Kirby and the Pirate's Curse is a 2.5D platformer developed by Crash Co. and released for the Nintendo Switch, Pharo, and Enigma. It is the thirteenth game in the mainline Kirby series following Kirby: Star Allies, as well as the second one to be released for Nintendo Switch. As the name suggests, the game has a pirate theme, similar to how Kirby: Planet Robobot has a futuristic, technology theme. Several gameplay mechanics and modes introduced in earlier titles are also slated to return.
The game opens on Dream Land, where Kirby, King Dedede, and Bandanna Dee are walking around Dream Land, following a treasure map that Kirby found. It leads the trio to a large cave, and inside they find a large treasure chest. Kirby is about to open it, but is quickky stopped by Meta Knight, who flies in front of Kirby to stop him, thinking that it may be dangerous. Dedede pushes the warrior out of the way and smashes the lock on the chest off with his hammer, then Kirby and Bandanna Dee both open the chest. Inside are several dabloons, diamonds, and gems. However, Kirby is most interested in a glowing, yellow tomato, which he immediately eats. This, however, causes the treasure to start shaking, revealing the spirit of the pirate king, Skullbeard. He is enraged at the group for finding his treasure, and he uses his magic to curse the land. Soon after, a large tidal wave sweeps in and covers the area in water. Kirby barely makes it to the surface for air, and sees that Skullbeard is now on a large, black pirate ship, holding a stunned King Dedede, Meta Knight, and Bandanna Dee in a cage. Kirby swims to a nearby island, hoping to catch the pirate king, save his friends, and rescue Dream Land once again.
When Kirby reaches Ranchy Ruins, he encounters a mysterious woman on a Halberd-themed ship. She reveals herself as Lady Loch, Captain Skullbeard's right-hand woman and first mate. Just as she leaves to help her captain on his voyage for treasure and control, a possessed Meta Knight, named Meta Pirate, battles Kirby. After this, Meta Pirate ends up being defeated, restoring him to his original state. Kirby and Meta Knight then follow Lady Loch, hoping she will take them to Skullbeard.
The two eventually follow Lady Loch into Haunted Hummus. Among the sunken ships, the duo find Lady Loch sailing the water with one. The two confront her, taking out the ship's crew. Annoyed, Lady Loch threatens Kirby and Meta Knight, saying she will have them hanging on Skullbeard's wall if they step further. They ignore, and Meta Knight swoops in for an attack while Kirby kicks. She dodges both attacks, and whistles. This summons a beast from the water, who jumps onto the ship. The beast is shown to be King Dededusa, a possessed King Dedede. Lady Loch then jumps onto a nearby, smaller ship, which takes off into an icy tundra. Then, Dededusa battles the duo. He is eventually defeated, and Dedede agrees to use his strength to help Kirby and Meta Knight. The trio then chase down Lady Loch.
Much like previous mainline Kirby titles, Kirby and the Pirate's Curse is a 2D platforming sidescroller. The player can select between four different characters, each with with their own mechanics and playstyles, between levels - Kirby, Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Bandanna Dee. For the most part, these characters share similar traits, such as climbing up grates, carrying heavy objects, and jumping multiple times in midair. Each have their own abilities however; for example, Kirby can inhale enemies and copy their abilities much like past games, while King Dedede is able to summon helpers after defeating enemies, much like in Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra. The player has a health bar, which will deplete as they take damage. Once the life bar is empty or the player falls into an abyss, a life will be lost, and losing all lives will result in a game over. The player can replenish help by finding food, a Tomato that replenishes 50% of the health lost, a Maxim Tomato that replenishes all lost health, and the new Salty Tomato that slowly replenishes health as time passes.
Slight changes have been made to the game's mechanics as well. When Kirby has a copy ability and gets hit by an enemy, the star no longer needs to be inhaled to retrieve the ability; the player simply needs to touch it before it disappears. By extension, stars will now begin bouncing around if Kirby is hit underwater, rather than simply disappearing.
New to the series is the ability to pilot ships, which are found in several levels similar to the Hypernova ability in Kirby: Triple Deluxe and the Robobot Armour in Kirby: Planet Robobot. When the player boards a ship, it will automatically sail across the sea, and the player has free movement aboard the ship. There are multiple ships to select from, each with different designs and abilities, though ultimately each ship will arrive at the same destination. Kirby can use the ship's abilities to smash through obstacles, ride tides, and destroy enemy ships. The ship has a health bar as well, and will have the player start over the section of the level if it is destroyed.
|Image / Name||Description|
|Kirby's basic ship. Though it is arguably the weakest of the ships, it does get the job done. He can steer it around obstacles and use a cannon to fire at enemy ships.|
|A giant, metal ship with a buzzsaw attached to it. It can slice open pathways through walls, and can cut enemy ships in half to sink them. Despite that, it isn't too good on the offense thanks to its poor range.|
|Image / Name||Description||Abilities|
|Kirby is the hero of Dream Land. A pink puffball, he is small and innocent, though has a sense of justice and will not hold back to protect his home. He has unique abilities such as being able to puff himself up to float or inhale enemies to copy their abilities. He is the first character players can play as, and the only character available when starting the game.||Kirby is the only character who is able to inhale enemies and copy their abilities. He can also jump multiple times and float in midair. He also has a sliding kick attack and can spit out puffs of air to hit enemies in front of him while floating.|
|Meta Knight is a mysterious swordsman who utilizes his signature weapon, the Galaxia, and is able to turn his cape into wings. He pilots his own battleship, the Halberd, and has his own crew of minions called the Meta-Knights. He is among the friends of Kirby that Skullbeard captures, and is battled in the second world, brainwashed as Meta Pirate. Afterwards, Meta Knight will join Kirby.||Like Kirby, Meta Knight is able to float in midiar by converting his cape into wings. He plays in a similar manner to his appearances in Meta Knightmare Ultra in Kirby Super Star Ultra and Meta Knightmare Returns in Kirby: Planet Robobot; Meta Knights attacks are based on Sword Kirby, and by defeating enemies he can accumulate points, and have up to 50 at a time. These points can be used to use special moves, such as Meta Quick and Mach Tornado.|
|King Dedede is the self-proclaimed king of Dream Land, and often butts heads with Kirby. Greedy and gluttonous, he often does things unbecoming of a king, and as such is often battled by Kirby. He is among the victims that Skullbreard kidnapped, and is battled in the fourth world. After defeating him, Dedede will then join Kirby on his adventure.||King Dedede can float like Kirby and Meta Knight, and plays similarly to his appearance in Dededetour in Kirby: Triple Deluxe. His attacks are mainly based on Hammer Kirby. He has a unique feature based on the helper mechanic from Kirby Super Star, Kirby Super Star Ultra, and Kirby: Star Allies, where once he defeats an enemy, he can then turn it into an ally that travels with him and helps defeat enemies, having their own health bars. He can have up to three allies at a time; after having three he cannot summon another. If the player wants to get rid of an ally prematurely, King Dedede can simply inhale it.|
|Bandanna Dee is, as his name suggests, a Waddle Dee that wears a bandanna and wields a spear. Though he serves as Dedede's right-hand man, he has shown to be an ally of Kirby as well. Bandanna Dee is among Kirby's friends who Skullbeard captured, and is battled in the sixth world. Afterwards, Bandanna Dee will team up with Kirby and co. to save Dream Land.||Bandanna Dee is the only one of the playable characters who cannot float in midair, but to compensate he is the fastest of the group. He has the unique ability to change which attack he uses whenever he wants to, in a similar manner to Milky Way Wishes from Kirby Super Star and Kirby Super Star Ultra. He has five different movesets to use; one is based on Spear Kirby, similar to his other playable appearaces, and the rest are based on Beam, Bomb, Fire, and Archer.|
|Image / Name||Description|
|The spirit of an undead pirate captain, Skullbeard once led a rutheless crew who would not hesitate to loot those who came in their way. An unnamed hero sealed him away inside a treasure chest and hid it in the depths of Dream Land. However, when Kirby and his friends follow a treasure map to the chest, they open it, setting Skullbeard free. As an act of revenge against those who opposed him, he plunges the entirety of Planet Popstar in water, and kidnaps Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Bandanna Dee as he returns to his plans of finding treasure. Naturally, Kirby steps in to stop him.|
|A mysterious mollusk woman of unknown origin, Lady Loch serves as the right-hand woman of Captain Skullbeard. She appears throughout Kirby and his friends' quest to save Dream Land, and additionally is the one responsible for the corruption of Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Bandanna Dee.|
|Skullbeard's parrot. He is often found perched on his shoulder, sometimes repeating whatever Skullbeard says. Sometimes, he also asks for crackers. However, he is pretty helpful to Skullbeard, such as chasing down Kirby sometimes to interfere with his progress.|
The game is divided into eight levels, a ninth boss-only level, and a secret level.
|Level #||Name||Number of Stages||Boss/es||Description|
|Level 1||Apple Atlantis||5||Salty Woods and the Poppy Pirates||A small island surrounded by water. There are palm trees and beaches everywhere, and it serves as the "tutorial" level in the game.|
|Level 2||Ranchy Ruins||6||Meta Pirate||A large, sandy island, devoid of much vegetation barring some cacti. There are several tombs and pyramids everywhere, detailing drawings of an ancient race similar to Kirby's species, one of which illustrates Skullbeard's previous defeat.|
|Level 3||Cake Cliffs||6||Monsoon Kracko||Located in a trench between two islands. Many of the levels take place in the cliffs of either side, resulting in most levels being vertical. Falling rocks and crumbling platforms are also common.|
|Level 4||Haunted Hummus||5||King Dededusa||A level set within a small set of islands and rocks, covered in fog. Many sunken ships can be found here, and several ghosts roam this haunted area. Other vessels such as battleships and submarines can also be found at the seafloor.|
|Image / Name||Description|
|Bugzzy is a large beetle-like creature with large wings and even larger jaws. He will move around the area and jump around, trying to catch the player in his jaws. If successful, he will perform wrestling-like attacks where he slams them into the ground. Furthermore, Bugzzy is also able to summon small ladybug enemies to fly in and attack the player.|
|Hornhead is a large rhinoceros beetle-like creature with a humongous horn. Using it, he will charge forward trying to pierce the player. He can sometimes get stuck in the wall, leaving him open for attack. Other attacks Hornhead uses include jumping into the air and slamming on the ground, creating a shockwave, and relentlessly chasing the player in a fit of rage.|
|Refrigid is a large freezer-like monster with icicles for teeth. He will bounce around the arena, sending food projectiles at the player. Though some of these can be used as healing items, Refrigid can use them by touching it, restoring some of its health. He may also release bombs, which explode on impact.|
|Sweet Stuff is a large, brown angler fish with massive jaws. It is normally found underwater, and will swim around to try and bite the player. Other attacks it has involve using its light to attract the player towards it, and swim frantically to create an underwater vortex. Sweet Stuff is one of the few mid-bosses encountered underwater.|
|The Thunder Galaboros is a large dragon-like monster that is quite similar to the Water Galaboros and Flame Galaboros from previous games. As its name suggests, the Thunder Galaboros uses lightning-based attacks, such as emitting electric sparks around itself, sending projectiles forward, and even using static electricity to charge the floor, damaging the player when they step over it.|
|Vividria is a small, mage-like being that has long hair, which she uses as a paintbrush. She will float around through the air and attack by spraying paint. She can also take out an easel and create a painting, which she then uses to attack.|
|Image / Name||Description|
Salty Woods and the Poppy Pirates
|Salty Woods is a large mast of a ship, resembling Whispy Woods, and the Poppy Pirates are a group of three Poppy Bros. Jr.'s, both of which serve as the boss of Apple Atlantis. The battle starts like most Whispy Woods battles, with Salty blowing air at the player. The Poppy Pirates will also throw apple-shaped bombs, and Salty can blow them into the player. These bombs do not grant an ability. After enough damage, Salty will blow the player off of his ship and onto the nearby shore. Then, he open his sails, allowing him to move across the water. From here, he will fire barnacle-like cannonballs from his cannons, as well as have the Poppy Pirates throw more bombs. At times he will also jump from the ship and onto the shore, which is the player's chance to attack. After getting damaged enough, Salty Woods will bounce around before landing on his ship, shattering it and causing it to sink. Meanwhile, the Poppy Pirates abandon ship and swim away.|
|Using her powers, Lady Loch possessed the captured Meta Knight, turning him into a pirate member of Skullbeard's crew. He ditches his trademark mask for an eyepatch, and his Galaxia is remodeled into a cutlass. He is battled on a Halberd-styled ship on the ocean near Ranchy Ruins. When Kirby boards the ship, Lady Loch appears, giving him a sword to prepare for the upcoming battle. However, just as she disappears, Meta Pirate knocks the sword into the ocean, preparing to ruthelessly attack. Meta Pirate battles similar to Meta Knight in previous games, using his cutlass to attack from a close range, and using abilities like Drill Rush and Mach Tornado to move around the ship quickly. After eventually being defeated, Meta Knight reverts to normal, but quickly hides his face in shyness. Kirby finds his mask and gives it to him, who quickly puts it on and joins Kirby on his adventure.|
|Monsoon Kracko is a much larger and menaching form of Kracko, which he assumes thanks to Skullbeard's curse. When the battle begins, he is battled in his "Jr." state, where he is nothing but a floating eyeball and some spheres orbiting him. He will fire beams of electricity at the player, which can be inhaled for the Beam ability. After enough damage, he will float up into the sky as it becomes darker. He then reveals his true form, covering the sky as he creates a storm below. In this state, he will send three small clouds that resemble normal Kracko to attack the player, which must be damaged to defeat Monsoon Kracko. The clouds can rain and fire lightning bolts, as well as extend their spikes. Meanwhile, Monsoon Kracko himself will fire large lightning projectiles, which can be inhaled to, again, get the Beam ability. Once Monsoon Kracko is defeated, the storm clears up, leaving just his eye. He sheds a tear, and then explodes.|
|Much like Meta Knight, Lady Loch uses her powers on King Dedede to transform him into a sea monster, working under Skullbeard's bodding. In this form, Dedede has a new, stone hammer, a viking-like crown, darker robes, and four Coily Rattler-like snakes that cover his head. He battles much like regular King Dedede would; running around, diving forward, jumping to create shockwaves, and swinging his hammer around. However, the Coily Rattler-like heads can sometimes fire projectiles that turn the player into stone, leaving them vulnerale to Dededusa's attacks. After being defeated, King Dededusa is launched to a nearby island. Just as he gets up, his hammer lands on his head, causing him to faint and return to his normal state. After he wakes up, Dedede agrees to use his strength to help Kirby and Meta Knight save Dream Land.|
|Utilizing ancient weapons, a bow and arrow, Archer Kirby can attack enemies from a distance. With an unlimited supply of arrows, holding the button will allow him to fire arrows are different speeds and trajectories. Furthermore, the arrows can cut nearby ropes. Archer Kirby also gains a purple hat with a feather on it.||Spynum|
|Gaining a red beret and a large paintbrush, Artist Kirby gains the ability to use his paintings against enemies. In a similar manner to Adeline or Paint Roller, most of Kirby's abilities in this form involve him taking out an easel and painting pictures on it, many of which resemble artworks from Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, and Kirby Super Star. Depending on the picture, it can attack enemies in different ways. For example, a Waddle Dee picture will simply move forward across the ground, while a Bronto Burt picture will float through the air, homing on nearby enemies. On rare occasions, Kirby, King Dedede, and Meta Knight can also be drawn; these three are significantly stronger and will stick around for longer.||Vividria|
|Beam Kirby becomes yellow and has a large jester's hat. He also gains a magic wand, which he uses to fire magic blasts. The basic attack involves a whip of energy that covers a large distance in front of itself. Other attacks include spraying small bursts of magic, a charged blast of energy, and even sliding across the ground.||Waddle Doo|
|With this ability, Kirby gets a large horn protruding from his head, making him resemble a rhinoceros beetle. Using it, Kirby can attack nearby enemies. Most of his abilities as Beetle Kirby involve sticking the enemy on his horn, trapping them. From there, he can fly into the ground, launch them into other enemies, or spin around to ram into other enemies and objects. Kirby also gains a small pair of wings that can provide temporary hovering, which is much faster than his traditional flight.||Beetly|
|When Kirby gets the Bell ability, not only does he gain two bells as weapons, he also wears a large one on his head. He can swing these bells around as a form of close-ranged combat, creating harmful soundwaves that damage nearby enemies. He is also able to throw the bells around, having them ricochet off surfaces and defeat enemies as he pulls out two new ones.||Ringle|
|The Bomb ability will give Kirby a large, pointy hat. As the name suggests, Bomb Kirby also gets an unlimited supply of bombs, which he can use to defeat enemies and break obstacles. Kirby is able to throw bombs in arcs, roll them across the ground, or set them in place to have them go off later.||Poppy Bros., Sr.|
|With the Cleaning ability, Kirby gets a white hat with green stars on it, as well as a broom. Using the broom, Kirby can sweep the ground, creating dust that damages nearby enemies. Furthermore, Cleaning Kirby can also use his broom as a melee weapon, hitting enemies from a good distance away.||Broom Hatter|
|Cook Kirby wears a large, white chef's hat, as well as wielding a lattle and a frying pan. While in previous games, the ability's function was to pull in all enemies on-screen and defeat them, Cook has been remodeled into a more traditional ability. He can use various foods to attack, as well as throw plates and grab enemies with an ever-extending lattle.||Chef Kawasaki|
|Crash Kirby gains a large, silver crown with harmful aura glowing around it. He has one attack in this state, which involves him creating a massive explosion. This will defeat any enemies and deal heavy damage to any bosses on-screen. After this, Kirby discards the ability.||Bomber|
|Festival will give Kirby a large hat with bright, colorful feathers, which seem fit in a parade. Though in Kirby Star Allies the ability was used to defeat all enemies on-screen, this game remodels it into a more traditional ability. Festival Kirby can attack using balloons, hoops of fire, bowling pins, and party blowers; this makes it somewhat similar to the Circus ability from previous games.|
|Fire Kirby will become red in color, as well as gain a crown with eternal flames burning on it. This ability allows Kirby to use fire-based attacks, from breathing fire to shooting forward like a fireball. Not only can this be used to attack enemies, it can also be used to light fuses and burn ropes.||Burnin' Leo|
|Ice allows Kirby to use icy abilities against enemies. His most basic attack is breathing icy breath, which can encase enemies in a block of ice. In this state, the enemy can be kicked forward, sliding across the ground into other enemies. He can also use this ability to freeze over lava and fire to access new areas.||Chilly|
art by Samtendo09 (t∣b∣c)
|When Kirby gets the Light ability, he gains a large crown covered in crystals, as well as a scepter with a crystal on top of it. Using it, Kirby is able to reflect light at enemies, heavily damaging them. He is also able to shine a bright light to stun enemies nearby for a short time.||Cool Spirit|
|In addition to gaining a hat made of leaves, Kirby gains the ability to throw leaves at enemies. These projectiles not only deal damage, but can also cut rope. The leaves can be thrown in a wide variety of ways, including creating a whirlwing to blow them around or shooting them in spurts downward.||Leafan|
|When Kirby inherits the Mike ability, he gets a pair of headphones and a microphone. He only has one ability in this state; he yells into the microphone, defeating all enemies and heavily damaging bosses on-screen. He can use this attack three times before he discards the ability; the first use has him yell into the microphone, the second use has him loudly play an electric guitar, and the third use has him put on a mohawk and scream death metal into the microphone.||Walky|
|Mirror Kirby possesses a small wand that grants him magical abilities. By waving it, he can make small mirror-like projectiles appear, which damage enemies. He is also able to split himself into various directions for long-ranged combat, and can even create a mirror shield when guarding, which reflects projectiles back at enemies.||Smirror|
|Needle Kirby gains a spiked hat. With it, Kirby can extend the spikes to deal damage to nearby enemies. Compared with previous games, it has garnered some more abilities, such as shooting the spikes in a certain direction to damage enemies. Kirby can also lodge himself into the ground with the spikes in order to fling himself forward.||Tick|
|In addition to gaining a purple color change and a hat, Ninja Kirby receives several weapons that he can use at his disposal. Though the majority of these deal little damage, they come out fast and can hit enemies easily. He is able to throw shurikens, slash enemies with a katana, and even disappear then reappear. Furthermore, Kirby has the additional ability of walking on water.||Bio Spark|
|Pirate Kirby gains a cutlass, which he can use to slash nearby enemies. He has several attacks that can be done with it, ranging from slashes, midair spins, and moving forward while scratching it across the ground. Furthermore, he gains a pirate hat and eyepatch.||Bucko-Neer|
|By inheriting the Plasma ability, Kirby gains several attacks revolving around electricity. In this game, Plasma is combined with the Spark ability from previous games; the attack of discharging electricity to damage nearby enemies is present. Aside from that, Kirby can run around to charge electricity for his next attack - the longer he charges, the stronger his next attack will be. He can slide forward with electricity, or fire a projectile forward to damage enemies.||Sparky|
|After gaining this copy ability, Kirby gains a black chef's hat. His sole ability is to transform into a giant, pink refrigerator. In this state, Kirby is immune to damage, much like Stone, though will not harm any enemies by falling on them. Instead, he opens his doors and releases various food products, which will lay on the ground. Enemies that touch the food will get damaged, and Kirby can turn back into his normal state and eat the food, which refills his health. The fancier the food, the more damage it deals to enemies and the more health it replenishes to Kirby; an apple will deal less damage than a strawberry shortcake, though the latter is significantly less common.||Refrigid|
|This ability gives Kirby a purple cap with white polka dots. Immediately after gaining the ability, Kirby begins falling in a deep sleep. In this state, he cannot move and is left vulnerable to attack. Eventually, he will wake up, immediately discarding the ability.||Noddy|
|The Spear ability, as its name suggests, gives Kirby a spear as a weapon, as well as a helmet. With it, Kirby can attack enemies from a long distance. He can also perform some other techniques, such as using it as a pole to vault himself upward and throwing it at an enemy. It is also one of the few abilities that can be used underwater.||Spear Waddle Dee|
|Suplex Kirby gets a brownish-yellow color change as well as a green headband. With this ability, Kirby receives several wrestling abilities, which he can perform by grabbing nearby enemies and objects; he can grab them, jump upward, and slam them on the ground, defeating them and any other enemies Kirby lands on. Furthermore, Suplex in this game is combined with the Throw ability from previous games; after grabbing an enemy, Kirby can throw them into another enemy or object in a straight line in any direction, defeating them.||Bugzzy|
|In addition to gaining a green hat, the Sword ability gives Kirby a sword weapon to use against enemies. He can perform a variety of slashes that cover varying ranges of area and deal different amounts of damage; some of the more notable attacks include launching a sword beam, a downward thrust performed in midair, and a forward thrust that hits enemies multiple times. It is also one of the few abilities that can be used underwater.||Blade Knight|
|In addition to being blue in color, Water Kirby gains himself a hat made out of water. In normal circumstances, Kirby is able to use water-based attacks that can push away or damage enemies. He is also able to surf along the ground. Underwater however, Kirby gains more swimming speed, and the attacks are stronger. These attack buffs will also remain for a short time when Kirby exits the water as he dries off.||Driblee|
|With this ability, Kirby gains a red baseball cap, and the ability to transform into a wheel. In this state, Kirby dashes forward, damaging any enemies and destroying any obstacles in his path. While in this form, Kirby can jump and change direction. However, while turning, he opens himself up for damage. Upon hitting a wall, Kirby will revert to his normal state.||Wheelie|
Enemies and Bosses
- The game shares its name with Shantae and the Pirate's Curse. This is most likely a coincidence.