The Kirby games franchise is charming and surprisingly filled with depth, but it never managed to reach the level of fame that other Nintendo titles gained. Despite this, it’s a series that’s still going strong today, with its most recently announced title coming in March 2022.
Kirby games deserve more recognition, and it’s interesting to see just how much recognition they’ve truly gained to this date. To honor some of the best titles in the franchise, here are the top 10 Kirby series games ranked by how much they sold.
Side note: it’s difficult to find truly accurate lifetime sales data for the whole Kirby series. The sources for this data might not be entirely reliable, so feel free to double-check the listed numbers if they don’t seem right to you.
Though it ended up changing the landscape of Kirby games for years to come, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land only makes it to number 10 on this list. It was the first console-made Kirby game to feature full multiplayer alongside extra modes and challenges, and many of the improvements and changes it made to the series are present today. Despite its placement, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Kirby fan that wouldn’t consider this game to be one of the best in the series.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn isn’t actually much of a Kirby game. Without copy abilities or even being able to inhale enemies, this game offers a more lighthearted take on traditional Kirby gameplay. It’s an even more kid-friendly version of an already kid-friendly series...but as a result, it has some of the best charm and most relaxing atmospheres you’ll find in any video game.
A remake of the NES title, Kirby’s Adventure, this game featured updated graphics and new game modes to draw in fans both old and new. Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land’s changes were pretty miniscule overall, but an already fine game with updated visuals didn’t need much more to reach over 2 million copies sold.
This is honestly an odd one to see here. Kirby’s Pinball Land was pretty much just pinball with a Kirby skin over it. It did release on the Game Boy, one of the best-selling handheld consoles ever and also the console the first-ever Kirby game released on. Simple games like these had great appeal on handheld systems, so that could be at least one reason this spinoff found such success.
Kirby: Squeak Squad is, in the context of the Kirby series, a little weird. It featured an in-game view of Kirby’s stomach where items and treasure could be stored, as well as unique mouse-like enemies known as the Squeaks. It’s also the first game - and so far, the only game - with copy abilities like Animal and Metal. Though it hasn’t been as much of an influence on the series as other games, it had some creative ideas that certainly helped it rise to its level of success.
As the sequel to the first-ever Kirby game, Kirby’s Dream Land 2 manages to crown itself as part of the top 5 best-selling games of the series. Being the first game to feature animal buddies and the fan-favorite Dark Matter antagonist, Dream Land 2 offered a new perspective that other titles couldn’t quite measure up to. It might not be the most iconic game, but its spot in the top 5 was well-earned.
This game built off of Return to Dream Land, downsizing its content to match a handheld system’s scale while also refining it to make the entire experience even more fun. Kirby Triple Deluxe featured new copy abilities, 2.5D level structures, and - in this writer’s opinion - some of the best music of any game out there. Fans of this game should check out Kirby: Planet Robobot if they haven’t already; it didn’t make the list, but it’s a perfect companion piece to a fantastic title.
A remake of the original SNES title, Kirby Super Star Ultra ended up being more than just a prettier game. Not only did it feature updated music and graphics, it included entirely new bosses and story content. Some of this content became a staple in newer games, making Super Star Ultra a must-play for anyone even remotely interested in the Kirby series.
As the latest mainline title, the success of Kirby Star Allies gives high hopes for the series’s future. Featuring characters from previous games and more expansive gameplay options, Star Allies brings the tried-and-true Kirby formula to one of its highest peaks yet. 3 million copies might not seem like a lot compared to other franchises. For example, that number might only come somewhat close to the top 10 best-selling Zelda titles. However, it’s a number the Kirby series can be proud of...especially when considering the gap in total sales between second and first most-sold games in the Kirby franchise.
Having been alluded to throughout this list, Kirby’s Dream Land is the first and most successful Kirby game ever. Kirby wasn’t even fully pink by this time - his appearance on the box art was based on the gray palette of the Game Boy. Despite the series only finding its feet, Kirby’s Dream Land became a success that hasn’t been replicated by the series even today.
With renewed interest in the series thanks to the success of Star Allies, and a brand new style of gameplay in Kirby and the Forgotten Land, this list might end up blown away before long. The Kirby series of games is one filled with unique ideas and interesting possibilities for the future - both inside and outside the titles themselves.
All images taken from Unofficial Kirby Wiki