Ball Kirby refers to a specific form that Kirby takes in certain spin-off games in the Kirby series where he is portrayed without his hands and feet, leaving him as only a pink sphere with his face on it (though sometimes even this feature is missing). Unlike the Copy Ability, this is a more permanent form of Kirby which can have other Copy Abilities added on top, and conditions for reverting back to normal Kirby vary by appearance, if it is possible at all.
Ball Kirby is Kirby but without his hands or feet. When in this form, his only form of locomotion is often rolling along the ground and bouncing, with other implements controlled by the player necessary to move him forward. Depending on which game Ball Kirby appears in, he may be able to revert to normal under certain situations or he may be bestowed with additional abilities, whether those be for locomotion or for defense. Notably, if Copy Abilities are an option, Ball Kirby will not gain them by using his inhale, but instead gains them by colliding with specific types of enemies. Aside from these differences, Ball Kirby generally has the same strengths and weaknesses as his normal form.
Kirby's Pinball Land
Ball Kirby makes his first appearance in Kirby's Pinball Land, where he appears as the ball which traverses the various "Pinball Lands". In this form, he is capable only of rolling and being launched by the flippers and bumpers, and defeats enemies by colliding with them. He reverts to his normal form when riding the Warp Star, falling out of the board, and fighting bosses. Notably, only his eyes appear when in ball form.
Kirby's Dream Course
In Kirby's Dream Course, Kirby assumes ball form when being launched across the courses. He reverts to normal upon landing or gaining a copy ability.
Kirby's Block Ball
|Originally, Kirby was just going to be worked into the paddles' design, but all that changed when we realized Kirby would make the perfect ball!|
— Text caption regarding Ball Kirby in Kirby's Block Ball, from Kirby 20th Anniversary Celebration Book, page 13
In Kirby's Block Ball, Kirby assumes ball form when moving across the various stages under normal circumstances. Unlike in other iterations, Ball Kirby is not affected by gravity, and is much smaller, consisting of only a tiny featureless ball. When using a copy ability, he momentarily grows back to his usual size. Kirby also reverts to his normal form for a moment when a Power Bounce is used to launch him faster.
Kirby: Canvas Curse
Ball Kirby is featured most prominently in Kirby: Canvas Curse, and is locked to that form for nearly the entire game as part of a curse bestowed upon him by Drawcia Sorceress. In order to move forward, Kirby can roll slowly along the ground, but he can gain some speed by riding the Rainbow Line drawn by the player or by using a Dash Attack. Mobility can also be granted by using some of the copy abilities in this game, one of which is unique to Ball Kirby. Notably, Kirby will revert to normal form momentarily when he is defeated.
In addition to Kirby, other playable characters also appear in ball form. Their stats are as follows:
- Waddle Dee: Waddle Dee has four stamina bars and no special powers.
- Waddle Doo: Waddle Doo has four stamina bars, and shares a dash attack with Beam.
- Meta Knight: Meta Knight's dash attack is extra fast, and his sword attack gives him extra range. He only has three stamina bars.
- King Dedede: King Dedede is larger and slower than all the other playable characters. He has eight stamina bars.
Kirby Mass Attack
In Kirby Mass Attack, the mini-Kirbys assume ball form in two different instances. The first is in Stage 2 of Dedede Resort, where they are launched in a pachinko board. The other is in the sub-game Kirby Brawlball, which plays very similarly to Kirby's Pinball Land.
- In several games, there are Copy Ability powers which momentarily remove Kirby's limbs when activated. These include Ball, Burning (in some games), Metal, Needle (in some games), and Stone.
- In Kirby: Planet Robobot, images of Ball Kirby and other ball characters appear as stickers.
- There are a couple Kirby games where Kirby rolls around like a ball, but keeps his limbs; namely Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
- Ball Kirby was planned to appear in a game called Kirby Bowl 64, which would have been a sequel to Kirby's Dream Course on the Nintendo 64, but this game ended up being scrapped to develop Kirby's Air Ride on the Nintendo 64 instead (though this also ended up being cancelled).
- In Kirby's Dream Land 3, when the enemy Pacto spits Kirby out after eating him, Kirby momentarily appears in ball form before taking damage from the attack.
North American box art for Kirby: Canvas Curse featuring Ball Kirby
Artwork of Ball Kirby from Kirby: Canvas Curse
Artwork of Burning Ball Kirby