Dark Matter has taken control of Ripple Star to capture the fairies' powerful Crystal. The Ripple Star Queen orders Ribbon to take care of it, but while she escapes, the young fairy is ambushed by Dark Matter, which shatters the Crystal.
Ribbon falls to Pop Star, landing near Kirby, who was observing the meteor shower and befriends her during their encounter. She points out her predicament, and Kirby agrees to help the fight against the evil Dark Matter, collecting the Crystal Shards along the way.
Kirby must journey through the six planets, and collect the scattered pieces of a Crystal used to defeat Dark Matter.
Kirby has seven different copy abilities to chose from being: Burning, Stone, Ice, Needle, Bomb, Spark, and Cutter. There are 35 abilities to combine, but sometimes, combined ones are stronger.
Three minigames can be played on difficulty levels (Easy, Medium, Hard, Intense). Playable characters in multiplayer are Kirby, Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and King Dedede.
- 100-Yard Hop
- Bumper Crop Bump
- Checker Board Chase
|Kirby||The hero of Dream Land. He's the star of the game. Kirby retains a great many of his abilities.|
|Ribbon||The fairy who befriends Kirby to save her home planet from Dark Matter.|
|Waddle Dee||A kind Waddle Dee who came across a Crystal Shard, he was possessed by Dark Matter. He willingly tags along with Kirby, and operates many mechanisms to help him.|
|Adeleine||Adeleine found a Crystal Shard, but was possessed by Dark Matter. She asks Kirby if she can aid him, and he agrees. She can paint pictures that come to life, which is very useful.|
|King Dedede||The greedy monarch cares only for the value of the Crystal Shard that landed on Mt. Dedede, but he saw the size of the situation right before he was possessed by Dark Matter. After his mind was freed by Kirby, he selfishly stood by, but Waddle Dee somehow convinced him. He reluctantly helps Kirby by allowing Kirby to ride on his back, and wielding his hammer for massive damage.|
|Whispy Woods||The traditional oak fights Kirby for a Crystal Shard on Pop Star. He fights with his three sons.|
|Pix||Three diamond-like creatures that act as a group. They fight Kirby for a Crystal Shard on Rock Star.|
|Acro||The orca whale originally from Pop Star's Ripple Field. He fights Kirby for a Crystal Shard on Aqua Star.|
|Magman||A lava monster that lives in the volcano. He fights Kirby for a Crystal Shard on Neo Star.|
|HR-H||A giant robot that oversees production on Shiver Star. He fights Kirby for a Crystal Shard, also transforming from his humanoid form to the HR-E vehicle.|
|Miracle Matter||A form of pure Dark Matter that has taken control of Ripple Star. It uses Copy Abilities just like Kirby. He can only be damaged by hitting his current form with the correct ability.|
|Ripple Star Queen||The Queen of the Fairies. She is actually possessed by Dark Matter. If the Crystal is complete, then it will shoot her with a laser and extract the Dark Matter from her body, revealing Dark Star.|
|Zero Two||The evil being that controls the Dark Matter. Like some other characters, he makes a return appearance from Kirby's Dream Land 3. He fights in Dark Star, in a form known as "0^2" (Zero Squared). He slightly resembles his old form, Zero.|
Early screenshots of the game were originally posted on Nintendo.com on June 1, 1999. The screenshot showed Waddle Dee, Adeleine, and King Dedede as playable characters throughout the game, but removed in the final version. Some of these elements were removed in the final retail version, though King Dedede was still playable in certain stages.
Kirby 64 received "generally favorable reviews" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. Many reviewers accused the game of being too short and easy while others enjoyed the varied level design and colorful graphics.
GameSpot said, "While some might be initially put off by the youthful nature of Kirby 64, the depth of the power combo system really brings a lot to what would otherwise be an average platformer." IGN's Aaron Boulding also spoke highly of the ability combination mechanic, stating that "this is one of the most innovative ideas we've seen in a videogame in a long time." In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of one seven, one nine, and two eights for a total of 32 out of 40.
The game was a commercial success, selling over 1.07 million copies in Japan and 541,600 copies in the United States.
- This is the only game in the Kirby series where Kirby can combine copy abilities.
- Waddle Dee was supposed to pick up enemies and even hide in a house for his attacks.
- In one of the three files, Kine's theme music can be heard during the instructions before the actual gameplay.
- This game was originally proposed to be released on the Nintendo 64DD, but was later moved to the Nintendo 64, due to the commercial failure of the former.
- This game is one of the few to not feature the Pep Brew as a food item.
- This game is one of the few to not feature the Kirby Dance in any form. Instead, after every successful boss fight, Kirby turns to the screen, waves, and says "Hiiiii".
- In the Japanese version, there is an onigiri (rice ball) food item, but this was replaced by a sandwich in all other versions. During the goal game at the end of levels, however, Waddle Dee can be seen munching on an onigiri.
- If Kirby is balancing on the very edge of a platform (during the balancing animation) and uses the Cutter ability (single or Super Boomerang), it appears as though his feet are merely floating alongside his form rather than connected.
- The File Select music was remixed and used for the Menu music in Kirby Canvas Curse. It also has some elements of the Milky Way Wishes intro music, and bears similarities to the File Select music of various The Legend of Zelda games.
- The level select music for Ripple Star called "Ripple Star Select" is used as the "wait-room" theme for The Arena, Helper to Hero, and The TRUE Arena in Kirby Super Star Ultra, as well as the music in Dream Land in Kirby's Epic Yarn.
- In Kirby's Epic Yarn, the music for the Yin-Yarn battle is a slightly tweaked remix of this game's standard boss theme and Miracle Matter's theme.
- The boss theme in The Crystal Shards is a remix of the boss theme from Kirby's Dream Land 3. Another remix was used as the mid-boss theme (Halcandra) in Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
- 02's motives for attacking Ripple Star and smashing the Crystal are never explained. They are most likely the same motives for attacking Popstar in Kirby's Dream Land 3.
- The Good Ending bears some resemblance to the ending scene of the 1977 film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and is likely a parody of or homage to it.
- This is the only game to depict Kirby having any hint of romantic relationship, with Ribbon giving Kirby a kiss on the cheek in the good ending. ChuChu does have a crush on Kirby in the official manga, but the manga is not considered to be canon.
- This is the last time that King Dedede is seen without mittens.
- The game's description on the Wii Shop Channel states that this is the first game where Dark Matter is the main villain; this is untrue, as Kirby's Dream Land 2 was where the character debuted as a villain (albeit subliminally), and Kirby's Dream Land 3 strongly implied it to be the villain in the prologue.
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and Kirby's Epic Yarn are the only games in the series in which Kirby smiles while standing and walking. In all other games, Kirby's expression is neutral.
- The Music Room in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is represented by an image of the number 64 on a gingham (plaid) background. This is the same 64 as it is used in the Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards logo. The gingham pattern is also featured.
- The mid-boss theme of this game was rearranged as the music for Deploy the Kirby Tank! and Burning Secrets in Kirby and the Rainbow Curse.
- Official American website
- Official Japanese website at Virtual Console Reviews
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards