Kirby Ball 64
- This article is about the canceled Nintendo 64 game. For Kirby as a ball in general, see Kirby Ball.
Kirby Ball 64[Japanese title] (also translated as Kirby Bowl 64 in some publications) was an unreleased Kirby game and most likely a planned sequel to Kirby's Dream Course (known as カービィボウル (Kirby Ball) in Japanese). It was the first known 3D Kirby game to be in development and originally meant to be a launch title for Nintendo 64. The game's development began in 1995 after the release of Kirby's Dream Course, and was first announced and offered as a playable demo at the Shoshinkai trade show in November 1995, alongside Super Mario 64 (then known as Ultra Mario), at which point Kirby Ball 64 was estimated to be 20% complete. Although several release date estimates had been given in various magazines, such as April or June 1996, the game would eventually be scrapped and reworked into Kirby's Air Ride by June of the same year.
The game was designed to take advantage of the Nintendo 64 controller's new analog stick. The stick was used to gather momentum and choose direction, while the B button made Kirby jump.
Early prototypes of the game as shown at Shoshinkai 1995 featured two gameplay modes, both revolving around attaining a high-score before the time limit runs out: a "bash-'em-up" multiplayer mode where the goal was to knock other players out of an arena, and a single player 3D polygon airboard high-score competition against a clock.
In the former mode, Kirby Balls are placed inside a bowl-shaped arena that pulses up and down throughout the match, making it harder to keep Kirbys on the stage. The players move their Kirbys by rolling and jumping, in order to knock each other off the platform and score points, and whoever attains the most when the timer runs out is the winner. A large Maxim Tomato sometimes pops out around the middle that makes the Ball Kirby that touches it temporarily grow in size and weight.
The second mode provided the player with two options: to play as either Kirby in his ball form or Kirby on an air-board. The mode presents the player with a straightforward race against a time limit over a procedurally generated flat checkered terrain, under arches, down and up the slopes, performing various aerial stunts to gain speed and collect as many point stars for score before the time runs out. Wheelie and Kabu were shown as enemies in the prototype footage.
Prioritizing the concept of airboard racing, this prototype was retooled into Kirby's Air Ride and no longer featured Kirby's ball form in the racing mode, while the knock-out multiplayer mode was nowhere to be seen in newer footage of later prototypes.
Kirby in ball form about to collect a point star under a white arch
Compilation footage of both modes
Footage of the multiplayer battle arena mode (at 1:30)
- Though never outright stated by the developers, some concepts of Kirby Ball 64 were later used in Kirby's Dream Buffet, particularly the four-player battle mode and the Maxim Tomato's effects in said mode being implemented into the strawberries, albeit with permanent effects that increase depending on how many are collected and decrease depending on how many are lost.
Names in other languages
Kābī Bouru 64
|Kirby Ball 64|
- A collection of magazine scans about Kirby Ball 64 and Kirby's Air Ride from Nintendo64EVER
- Kirby Bowl 64/Air Ride 64 Footage Compilation on Internet Archive
- Kirby's Air Ride (including Kirby Ball 64) on Unseen64