Kirby's Block Ball
Kirby's Block Ball is a spin-off puzzle game in the Kirby series released on the Game Boy in 1995 in Japan and overseas in 1996. It was released again on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in 2011 in Japan and 2012 overseas. Kirby's Block Ball is based on Breakout, with Kirby serving as the ball and the player controlling the paddles for the most part. The game takes place over eleven distinct stages, each of which are broken up into separate rounds.
Like most of the other puzzles spin-off titles of this era, the game has a distinctive Kirby spin to the genre it is based on. In addition to breaking blocks, Kirby must also contend with enemies, bosses, and special items and power-ups. He can also utilize a limited number of copy abilities to clear through blocks more efficiently and deal extra damage to foes. Finally, there are a number of Sub-Games which can be accessed as bonus material, and there is a False Ending if the player does not satisfy a certain score threshold in each stage.
Kirby's Block Ball was not developed internally by HAL Laboratory. Instead, development of the game was handled primarily by Nintendo R&D1, the division of Nintendo headed by Gunpei Yokoi, which created the Game Boy hardware and titles such as the Metroid and Wario Land series.
Kirby's Block Ball plays in a very similar fashion to a classic Breakout-style game, though it possesses a few unique actions which affect how Kirby moves about the area. For the most part, the player can only control the paddles, but the use of the B button allows Kirby to use his Copy Ability if he has one to varying effect. The controls are as follows:
- +Control Pad - move paddles, navigate through menus and map
- A - shoot ball, flex paddles (flexing a paddle just before the ball hits causes Kirby to assume full size momentarily), select menu options
- B - use Copy Ability, select ability after hitting an Ability Changer
- Start - pauses the game
- Select - Return to map screen while paused (stage must be cleared to do this)
When serving a new ball or starting a new area, the player is given the opportunity to fire the ball in a direction determined by a shifting arrow which initially appears above the paddle. Once in motion, Kirby - in ball form or otherwise - will be deflected in different ways depending on how he hits a paddle. If he hits the center, he will bounce off in a mirror-like fashion, but if he hits the stars on the sides, he can have his course altered in more oblique ways. It is often necessary to position the paddles in a way that deflects Kirby appropriately to aim more precisely for any given target.
King Dedede steals the five Sparkling Stars and hides them inside his castle. Kirby flies his Warp Star up to Blockworld and conquers each stage in an attempt to reach Dedede. To reach the castle, Kirby must pass through the ten surrounding lands and defeat the boss in each one. If he clears the tenth stage and defeats Brobo without passing the Border Line score on all ten stages, a False Ending will play where Kirby returns to find the fountain still missing, and goes off to find it.
Once all ten prior areas are cleared with the Border Line score reached, a bridge to the castle forms, and Kirby defeats his nemesis at the castle. The Sparkling Stars destroy Dedede's stronghold and reveal that the fountain had been the structure's foundation. With the fountain now free, Kirby dances in its waters as the credits roll.
Kirby's Block Ball plays similarly to a standard Breakout game, though it is laced with many elements from the Kirby series. The objective is to traverse each stage's rounds by breaking blocks and defeating the enemies that appear. This is done by having Kirby slam into them after being launched from a paddle. Often, these paddles lay over beds of spikes, and Kirby will be KO'd if he hits the spikes in ball form. If he runs out of lives, Kirby will have to restart the stage.
To aid Kirby in breaking blocks and enemies, the player can press the A button when Kirby hits the paddle to give him a boost. There are also a small handful of items and Copy Abilities which will give Kirby additional tools to utilize. Each stage ends with a Boss fight, which is defeated by having Kirby slam into them repeatedly. Once the stage is clear, the final score is calculated based on a number of factors (details below). There is a special score threshold in each stage called the 'border line score' which the player needs to exceed in order to access the final stage in the game.
Stages & Rounds
Kirby's Block Ball consists of 11 stages, each consisting of distinct areas, or rounds. Each of the first ten stages consists of three Block Areas, a Target-Shooting Area, and a Boss Area. Stage 11 is locked away until the Border Line score is met on each prior stage. The following table lists each stage and summarizes their contents:
|Stages in Kirby's Block Ball|
|Stage Nr.||Rounds||Border Line Score||Boss(es)||Notes|
|Stage 1||5||120000||Big Cappy||The Warp Star is in Round 2. The Switch Star is in Round 3.|
|Stage 2||5||120000||Big Squishy||The Warp Star is in Round 3. The Switch Star is in Round 2.|
|Stage 3||5||125000||Big Kabu||The Warp Star is in Round 1. The Switch Star is in Rounds 2 & 3.|
|Stage 4||5||125000||Poppy Bros. Sr.||The Switch Star is in Round 3.|
|Stage 5||5||120000||Mr. Shine & Mr. Bright||The Warp Star is in Round 3. The Switch Star is in Round 2.|
|Stage 6||5||120000||Mr. Frosty||The Warp Star is in Round 3. The Switch Star is in Rounds 1, 2, & 3.|
|Stage 7||5||125000||Kracko||The Warp Star is in Round 1. The Switch Star is in Rounds 1, 2, & 3.|
|Stage 8||5||138000||Whispy Woods||The Switch Star is in Rounds 1, 2, & 3.|
|Stage 9||5||120000||Kaboola||The Switch Star is in Round 3.|
|Stage 10||5||120000||Brobo||The Warp Star is in Round 1. The Switch Star is in Rounds 2 & 3.|
|Stage 11||7||N/A||King Dedede||This stage is accessible once the border line scores are met in the prior ten.|
Kirby can play one of these if he touches a Warp Star in any of the Block Areas. the player can choose between any of them, but can only play one before returning to the normal stage:
- Burn (obtained by hitting Flamer) - Kirby turns into a fireball and flies straight upward until he hits an obstacle, passing through standard blocks.
- Needle (obtained by hitting Spikey) - Kirby halts and flares up in spikes for a moment. When used near a paddle, Kirby will stick to it and can be re-served.
- Spark (obtained by hitting Sparky) - Kirby flares up with electricity for a moment while traveling, destroying blocks along the way.
- Stone (obtained by hitting Rocky) - Kirby turns into a stone and falls straight down until he hits an obstacle, passing through standard blocks.
Copy Abilities deal double damage to bosses and score double points on blocks and enemies. They are lost if Kirby hits the spike beds.
Enemies and objects
|Regular enemies in Kirby's Block Ball|
|300||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A round fish with goggles that moves back and forth horizontally.|
|600 per hit||Block Flip||A squared-off block creature that stands in place and takes two hits to defeat normally.|
|600||Crash||A round black bomb with a skull painted on it and feet that stands in place.|
|300||Block Flip||A small round white ghost with its tongue sticking out that floats in place.|
|600||Ability Changer||A spring-bound creature with a bowtie which bounces in place.|
|600 per hit||Crash||A small beady-eyed climber who slowly moves up and down walls and takes three hits to defeat normally.|
|300||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A round winged creature that flies back and forth, horizontally or vertically.|
|300||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A faceless creature wielding a broom and wearing a witch's hat, which tends to sit in place.|
|600 per hit||Crash||A black orb with angry eyes and round protrusions on its body, which sits in place and takes three hits to defeat normally.|
|600||Block Flip||A small snowman with a fez who moves very slowly back and forth vertically.|
|300||Replica||A simple face with dizzy eyes and tongue sticking wildly out that sits in place.|
|600||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A small hermit crab that moves slowly back and forth horizontally.|
|600||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A fuzzy baby chick that moves back and forth horizontally.|
|1000||Burn||A fiery eyeball that spins in place.|
|300||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A sea anemone with eyes that sits in place.|
|0||None||A spike ball with eyes that serves as a hazard during the battle with Whispy Woods.||Unlike in other games, Gordo can be defeated by colliding with it, but this yields no points or items.|
|0||None||A round stone head that is shot out by Big Kabu during its boss fight as a projectile, and can shrink down any paddles it hits.||This Kabu is not to be confused with the Pre-boss version detailed in the table below.|
|300||Crash||A square creature with a frightening face and two small horns that moves back and forth vertically.|
|600 per hit||Block Flip||A ball wrapped in bandages that sits in place and takes three hits to defeat.|
|600||Ability Changer||A raindrop-shaped creature with a propeller on top that sits in place.|
|1000||Stone||A walking rock with eyes and feet that moves back and forth horizontally.|
|600||Crash||A deceptively cute round hovering creature with cat-like ears.|
|600||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A round frog-like creature that moves back and forth horizontally.|
|1000||Spark||A teardrop-shaped creature with round hands that moves back and forth either horizontally or vertically.|
|1000||Needle||A small hedgehog with black quills that stands still or walks back and forth horizontally.|
|300||Block Flip||A spinning top with round hands that holds position.|
|300||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A small bird that flies back and forth vertically.|
|600||Block Flip||A small flying saucer with eyes that flies back and forth vertically.|
|300||Apple, Candy, or Cake||A small round fuzzy creature that walks back and forth horizontally.|
|600||Block Flip||A black wheel with an eye in the middle that moves back and forth quickly.|
These enemies appear in the Target-Shooting Areas of each regular stage. Each takes 4 hits to defeat and is worth 5000 points. They are as follows:
|Pre-boss enemies in Kirby's Block Ball|
|Stage 1||A small mushroom-like creature wearing a cap that conceals its face. It moves back and forth horizontally along the top of the room. Each time Kirby hits it, the cap flies up, briefly revealing the creature's face.|
|Stage 2||A white squid-like creature that walks back and forth horizontally along the top of the room.|
|Stage 3||A small stone head that spins back and forth horizontally in the middle of the room.|
|Stage 4||A small humanoid jester-like creature that walks slowly back and forth vertically in the upper-middle area of the room.|
|Stage 5||A small crescent-moon-shaped creature with hands and feet that rolls back and forth along the middle of the room, stopping for a moment at each end.|
|Stage 6||A small overalls-wearing walrus that walks back and forth vertically along the upper-middle portion of the room. When he reaches the midpoint of his patrol path, he stops briefly to pose.|
|Stage 7||A small eyeball orbited by four circular cloud pieces that flies back and forth vertically along the upper-middle portion of the room.|
|Stage 8||A small apple tree with a face that sits still in the upper-middle area of the room.|
|Stage 9||A small blimp with cannons on each side that patrols back and forth horizontally along the middle of the room.|
|Stage 10||A circular creature with eyes and disembodied hands that patrols vertically in the upper-middle area of the room.|
Each boss is worth 50000 points when defeated except for King Dedede, who is worth 100000 points. Note that the number of hits listed assumes a normal attack (attacks with Copy Abilities do double damage):
|Bosses in Kirby's Block Ball|
|Stage 1||12||Big Cappy sits in the middle of the arena - occasionally jumping to the left or right to attack a paddle - until it takes six hits, after which it loses its cap and summons four smaller Cappies around it to defend itself. At this point, it moves continuously back and forth while the smaller Cappies orbit around it. Each smaller Cappy takes two hits to defeat, and Big Cappy needs to be hit six more times to be defeated.|
|Stage 2||12||Big Squishy walks back and forth horizontally across the arena, sopping in three distinct locations. Every now and then, it will grab Kirby when he makes contact with it and chucks him in a random direction.|
|Stage 3||12||Big Kabu sits motionless in the middle of the arena, and sends out smaller Kabu to collide with Kirby and shrink any paddles they hit.|
|Stage 4||12||Poppy Bros. Sr. hops continuously between three different platforms. Every now and then, he pulls out a bomb and tries to toss it at a paddle to shrink it.|
|Stage 5||6 each||Mr. Shine fights first by circling clockwise around the middle of the room and occasionally throwing out moon-shaped projectiles to hit and shrink the paddles. After he is defeated, Mr. Bright takes over. Mr. Bright moves back and forth laterally and throws out little fireballs in a spread to hit the paddles.|
|Stage 6||12||Mr. Frosty spends a large amount of time standing still in the middle of the arena between three short walls. At regular intervals, he curls up into a ball and rolls from side to side, shrinking any paddles he hits along the way.|
|Stage 7||12||The battle here begins with Kracko Jr., who floats in a figure 8 path around the middle of the arena. After taking 4 points of damage, he transforms into Kracko proper and starts moving laterally side-to-side. Every now and then, he stops for a moment to charge up, then rushes across the room shooting lightning up and down which can shrink paddles on contact. After taking 8 more points of damage, Kracko is defeated.|
|Stage 8||12||Whispy Woods sits motionless in the middle of the arena, his canopy taking up all of the upper wall. At regular intervals, he drops Gordos from his canopy which fall straight down and shrink any paddles they hit. Whispy himself will also blow air bullets at various angles to hit the paddles.|
|Stage 9||12||Kaboola flies around the arena in a figure-8 pattern and shoots cannonballs from its two mounted guns that can shrink paddles on hit.|
|Stage 10||12||Brobo dons a robotic suit for its battle with Kirby. It mostly sits in place and throws out its disembodied hands as projectiles to shrink the paddles. Every now and then, it leaps to a different platform.|
|Stage 11||24||King Dedede starts the battle by standing in place and pulling out bombs to toss at the paddles. Later on, he will puff up and start flying back and forth, and may eat Kirby and spit him out if approached from the front. After taking more hits, King Dedede deflates and returns to the center of the arena, pulls out a missile launcher, and shoots all the paddles to shrink them. He alternates between doing this and jumping back and forth laterally, firing regularly enough to ensure that the paddles remain small until he is defeated.|
Each variety of block has different properties, and react differently depending on whether Kirby hits them like a ball, as his normal form, or with a Copy Ability. In Block Areas, the objective of the round is to remove all of the appropriate blocks, with other types being optional. These are as follows:
|Block types in Kirby's Block Ball|
|White Block||100 points||A basic block that can be destroyed by being hit once with any method.|
|Gray Block||200 points||A block which transforms into a White Block when hit by the ball, but is removed immediately if hit with Kirby or a Copy Ability.|
|Splitting Block||200 points (white large)
400 points (gray large)
50 points (white piece)
100 points (gray piece)
|A block which splits into four smaller blocks when hit by the ball, but will be completely removed if hit by Kirby. Can come in white or gray varieties.|
|Through Block||(during Bonus Chance)||160 points (large)
80 points (wide)
40 points (small)
|A block that replaces all remaining required block types when the Switch Star is triggered and a Bonus Chance begins. Kirby can pass through these blocks, and is tasked with collecting all of them before time runs out. If all of them are collected, the player will gain an additional 500 points for each block collected, regardless of size.|
|Star Block||0 points (1 star)||These optional blocks appear in the Target-Shooting Areas. If collected, they can be used to help cover up the spikes in the following Boss Area, though they are removed after a single hit.||A 1-Up is received if all Star Blocks are collected in a Target-Shooting Area.|
|Score Block||Score increases per hit as follows: (50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200)||These optional blocks resemble classic Star Blocks and can be hit up to seven times before being removed. They may start out invisible until hit the first time.||If the last hit is dealt using a Copy Ability, a 1-Up is rewarded.|
|Power Block||500 points||A block that can only be destroyed by having Kirby slam into it with a Power Bounce.|
|Pinball Block||N/A||20 points each hit||This block serves as a bumper, and cannot be destroyed.|
|Ability Block||300 points (small)
500 points (wide)
|This block can only be destroyed using a Copy Ability.|
|Indestructible Block||0 points||These blocks cannot be destroyed unless the Crash item is used.|
- Apple - 1000 points
- Candy - 1500 points
- Cake - 2000 points
- Each of the above items is dropped by enemies, and only last a short while before disappearing if not collected.
- Switch Block - 500 points (activates a Bonus Chance once all are collected)
- Flip - 100 points (changes White Blocks into Gray Blocks and vice-versa, worth 1000 points during Bonus Chance)
- Replica - 100 points (splits Kirby into two copies; any extra Kirby balls at the end of a round become 1-Ups; Copy Abilities and Power Paddle action cannot be used while this item is in effect)
- Crash - 100 points (destroys all Indestructible Blocks)
- Changer - 100 points (changes Kirby's ability via roulette)
- Warp Star - 400 points (takes Kirby to different areas depending on circumstances)
When all Switch Stars present on a board are collected, Kirby can play a Bonus Chance, which turns all remaining required blocks into Through Blocks that can be passed through when hit. Kirby then has 30 seconds to remove all of the blocks. If successful, the round is complete, and 500 additional points are awarded for each block removed, and each extra second remaining.
At the end of the stage, after the boss is defeated, 1000 points are awarded for each 1-Up remaining.
The following is a list of staff who have worked on Kirby's Block Ball:
|Staff of Kirby's Block Ball|
|CG Designer||Isao Shiroyama|
|Map Designer||Hiroyoshi Kubo|
|Special Thanks||Masao Masakusa|
|Executive Producer||Hiroshi Yamauchi|
- The Kirby which appears inside the 'O' of the word 'Block' in the English title text is identical to an artwork piece of Spark Kirby from Kirby's Dream Land 2.
- If the player manages to earn the high score on Stage 11, a bonus screen is shown, which informs the player of a special bonus for pressing the B button while Kirby is hovering over Stage 11 on the map. When this is done, Kirby moves up to the Sub-Game ring, allowing him to play them at will without accessing them from in the stages themselves.
- According to the Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition's Kirby 20th Anniversary Celebration Book, it was originally planned to represent Kirby as the paddles, rather than the ball.
- Sprites for a Waddle Doo can be found in the game's files. Defeating him would cause him to lose his eye. Waddle Doo also appears in the instruction booklet for the game, implying that he was cut fairly late in development.
Part of the ending cutscene showing the Sparkling Stars
Kirby dances in the fountain as the staff credits begin
Names in other languages
Kābī no Burokku Bōru
|Kirby's Block Ball|
- Kirby's Block Ball Releases - MobyGames
- "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!" –Kirby 20th Anniversary Celebration Book (Nintendo), pg. 13