Assist Stars are handed to Kirby (or another character) by Bandana Waddle Dee in specific parts of stages. When collected, it occupies a spot in the lower screen of the Nintendo 3DS system, and can be accessed at any time when the player taps it on that screen. Doing so will activate the Food item inside, restoring Kirby's stamina by a certain amount.
Only one Assist Star can be held at a time. Attempting to collect another will cause it to replace the one previously held, with the replaced star being ejected from Kirby and left to float in the air, where it can be re-collected. An Assist Star will not linger in Kirby's inventory if the game is reset, or a Game Over occurs.
Assist Stars can contain the following items:
- Energy Drink
- Ice cream cone (and Dedede variant)
- Maxim Tomato
- Reviving Tomato
- Small tomato
Kirby: Planet Robobot
- Instruction manual bio (page 16): "Thrown by Bandana Waddle Dee. Each one contains an item that restores health."