Video Game Thoughts: Kirby’s Block Ball

Kirby’s Block Ball was a 1996 arcade-style game by HAL Laboratory for the Game Boy. The gameplay was similar to Breakout with some new innovations. Like Breakout, the player controlled one or more paddles which the ball (in this case Kirby) could bounce off of. The goal was to destroy various bricks and other objects in the middle of the screen by hitting them with the ball. Some objects were destroyed in one hit, others took more than one hits. Some objects were indestructible and had to be worked around with clever bouncing. Behind each paddle were deadly spikes that would kill Kirby if he touched them. The player had to keep Kirby alive while at the same time manipulating the paddles to get him to strike the desired objects.

One new thing in Kirby’s Block Ball compared to Breakout was that some levels had paddles on all four sides of the screen. The early levels started out easy with just one paddle, but later levels got much harder when the player had to worry about all four sides. While this made the game harder, it also made it more interactive. Unlike Breakout, the player was never just sitting there waiting for the ball to stop bouncing above and come down wear the paddle was. In Kirby’s Block Ball the player was constantly attending to the paddles.

Another new thing in Kirby’s Block Ball was the story and boss fights. Even though it was a puzzle game, there was some semblance of story. Kirby had to save the day again. The levels were organized into worlds like the Kirby platforming games, with several levels in each world. The last part of each world was a boss fight. This was one of the best parts of the game. It was really hard, but still really fun. Bosses were hard to hit as they moved around the screen. Some of them could deploy spikes or other weapons that could kill Kirby to make it even harder.

The Kirby series was famous for its platforming games, like Kirby’s Dream Land, but I always liked Kirby’s Block Ball more. When it came to platforming, Mario was the king to me, but Kirby’s Block Ball was really unique. It was a hard game, but not so hard that I gave up. It was just hard enough to keep me interested. Some of the later levels required a few retries, but I didn’t have too many game over screens. This game ended up being one of my favorites during vacation. By the end of vacation I had beaten it and become bored of it, but when vacation came around the next year, I was ready to beat it again.


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