar Small.png Warpstar 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. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Compact Star Small.png Compact Star The Compact Star is a star that is exclusive to City Trial, and all of its modes. The Compact Star mainly has all-around stats, but trades speed for control. It also has somewhat low HP compared to most other machines. This is also the default machine if players play the main game in City Trial. City Trial
KAR Turbo Star Small.png 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 HP and offense. This unusual machine also charges up very slowly when not in motion, but charges up quickly when stopping the motion. Conversely, this machine turns very quickly when not in motion, but not when it is. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Formula Star Artwork.png Formula Star The Formula Star is a vehicle with very high top speeds, but poor handling and acceleration, which makes it a likely candidate for Drag Races only. It also has poor gliding, poor charging, and poor battling capabilities. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Slick Star Small.png Slick Star The Slick Star is a polarizing machine with above-average charging and gliding, though it takes some skill to use effectively, as it is incapable of turning while grounded unless a boost is used, and will not slow down while charging. It boasts superb boost and speed but is extremely light and not good at battling. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Swerve Star Small.png Swerve Star This lightning-quick machine boasts the ability to accelerate immediately to its top speed from a standstill. However, it cannot turn unless it is charging or gliding, with the former case bringing it to an immediate stop, meaning it cannot effectively use boost pads. Mastery of this machine makes it one of the most formidable in the game despite its drawbacks, especially in City Trial. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Wagon Star Small.png Wagon Star The Wagon Star cannot charge; stopping the vehicle merely halts the vehicle in a spot, without the gauge meter filling. To make up for the lack of that ability, it has mostly above average stats and excellent HP. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Bulk Star Small.png 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 even go at very high top speeds if patched properly in City Trial. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Shadow Star Small.png 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. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Winged Star Small.png 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. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Rocket Star Small.png Rocket Star The Rocket Star has a 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. This machine excels in Drag Races and other scenarios with plentiful boost pads and relatively few obstacles. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Jet Star Small.png Jet Star The Jet Star is a relatively average machine with notably poor gliding ability. However, whenever it hits the air, a huge burst of speed sends it propelling forward, and when it makes a good landing, another burst of speed follows. Air Ride
City Trial
Wheelie Bike KAR artwork.jpg 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, with its only real drawback being its inability to glide, making jumps off of ramps instead. Due to it being on the ground, it automatically hits boosts without needing to brake. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Wheelie Scooter Small.png 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 of ramps, drives over boosts, or drives over rails. However, it has very low battling capabilities. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Rex Wheelie Small.png 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. Air Ride
City Trial
KAR Flight Warpstar Small.png Flight Warpstar Exclusive to Free Run mode in City Trial, the Flight Warpstar is merely a Warp Star with enhanced gliding capabilities. According to the bio in the instruction booklet, it states that the machine is good practice with gliding. City Trial, Free Run Only

Legendary Machines[edit]

Legendary machines only appear in City Trial Mode. In the main mode, they can only be found after assembling machine parts, found in certain red boxes scattered across the city. When all 3 parts are collected, the machine automatically forms, replacing the machine Kirby is riding on. In Free Run mode, once the player has unlocked all 3 parts for each machine, Kirby can use them whenever he wants.

Legendary machines in Kirby Air Ride  
Machine Name Description
KAR Dragoon Small.png Dragoon This legendary machine is extremely speedy with very high acceleration. Its main advantage is its excellent gliding, where it can reach 80 miles per hour in the air. Due to its weight however, it is not easily controlled, and it has only average battle capabilities.
KAR Hydra Small.png Hydra This legendary machine has extreme battle stats, and it can withstand constant blows from other machines. However, it runs similarly to a Bulk Star; it uses charge energy as fuel. However, it takes much longer to charge up. When fully charged, the Hydra can travel at speeds as fast as 124 miles per hour, and it slowly takes up charge fuel, so the Hydra does not need to be constantly charged.

Top Ride Machines[edit]

In Top Ride Mode, there are only two machines available that are exclusive for this mode. Other than their appearance, the two machines' only difference is their control options.

Top Ride machines in Kirby Air Ride  
Machine Name Description
KAR Free Star Small.png Free Star The Free Star is a machine that turns in the direction the control stick is faced, no matter what direction it is facing. It is the default machine for use, unless the player switches which star he/she wants to use.
KAR Steer Star Small.png Steer Star The Steer Star is a machine that turns only when the left and right directions get pushed on the control stick, like a normal star.

Characters (not including enemies)[edit]


Main article: Checklist

Each game mode has a Checklist, which consists of 120 objectives each. Completing at least 100 is necessary to 'complete' the game mode and unlock a special movie for it, which often includes the credits.

List of Available Kirby Colors[edit]





Main article: Kirby Air Ride/gallery

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese カービィのエアライド
Kābi no Ea Raido
Kirby's Air Ride
French Kirby Air Ride Kirby Air Ride
German Kirby Air Ride Kirby Air Ride
Italian Kirby Air Ride Kirby Air Ride
Spanish Kirby Air Ride Kirby Air Ride

External links[edit]


  1. Name taken from Kirby Air Ride North American instruction booklet, page 28