Multiplayer (or n-player or nP, with n being any number greater than 1) refers to any game or Sub-Game which can be played by more than one player at a time. While most games in the Kirby series are primarily or solely single-player (and specifically designed as such), several allow for multiple players to varying degrees. Generally, games in the series designed primarily for multiplayer gameplay are spin-off titles, such as Kirby Air Ride and Kirby's Dream Course — the only main-series Kirby game designed primarily around multiplayer is Kirby Star Allies.
Multiplayer by Title
The following lists multiplayer features in each game in the Kirby series in chronological order. Titles which bear no multiplayer at all are omitted from this list.
Kirby's Dream Course
- Main article: Kirby's Dream Course#2P_Game
In Kirby's Dream Course, a second player can take control of an opposing yellow Kirby (known as Keeby) to play in turns with the first, who controls Kirby. Gameplay revolves around collecting as many Point Stars as possible on each hole in an 8-hole course.
This adaptation of Puyo Puyo allows for a 2P mode, which is like the main game, but pits two players against each-other.
Kirby Super Star / Kirby Super Star Ultra
This game introduced the Helper system, which allows Kirby to transform his currently equipped Copy Ability into a creature who would grant that ability when swallowed, who will then help Kirby fight. The Helper is controlled by the CPU by default, but if 2 Player mode is selected after the title screen, a second player can join in and control this Helper whenever it appears. The Helper has access to the full array of moves specific to its ability, and can also use an Infinity Jump to keep up with Kirby. It can engage in a Face-to-Face with Kirby to restore health, as well as picking up Food on its own. It cannot, however, cause the screen to scroll, and will be Space Jumped back to Kirby whenever it gets left behind, leaving de-facto focus on the first player still.
In Kirby Super Star Ultra, the three new Sub-Games, Kirby Card Swipe, Kirby on the Draw and Snack Tracks can be played with up to 4 players. Additionally, Gourmet Race can now be played with a second player, who controls a yellow Kirby.
Kirby's Star Stacker (Game Boy & SNES)
In both versions of Kirby's Star Stacker, there is a mode called "VS.", allowing 2 players to face each other. While the Game Boy version allows this by connecting 2 Game Boys together with a cable, the Super Famicom version requires 2 controllers.
Overall, the mode plays the same in both games, but the Super Famicom version allows for more choices, such as choosing how many rounds will be played (1, 3 or 5), the difficulty that suits each player best, and which character the players wants to play as (Gryll can only be chosen if the player has beaten them in Story mode, thus making it impossible for a guest player to choose them).
Kirby's Dream Land 3
At any point during gameplay, Kirby can call upon a partner named Gooey, who is controllable by a second player. Gooey, like Kirby, is able to fly, and copy abilities, though he does the latter by wrapping his tongue around enemies, rather than Inhaling them. While Gooey is out, Kirby has one less bar of health than he would otherwise.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land
The main game and Extra Game can be played with up to 4 players, essentially treated as a cooperative multiplayer mode with the following differences:
- All players will start at the latest Level that they are in. This applies when continuing a game after ending a multiplayer session, especially after all players get a Game Over.
- Each player has a separate lives counter. If a player is defeated in a stage, they are temporarily taken out of the game until the players enter the next stage. If all players are defeated in the same stage, they will all respawn at the beginning of the area they were defeated in.
- On the defeated player's side, their current ability will display as "Wait" (depicting a tired-looking Kirby on its icon), complete with its own unique pause screen.
- If a player loses all lives, they have the option to borrow lives from other players in order to continue, or simply give up by choosing "Don't Borrow", which will completely take said player out of the game session while displaying the words "Game Over" on their screen.
- If all players lose their lives, the Game Over screen that displays is unique, featuring multiple knocked-out Kirbys depending on the ones present. There is no option to continue at that point, forcing the players to go back to the title screen.
- All players are required to stand near Doors to enter them in stages. On a level hub, all players will automatically be transported to the destination stage (or Sub-Game) when one of the players enters that corresponding door.
- When playing Sub-Games from the level hubs, the 1-Up rewards remain the same, and are all distributed separately to each player depending on their placement.
- Multiple players can board the Warp Star, with some of them adapting new poses as they do so. This even applies to the Warp Star ride during the intro to the battle against Nightmare Wizard.
- More enemies get added to stages when playing with three or four players.
All Sub-Games have a competitive multiplayer mode where players can compete to see who gets the highest placement. Placeholder CPUs are present for Bomb Rally and Kirby's Air Grind if there are less than 4 players at a time. Competitive multiplayer for these Sub-Games is automatically enabled when playing them from the main game or Extra Game during a multiplayer session.
Meta Knightmare is the only game mode that cannot be played in multiplayer.
Kirby Air Ride
One of the few games in the series specifically designed for multiplayer, up to 4 players can take part in any of the main game modes. In all cases, Kirbys of varying hues compete against each-other to win races, or compete in the City Trial mode. Kirbys can attack each-other by doing Quick-Spins or by using Copy Abilities and other items which, depending on the settings, can destroy the vehicles of their opponents, or just slow them down.
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror
In this title, Kirby is split into 4 copies of himself, which all can be controlled autonomously by different players. Unlike in Kirby Super Star, Kirbys have free reign to wander wherever they like, as far away from each-other as they want to, and can regroup by using their Cell Phones to call each-other. Cell Phones can also be used to share lives if one of the players hits a Game Over, without having to go back to the Rainbow Route - Central Circle.
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Much like in Kirby's Dream Land 3, a second player can jump in as Prince Fluff to join Kirby in the Main Game. However, this can only be done outside of stages, each of which has a selection for the number of players, much like the file select. Fluff has exactly the same moves as Kirby, and both can pick one and throw another up with their Yarn Whip. The throw angle is curved, similarly to Carrie's, and cannot damage bosses. If a character separates from another or chooses to rejoin them, Angie will carry said character to the other. When certain Metamortex transformations occur, whichever character touched the item will become the primary controller, while the other takes a secondary role which cannot be used in single-player. While the players share a Bead count, whichever character collects the most beads during a stage dances at the results screen.
Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn does not feature multiplayer, relegating Prince Fluff to a secondary role.
Kirby's Return to Dream Land / Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe
Up to 4 players can join in at any point during the Story and Extra Modes, and can choose between Meta Knight, King Dedede, Bandana Waddle Dee or a Kirby of a different color to play as. Joining in this way costs a 1-Up, but can still be done even if none are remaining, though players joining with the lives counter at 0 has them spawn with half of their health. Each character has their own unique set of abilities, with Meta Knight being like a combination of Wing and Sword Kirby, King Dedede using the Hammer moveset, and Bandana Waddle Dee using the Spear moveset (in Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe, Kirby's friends have additional moves to further distinguish them, which originated from their appearance as Dream Friends in Kirby Star Allies). Only a Kirby, however, can use the Super Abilities. Players 2-4 can be KO'd as many times as they want without interrupting the adventure, but if the first player controlling Kirby gets taken out, the adventure ends like it would in single-player mode. To help prevent this, the party can engage in Face-to-Face with each-other to share the Food they collect.
Additionally, the two Sub-Games on offer in the Wii version - Ninja Dojo and Scope Shot - can be played with up to 4 players. The Arena and The True Arena can also be played cooperatively. In Kirby's Return to Dream Land Deluxe, all of the added Sub-Games (excepting Samurai Kirby 100) can be played with up to 4 players. Additionally, the Extra Mode Magolor Epilogue: The Interdimensional Traveler can also be played with up to 4 players, though in that mode, Magolor is the only selectable character.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Kirby: Triple Deluxe features a Sub-Game called Kirby Fighters, which can be played with up to three other people using local wireless play. Extra copies of the game are not required, as Download Play allows anyone to join (albeit also limiting gameplay options when used). Spots not filled by human players can be filled by CPU players, whose abilities and difficulty levels can be set. Furthermore, each player can set the color of their Kirby and their handicap, which changes their damage dealt and taken, among other effects.
Kirby Fighters Deluxe
This expanded version of the original Sub-Game from Kirby: Triple Deluxe contains the same attribute settings that can be altered in multiplayer. This time, players can fight in a free-for-all manner, or play in teams. To further distinguish each-other, unlockable Rare Hats can be used for the various Copy Abilities.
Two Kirbys facing off in Flower Land, in Kirby Fighters Deluxe
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Up to three Bandana Waddle Dees of different hues can assist Kirby throughout Kirby and the Rainbow Curse by carrying him and dealing with enemies. The Bandana Waddle Dees are the only ones who can defeat the Grab Hands that appear in the stages exclusively in multiplayer. Similarly to Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby is the only one who ends the adventure if he is taken out. However, if a Bandana Waddle Dee is taken out, it no longer costs an extra life to respawn. Instead, they are given a small meter that fills slightly when the player presses a button, respawning the Bandana Waddle Dee when it is entirely filled. These Waddle Dee assistants can also integrate into Kirby's various transformations in various ways.
Kirby: Planet Robobot
The Team Kirby Clash sub-game supports multiplayer mode with up to 4 players. Other players don't necessarily need to own a copy of Kirby: Planet Robobot to play. Players playing via Download Play can only play as the Sword Hero and Doctor Healmore roles, with the Hammer Lord and Beam Mage roles not being selectable.
Team Kirby engages in battle against Gigant Edge.
Team Kirby Clash Deluxe
Like the original Sub-Game, this title supports local multiplayer with up to 4 players. Using the local 'Wireless Quest' mode, a team of four can be established to take on a quest. All participants will be rewarded for a victory, but only the host player can satisfy Heroic Missions specific to the encounter.
Kirby Battle Royale
This action-multiplayer title is the first in the series to have full online matchmaking and a global ranking system. Up to four players can take part in battles, choosing between a handful of Kirby Copy Abilities, or as other characters to play as. Like with Kirby Fighters Deluxe, headgear can be unlocked for the copy abilities and other characters, some using amiibo.
Four Kirbys duke it out in Apple Scramble.
Kirby Star Allies
In Kirby Star Allies, multiplayer is a primary focus of the game design, with every mode allowing up to four players at once. This title marks the return of the Helper system, but instead of creating a Helper from a Copy Ability, Kirby befriends enemies directly from the field by tossing a heart at them. Up to three friends can be on the field at any one time and, like Kirby, can make use of the Power Combo system to enhance their attacks. Because friends are often required to solve puzzles or traverse the stages, they can also be controlled by CPUs. Different colored Kirbys do not feature in the Story Mode or extra games, but are playable in Chop Champs and Star Slam Heroes. In this title, Kirby’s friends will speed up slightly when dashing towards Kirby, allowing them to catch up to him more easily if they’re lagging behind Kirby.
Super Kirby Clash
In addition to local multiplayer, the sequel of Team Kirby Clash Deluxe features full online multiplayer, and offers a large array of extra quests (called Party Quests) to play with others in. These quests are entirely separate from Story Quests, and have their own unique Heroic Missions to satisfy.
Kirby Fighters 2
This sequel to Kirby Fighters Deluxe has the same multiplayer features as its predecessor. It also allows for full online multiplayer in standard matches with up to four participants. In addition, Story Mode: The Destined Rivals allows a second player to join in.
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
Unlike previous Kirby titles on the Nintendo Switch, Kirby and the Forgotten Land only features co-op with two players. Player 2 takes on the role of Bandana Waddle Dee, who joins after Point of Arrival and can accompany Kirby through regular stages, as well as Waddle Dee Town (albeit with limited interactions) and most Sub-Games. He cannot participate in any Treasure Road areas or in Tilt-and-Roll Kirby and has limited assistance in regards to Kirby's Mouthful Modes, with the larger forms confining him to simply throwing his spear from Kirby's back. Bandana Waddle Dee Space Jumps over to Kirby if he leaves the field of sight or after a short while if Kirby is on a Warp Star, and also dashes at a slightly faster pace when running towards Kirby, allowing him to catch up to Kirby if he’s falling behind. Much like in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, there is no consequence for Bandana Waddle Dee being KO'd, and Player 2 simply needs to bring him back into action by pressing buttons; this is also true for the Colosseum. Many restricting missions, such as ability requirements, avoiding hazards, or defeating a boss without taking damage, do not take Bandana Waddle Dee into account. Similarly, several boss attacks prove to be less of a hindrance to Bandana Waddle Dee, such as Gorimondo's grab, Sillydillo's Gotcha Dillo, or Morpho Knight's Sukhavati Scale Wave. Finally, many cutscenes and individual interactions have different versions that account for Bandana Waddle Dee's presence. Said cutscenes can be seen in their alternate versions in the Waddle Dee Cinema if Bandana Waddle Dee is present.
Kirby's Dream Buffet
Kirby's Dream Buffet is a game primarily focused on multiplayer, as it lacks any sort of dedicated single-player mode, much like Kirby Air Ride before it. Two local players can play the main Battle Mode, while up to four can play either with local wireless or online.