March 2021 Kirby’s Pinball Land (1993)

Hallo! It is me, Ian Ferguson, the prodigal Yokoi Dad. I’ve been up to no good while everyone else has been enjoying the monthly games, but I have returned remorseful and ready for this month’s game Kirby’s Pinball Land! It was released by HAL Laboratories in 1993 as a spin-off to the wildly popular and still brand-spankin’ new Kirby series. Pinball was not new territory for HAL having already released the excellent Revenge of the ‘Gator for the Game Boy in 1989. The design here picks up beautifully where that game left off and consists of multiple tiered pinball lands, all with a final boss to be defeated via frantic flipper action.

Each level is a three-tiered example of bite-size pinball fun. The main focus for players trying to get a high score should be the second level on each table which can provide entry to unique bonus rounds. These are simple and fun and can help build up important multipliers and bonuses. The third level of each stage can lead to a boss battle, and after defeating the boss of all three tables Kirby will face King Dedede. If players drain out of the first level on any table they will have an opportunity to launch themselves back up into play without losing a life, but this requires precise timing and gets more difficult with each drain! Action is easy to follow and incorporates the characters from the series well. The music is bouncy and fun and while the physics aren’t exactly accurate they do have a nice feel. You can reliably learn how the ball will handle and that’s the most important aspect of a pinball game.

In case it wasn’t obvious this is a game I dearly love. I’ve been playing it since I was a kid and it never grows old. I’ve had multiple high-score competitions with friends over the years and always lose! Grab this game and get going on some new high scores I’ll never beat and post ’em to Twitter! This cart is on 3DS Virtual Console and can be had physically for about ten bucks, maybe even less, so get in on the flippin’ flappin’!

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