|Power up in the city, then compete in the Stadium!|
— Main Menu caption
City Trial is the third and most extensive mode in Kirby Air Ride. Unlike the other two modes of Air Ride and Top Ride, it is not strictly a racing game, instead pitting up to four Kirby clones against each-other in a large open city where the goal is to power up their Air Ride Machines and then face off in a separate Stadium match using those machines once time runs out. During the match, the Kirbys can attempt to battle each other to destroy their opponents' machines or simply to steal their powerups. However, the winner is ultimately decided by whoever wins the Stadium game, which is randomly selected and could favor a Kirby with a machine which, while not objectively the best, is still the most suitable for that particular game. Like the other two modes, City Trial features its own tutorial and ending movies, scoreboards, extra modes and settings, and a Checklist which has 120 objectives to complete.
|Race around the city and collect items to power up then compete in the Stadiums with the machine you built!|
— Kirby Air Ride North American instruction booklet, page 7
Unlike Air Ride and Top Ride, City Trial is not a racing mode by any traditional meaning of the phrase. When the game begins, the Kirbys are placed at disparate positions in a large open area and given a brief amount of time to explore. Each racer starts with a Compact Star which is not very useful for much other than smooth steering through the city streets. The objective then is to find a better vehicle to ride and/or improve the machine's various attributes with Patches that can be found either in boxes or out in the open. Additionally, many items appear which can be used against the other racers to either slow them down, steal their patches, or destroy their machines, forcing them to find another. Since switching machines is a mechanic in this mode, Kirby is able to jump off of any machine he is riding and continue on foot, though without a machine, he cannot pick up items, interact with stage elements like Super Jump Ramps, or defend himself from his opponents. During the time allotted, random events may occur within the city, which may present a hazard or opportunity to the racers, or may just be a brief inconvenience.
Once time runs out, a results screen appears showing the stats and vehicles of each racer, and then they are taken to a Stadium game (which is random by default) to compete with the machines they managed to obtain and patch up. Whoever wins this game is the overall winner, regardless of how well they did in the city prior to the stadium event. In the event that time runs out with a racer off their vehicle, one of two things can happen. If that Kirby had simply jumped off his machine, he will be given the same type of machine for use in the Stadium. If that Kirby had his last machine destroyed, however, he will be given a Compact Star to use instead.
There are nine different stats which the Kirbys can enhance/drain using power-up Patches (details below). The Kirbys can also attack each-other to steal these patches and thus downgrade their opponents. These stats are as follows:
- Boost - Determines how powerful Kirby's boost is after charging up his machine. A more powerful boost allows Kirby to reach maximum speed faster and can also deal more damage to opponents. Some machines benefit more from this stat than others, with the Wagon Star receiving no benefit at all (as it lacks a boost of any kind).
- Top Speed - Determines the maximum speed at which Kirby's machine can coast without assistance. Depending on the machine and/or the situation, it may be detrimental to have this stat very high.
- Turn - Determines how quickly Kirby's machine can turn. Depending on the machine and/or the situation, it may be detrimental to have this stat very high. Some machines - such as the Formula Star - receive very little benefit from this stat unless near-maxed-out.
- Charge - Determines how quickly the charge tank on Kirby's machine can fill up. Vehicles such as the Bulk Star and Hydra benefit greatly from this stat, while the Wagon Star makes no use of it whatsoever.
- Glide - Determines how far/high Kirby can glide with his machine before having to come back down again. Vehicles which cannot glide (such as wheeled ones) instead get a higher jump when going off of ramps.
- Weight - One of the more complicated stats. Determines how little Kirby's machine slides while charging, and also helps defend against collisions with other machines. Can also determine how quickly Kirby's machine falls after finishing a glide or jump.
- Offense - Determines how much damage Kirby can do with his machine and with items. Also determines how many patches and legendary machine parts can be stolen on hit.
- Defense - Determines how much resistance Kirby's machine has to attacks from opponents and stage hazards. Can also help prevent patches and legendary machine parts from being lost when hit.
- HP - Determines the maximum HP of Kirby's vehicle. This is the only stat which cannot be negative.
The Power-Up points of all Kirbys (except for HP) all begin at -2 internally instead of 0 in other modes, but are still displayed as 0 in the in-game stats display. As such, all machines in City Trial (when playing the main City Trial mode) begin with stats slightly below standard Air Ride machines. Kirby's Power-Up points can reach a maximum of 18 (16 internally) or a minimum of -14 (-16 internally). HP Power-Up points still have a maximum of 16 in display, and cannot be lowered below 0 by any means.
|This map is loaded with free-roaming fun!
This is different from Air Ride and Top Ride: you can race around with no designated route or course progression. It's just a big city map for you to explore as you wish!
— Kirby Air Ride North American instruction booklet, page 37
Unlike the standard racing courses, City Trial takes place in a large open area with no defined start or end point. The map itself is an island, and it is not (supposed to be) possible to venture too far from the shores. When the game begins, the competing Kirbys will be placed somewhere in or near the city center, and always above ground.
The map to the right shows an overhead view of the entire City Trial island (though underground portions are not shown here). The areas are labeled as follows (with official names listed in bold):
- Northern shoreline
- Castle Hall (and rail station)
- Northeastern shoreline (and whirlpool)
- City Wharf (and rail station)
- Southeastern shoreline
- City Lighthouse
- Electric Lounge (and rail station)
- Dilapidated Houses
- Waterwheel and High Plains plateau
- Green Canvas (and rail station)
- High Plains golf course
- An explosion (common during City Trial)
- Garden in the Sky
- Underground Skylight
- Forest (Whispy Woods is here)
- Heat Top (and rail station)
- Volcanic cliffs (nothing spawns here)
- Copy Chance Wheel
- City Center
- Star Pole
*Note that the numbering on this map is arbitrary, and the specificity of locations listed could be greater or lesser.
There are a few underground passages which connect the lower part of the city center to the volcano and to the forest area. The three most prominent underground chambers are the garage located under the city center (where all the air ride machines are parked in Free Run), the chamber under the forest where a number of miniature models of city buildings can be seen, and the chamber inside the volcano which is frozen over. This last chamber is connected to the rest of the underground via a small one-way rail line past frozen pillars and leads through a wall that only blocks from one side.
Additionally, the city has a number of interactive elements, including boost pads, breakable structures (like trees, rocks, coral, and the dilapidated houses to name a few), jump pads, rail lines, sky rings, a whirlpool, and two flaming dragons. Of these, only the flaming dragons can actually harm the Kirbys.
There are also a couple of small flowers which can be found in the city (though are purely decorative). One is on the volcanic cliffs, while the other is on the very top of Castle Hall.
City Trial offers a wide variety of items that the Kirbys can use to improve their machine, damage other machines, or hinder their machine. Many items can be found scattered, but breaking a specific colored box by colliding or quick-spinning into it releases specific items. The Kirbys cannot collect items if they are not riding on a machine.
Found in Blue Boxes
|Items found in Blue Boxes|
|Food||Replenishes a small amount of the machine's HP. Some food items heal slightly more than others.|
|Energy Drink||Replenishes some of the machine's HP.|
|Maxim Tomato||Replenishes all of the machine's HP.|
|HP Patch||Increases the machine's HP level. There is no fake, or gray, version of this patch. Any HP patches found in blue boxes is just one patch instead of 2 or more, unless an event occurs.|
|Offense Patch||Increases the machine's offensive capabilities.|
|Charge Patch||Increases the machine's charging rate.|
|Defense Patch||Increases the machine's defensive capabilities.|
|Turn Patch||Increases the machine's handling.|
|Top Speed Patch||Increases the vehicle's top speed.|
|Boost Patch||Increases the vehicle's acceleration.|
|Weight Patch||Increases the vehicle's weight, preventing sliding during a charge.|
|Glide Patch||Increases the vehicle's gliding capabilities.|
|All Up Patch||Increases all the machine's abilities by 1 point. This rare patch is usually found in events such as the UFO, or very rarely in blue boxes, or simply appearing. There are no fake, or gray, versions of this patch. Appears multicolored. These patches appear normally (by appearing or being found in blue boxes) more often when the player plays the stadium Vs. King Dedede, but they are still rare.|
Found in Red Boxes
|Items found in Red Boxes|
|Bomb Panel||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.|
|Fire Panel||This ability allows Kirby to toss fire balls 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.|
|Freeze Panel||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.|
|Mike Panel||The Mike ability gets activated automatically when Kirby obtains it. Kirby sings and does slight damage to anyone over a huge range.|
|Needle Panel||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.|
|Plasma Panel||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.
|Sleep Panel||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.|
|Sword Panel||The Sword ability lets Kirby automatically swing his sword at any nearby opponents.|
|Tornado Panel||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.|
|Wheel Panel||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.|
|Wing Panel||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.|
|Dragoon Parts||These are parts for the legendary Air Ride machine, the Dragoon. The red boxes holding these parts may be found in sections of the map where boxes are not normally found.|
|Hydra Parts||These are parts for the legendary Air Ride machine, the Hydra. The red boxes holding these parts may be found in sections of the map where boxes are not normally found.|
Found in Green Boxes
|Items found in Green Boxes|
|Gold Spike||Kirby receives three Gordos to throw when he grabs this item. When thrown, the Gordos grow to huge sizes. These Gordos inflict heavy damage to machines if any machines collide with them. If the Gordo is dropped, such as when Kirby is attacked, Kirby cannot throw any more Gordos, and the dropped Gordo remains small.|
|Sensor Bomb||Kirby can set this bomb in a spot. After it has set, the bomb shows its location by flashing rings that disappear eventually, concealing the location afterward. If a Kirby (on foot or on a machine) happens to be on this spot, the bomb suddenly explodes, damaging that Kirby or the machine. After a set amount of time, the bomb automatically detonates.|
|Panic Spin||When Kirby receives this, his machine automatically and continuously quick-spins for a set amount of time. This can be stopped prematurely if Kirby is attacked.|
|Fireworks||This items allows Kirby to automatically shoot fireworks out of a cone-like cannon for a set amount of time. If Kirby is attacked, he stops using this item.|
|No Charge||Temporarily removes the machine's charge and slows the machine. If Kirby is riding a Bulk Star or a Hydra when he receives this, the machine does not move.|
|Slow Down||Temporarily slows the vehicle.|
|Attack Up||Temporarily boosts the machine's offensive capabilities. This can be stacked with Defense Up and Speed Up.|
|Defense Up||Temporarily boosts the machine's defensive and speed capabilities. This can be stacked with Attack Up and Speed Up.|
|Battery||Temporarily makes the player's machine engine go into overdrive. Boosts the machine at very high speeds, and is basically uncontrollable. Players riding on the legendary Hydra, however, must recharge after the duration ends.|
|Speed Up||Temporarily boosts the machine's top speed. This can be stacked with Attack Up and Defense Up.|
|Invincible Candy||Grants a machine temporary invincibility.|
Most items appear randomly around the city, though where they can drop is controlled to a large extent. For instance, there are some places where items drop more frequently (such as anywhere in the City Center), and places where items typically do not appear at all. Places where items do not typically appear include the following:
- atop Castle Hall
- atop the tower on the Garden in the Sky
- atop the Lighthouse
- The volcanic cliffs
- inside the crater underneath the Heat Top
- atop the Volcano and along the bridge
- in some of the smaller underground tunnels
- in the river that runs through Green Canvas and the waterwheel
In contrast, there are a few specified areas (outside of events) where items are guaranteed to appear, though these are always blue box items. These locations are:
- two of the three grottos in the sides of the Volcano
- inside the Star Pole
Unique to City Trial are two special air ride machines (referred to as Legendary Machines) which can be assembled during regular City Trial gameplay or unlocked for unlimited use in Free Run. These machines are the Dragoon and the Hydra. Unlike other machines, they are initially found each in three pieces and are automatically acquired once one racer has all three for the corresponding machine, replacing whichever machine was being ridden preciously in a flashy cut-scene. These machine parts can only be found in specific red boxes which spawn rarely in pre-determined areas. When a piece is acquired, a loud sound plays which alerts all other racers, who can then attempt to steal that piece in the same way that patches can be stolen. There is no guarantee however (especially in shorter matches) that all three pieces for a corresponding machine will appear during a game.
To unlock the legendary machines for use in Free Run, a certain set of Checklist objectives need to be met (outlined on the Checklist page).
Locations of Red Boxes Containing Machine Parts
It is important to note that not all red boxes can wield a machine part. There are some locations where red boxes can sometimes or always yield machine parts. However, there is a way to tell if a red box contains a machine part. Any red boxes containing machine parts do not disappear (or spin, if it is the same item event), which means that once these red boxes appear, they stay there throughout the match. The machine parts that come out after the red box is broken also do not disappear.
Here is a list of locations that contain red boxes that contain machine parts. Red boxes found anywhere else never contain machine parts.
|Machine Part Locations|
|Inside the volcano||Sometimes|
|At the one-way tunnel from the volcano to the main underground area. Boxes are usually not found here.||Always|
|The main underground area, in the center of the map.||Sometimes|
|The underground area below the forest. Boxes are usually not found here.||Always|
|Near the river and the water ferry. Boxes are usually not found here.||Always|
|In the dilapidated house area. Boxes are usually not found here.||Always|
|At the Electric Lounge||Sometimes|
|The southeastern shoreline between the Electric Lounge and the City Wharf.||Sometimes|
|The northeastern shoreline between the City Wharf and the Grand Castle Hall.||Sometimes|
|The northern shoreline between the Grand Castle Hall and the volcano.||Sometimes|
|Inside the Grand Castle Hall||Sometimes|
Events, if they are turned on, can trigger at any time. Also, they are randomized. These events vary, and they can help or hinder Kirby depending on the situation. Some events indicate where it is happening, using a red arrow and noting the distance. On the map, a flashing yellow circle with an exclamation mark indicates the location of the event. Some events can grant Kirby an All-Up patch if Kirby follows the instructions in the event. In other cases, the frequency of an All-Up appearing increases in some events. All but two events indicate a siren with the sky turning into a different color when it is going to occur. All events, except two last for a limited duration.
|Events in City Trial|
|Air Ride Formation||A formation of random Air Ride machines hover and travel through the city. If Kirby collides into a flying machine, it falls off and becomes available for use. The sky turns to a normal daylight if City Trial is played at night (which is random).|
|Dyna Blade||Dyna Blade lands in a random spot in the city. Dyna Blade's body can cause damage to Kirby, but her head is a weak point. Kirby can collide into her head or throw items at her to make her give up beneficial patches. If Kirby injures her to the point where she is flashing dark red, she may give up an All Up patch. If Kirby does not damage her enough in time, she flies away and lands in another spot. Then, after she flies away a second time, the event ends. When she flies away, she may release some helpful patches, usually Glide patches. The event instructions incorrectly refer to Dyna Blade as a male. The sky turns dark when this event occurs.|
|Fake Items||Fake Patches resembling the real up patches appear in the city. If Kirby collides into one, his machine is damaged and the damage effects may vary. The sky turns to a normal color if this event occurs (provided that the sky is another color initially.)|
|Fog||A thick fog engulfs the city, severely limiting visibility. All Up Patches may appear during this event.|
|Lighthouse||The lighthouse near the Electric Lounge turns on and spins slowly. If Kirby drives in the spotlight, his machine gets healed. The sky turns dark when this event occurs.|
|Meteors||Meteors rain in the city and explode, causing damage to Kirby, machines, and breakable structures, such as the dilapidated houses. In some cases, the meteors are slow and huge. In other cases, they are small and fast. In either case, after they explode, they can release beneficial patches, including All Up patches. Also, in both cases, there is a slow, even bigger meteor that concludes the event by making a giant explosion. This meteor releases a ring of beneficial patches, including All Up patches. The sky turns very dark red when this event occurs.|
|Rowdy Charge Tank||This event is similar to collecting a Battery, but lasting for a longer duration. The machines turn white and move very fast, out of control.|
|Huge Pillar||A large, pink and yellow pillar appears in random spot in the city. It is destructible. If Kirby breaks it, the pillar releases several items, including up patches, Copy Ability panels, offense items, and food. The sky turns to a grayish color when this event occurs.|
|Rail Station Fire||All five rail stations catch on fire, making them temporarily unavailable. If Kirby goes too near to the fire, his machine may be damaged. The sky turns reddish when this event occurs.|
|Restoration Area||Unlike other events, a siren does not preclude this one. Three glowing restoration circles appear throughout the city, even in the water. If Kirby drives over one, the area restores the machine's health (at a slower rate than the lighthouse), if the health is not at maximum. Also, restoration areas can be depleted if too much HP is being restored. This is indicated when the restoration area is flashing. When area is depleted, it turns dark blue and shuts down, making its ability to restore health gone. These areas, once they appear, are present for the rest of the match.|
|Item Bounce||This event causes items (including patches, Copy Ability panels, and boxes) to bounce high and uncontrollably. Machine parts are not affected by this event. The sky turns light purple when this event occurs. All Up Patches may appear in this event.|
|Same Items||All boxes begin containing the same item. This item can be a patch (including gray ones), food, Copy Ability panel, or an item found in green boxes. The boxes rotate, indicating this. Boxes containing machine parts do not rotate.|
|Secret Chamber||This event is unique, since there is no siren to indicate this. In this event, a storage area in the Grand Castle Hall opens, revealing six of an up patch, food, or other item. Once the vault is opened, it stays open for the rest of the match. The items disappear eventually if they are not collected.|
|Tac||Tac appears in a random spot, in the Grand Castle Hall, underneath the forest, inside the volcano, in the tunnel inside the volcano, in the Electric Lounge, or underneath the main area. He can drop (colored) patches and food. If Kirby collides with him, Kirby can receive up patches and food. If Kirby has a high offense build, Tac may release an All Up patch if he is damaged. After he is defeated, he flies up and drops up patches, Copy Ability panels, and food. The sky turns dark in this event.|
|U.F.O.||A giant U.F.O. hovers above the city. If Kirby is on the ground, the camera may angle and show the U.F.O. However, the top of the U.F.O. always contains an All Up patch in the middle. Other patches surround the All Up patch, and some are even temporary patches including the Battery or even one or more All Up patches. These patches may disappear before the event is over. The sky turns a dark sky blue when this event occurs.|
Settings and Modes
The following modes are available in City Trial:
- City Trial - The main mode, where racers are placed in the city and must grab powerups before time runs out to compete in the Stadium.
- Stadium - Play any of the unlocked Stadium modes directly, using standard-power machines. Separate high-score tables are kept for this mode.
- Free Run - Play in the city with no items, no events, and no time limit. All of the available machines are parked in the main underground area in the city center. Cannot be played with CPUs.
Additionally, the following rules can be set for the main City Trial mode:
- Time - Set the time limit in the city (3 - 7 minutes).
- Game Tempo - Set the speed of the game.
- Stadium - Set which type of Stadium will appear at the end.
- Events - Set whether or not events will happen in the city.
- Main article: Checklist (City Trial)
Like the other two modes, City Trial has a Checklist, which can unlock certain features as objectives are met. Filling in 100 boxes is necessary to see the ending movie.
- A great number of the musical arrangements used in City Trial (particularly the events) are taken directly from the original Japanese version of Kirby: Right Back At Ya!.
- It is possible to unlock Meta Knight and King Dedede for use in Free Run mode. However, neither of them can 'disembark' in the same way that Kirby can, meaning that they can only have limited interaction with the air ride machines parked underground.
- The artwork depicting City Trial has Red Kirby riding a Flight Warpstar. Since that particular vehicle can only be used in Free Run, the specific scenario depicted is impossible without modifying the game.
- Additionally, Free Run in City Trial is the only place in Kirby Air Ride where the Flight Warpstar can be used in normal gameplay.
- City Trial served as the inspiration for another game mode in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS called Smash Run. The large map, combined with the task of collecting powerups before time runs out before competing in a final match are the main examples.