Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards will be the next game added to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, joining the growing library of emulated N64 games on the subscription service on Friday 20th May.
— Nintendo of Europe (@NintendoEurope) May 13, 2022
The full line up of N64 games on Nintendo Switch Online now includes:
- Dr. Mario 64
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- Mario Kart 64
- Mario Tennis
- Sin and Punishment
- Star Fox 64
- Super Mario 64
- Yoshi’s Story
- Paper Mario
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
- F-Zero X
- Mario Golf
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (from 20th May 2022)
Originally released for Nintendo 64 in 2000, Kirby 64 was a game that bucked some of the recent trends in video games. While Mario, Banjo_Kazooie, Crash, Spyro and plenty other platforming stars were leaping into fully or largely 3D worlds, Kirby 64 stuck resolutely to side-scrolling platforming. Not only that, but it still used the D-pad on the unloved left-most prong of the N64 controller, where most games would have you grabbing the central grip for the analogue stick. That said, it did still mark the first use of 3D graphics for the Kirby series, and adopted a 2.5D perspective.
Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has regularly cropped up in Nintendo’s retro gaming collections. It was rereleased through the Virtual Console on the Wii in 2008 and Wii U in 2015, as well as being included in the Wii compilation release Kirby’s Dream Collection.
Having missed the jump to 3D of the mid-late 90s, Kirby’s adventures would then go handheld on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS for the following decade. When he returned to home consoles in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land in 2011, 2.5D sidescrolling platformers were back in vogue thanks to the huge success and popularity of the New Super Mario Bros. games.
In the end, it took HAL Laboratories until this year, 2022, to figure out how to adapt Kirby to 3D gaming. Kirby and the Forgotten Land released in March, seeing the pink puff ball adventure in 3D for the first time in what is a rather enjoyable adventure. In our Kirby and the Forgotten Land review I said:
“Kirby and the Forgotten Land makes Kirby’s jump to 3D feel effortless, but it’s much more than that, with the vibrantly styled decaying world to explore and the Mouthful Modes that will have you laughing with each new one that’s discovered.”