Kirby is the bright young puffball off to recover the Sparkling Stars from King Dedede's band of thieves. He can suck objects with his mouth very strongly. This lets Kirby inhale most of the enemies he will encounter, then spit them back out as his main form of attack. Kirby also possesses the ability to fly indefinitely by puffing himself up. While inflated, Kirby cannot inhale enemies, but he can release the air stored inside him in a strong puff that also harms enemies. Kirby cannot fly if he still has an object inhaled, as it makes him too heavy to float.
By default, Kirby has six bars of health and five extra lives. If Kirby touches an enemy or gets hit by an attack, he will lose one bar of health. Once Kirby's health drops to zero, he will expend an extra life and start over from part of the level he is currently in. If Kirby runs out of extra lives, you will get a Game Over screen, where you're presented with two options. If you choose the Continue option, your score will be halved and Kirby will have to start over from the beginning of the stage. If you choose the End option, Kirby's quest will end early and you will be returned back to the title screen.
In his quest, Kirby can come across various items at set locations. These usually replenishes any lost vitality, but some items are temporary power-ups that help Kirby advance through the level.
- Pep Brews: These bottled energy drinks will recover two bars of health when Kirby collects them.
- Maxim Tomatoes: Be sure to seek out these tomatoes with "M"s on them, as they will bring Kirby back to full health.
- 1-Up: As can be inferred from the icon of the item, touching them will grant Kirby an extra life.
- Microphone: Inhale this item and spit it back out to make Kirby scream into the microphone, sending a sound wave that destroys every enemy on the screen. It's ineffective against bosses.
- Bomb: Left alone, they can explode after a while. If you inhale them before they do, you can spit it out at enemies to do damage with its wide blast radius.
- Superspicy Curry: This exotic food is so spicy that it will cause Kirby's mouth to combust, letting him spit out fireballs rapidly. Contact with water will extinguish its potent flames, causing the power-up to end prematurely.
- Invincibility Candy: This magical lollipop will make Kirby completely impervious to enemy attacks, as well as letting you defeat them by just touching them. Charge through your foes when you're powered up! The power-up will only last for as long as the tune does, so don't get too overzealous with it.
- Mint Leaf: The Mint Leaf will give Kirby enough air to inflate him for as long as he wants, while letting him shoot infinite air puffs.
- Warp Star: Touching this will make Kirby ride it, transporting him to another area in the stage.