During the March 2018 Nintendo Direct, new information for Kirby Star Allies, the pink puffball’s debut on the Nintendo Switch, was revealed. This included playable Dream Friends which players can download through a free future update and use as allies in the game. Newer fans of Kirby might be unfamiliar with this group of characters, but they have all appeared in previous Kirby titles — most notably Kirby’s Dream Land 2 for the original Game Boy — as well as cameos in plenty of other Nintendo games. So who exactly are these returning friends?
Rick is a large hamster who made his first appearance in Kirby’s Dream Land 2 alongside other animal friends. He became friends with Kirby after being saved from a group of enemies. Rick can be used to traverse hazardous terrain and doesn’t slip on icy platforms. Since Rick is twice the size of Kirby, he can’t fit into small spaces, but he can wall jump and defeat enemies by jumping on them. Rick can also inhale enemies, and although he can’t gain abilities from this technique, he can combine his abilities with Kirby’s for an increased variety of attacks. For Kirby’s Dreamland 3 on the Super Nintendo, Rick’s inhale ability is replaced by a charging attack. This is where Rick’s love interest, Pick, was also introduced.
Coo is an owl, and like Rick, first appeared in Kirby’s Dream Land 2. Coo has the ability to fly, which can give players a great advantage in certain situations. Additionally, Coo is strong enough to fly through powerful wind currents. Coo can also combine with Kirby’s abilities to use stronger attacks.
Kine is an ocean sunfish who also first appeared in Kirby’s Dreamland 2. Kine can help Kirby traverse through water and swim through strong currents, allowing Kirby to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Kine can be used on land as well, but being a fish, he isn’t very useful. In Kirby’s Dream Land 3, Kine gained the ability to jump on smaller enemies and had an increase in speed on land, making him just as fast as the other characters. Like the other animal friends, Kine can merge with Kirby’s abilities for more attacks.
The slime creature Gooey first appeared in Kirby’s Dream Land 2, found in bags after defeating specific mid-bosses after the animal friend originally found in the bag is already paired with Kirby. Gooey restores Kirby’s health when found. There is also a rare female version of Gooey who grants Kirby an extra life.
Gooey became a playable ally in Kirby’s Dreamland 3 and can be controlled by a CPU or second player. Gooey can also eat enemies to gain their abilities, but unlike Kirby, can also use this ability underwater and can’t inhale two enemies at once.
Marx first appeared as a supposed ally and later antagonist in the Milky Way Wishes game in Kirby Super Star on the Super Nintendo and its Nintendo DS remake, Kirby Super Star: Ultra. Marx is the only former antagonist — besides mainstays Meta Knight and King Dedede — to be announced as a dream friend so far. He appears in his first form in Kirby Star Allies.
More Allies to Come?
Kirby: Star Allies may not be a monumental change for the Kirby franchise, but at least it remembers its roots. Will more characters return? Will we see Adeleine (also known as Ado) from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, or former antagonists like the Squeak Squad from Kirby: Squeak Squad return to help Kirby out? Kirby fans will just have to wait and see for more characters to appear through future updates.