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 for 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 powerups. 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 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||Dekabu||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
- Blipper - 300 points
- Blocky - 600 points per hit, 2 hits
- Bomber - 600 points
- Booler - 300 points
- Bouncy - 600 points
- Bounder - 600 points per hit, 3 hits
- Bronto Burt - 300 points
- Broom Hatter - 300 points
- Captain Stitch - 600 points per hit, 3 hits
- Chilly - 600 points
- Chuckie - 300 points
- Coner - 600 points
- Crack-Tweet - 600 points
- Flamer - 1000 points
- Glunk - 300 points
- Kookler - 300 points
- Mumbies - 600 points per hit, 3 hits
- Propeller - 600 points
- Rocky - 1000 points
- Scarfy - 600 points
- Slippy - 600 points
- Sparky - 1000 points
- Spikey - 1000 points
- Twister - 300 points
- Twizzy - 300 points
- UFO - 600 points
- Waddle Dee - 300 points
- Wheelie - 600 points
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:
- Stage 1 - Cappy
- Stage 2 - Squishy
- Stage 3 - Kabu
- Stage 4 - Poppy Bros. Jr.
- Stage 5 - Mr. Shine
- Stage 6 - Mr. Frosty
- Stage 7 - Kracko Jr.
- Stage 8 - Whispy Woods
- Stage 9 - Kaboola
- Stage 10 - Brobo
Each boss is worth 50000 points when defeated except for King Dedede, who is worth 100000 points.
- Stage 1 - Big Cappy
- Stage 2 - Big Squishy
- Stage 3 - Dekabu
- Stage 4 - Poppy Bros. Sr.
- Stage 5 - Mr. Shine & Mr. Bright
- Stage 6 - Mr. Frosty
- Stage 7 - Kracko
- Stage 8 - Whispy Woods
- Stage 9 - Kaboola
- Stage 10 - Brobo
- Stage 11 - King Dedede
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 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 are found in the game's files. Defeating him would cause him to lose his eye.
Part of the ending cutscene showing the Sparkling Stars
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