Kirby's Air Ride has no true storyline. Basically, you ride around on flying vehicles often referred to as "machines" or "stars", such as the Warp Star.
Meta Knight-Meta Knight is an unlockable character. He does not use a vehicle, instead he just flies around. Because he has such a high speed and acceleration, he doesn't have a charge meter. He is a combination of Wing and Sword.
King Dedede-King Dedede rides on a whellie bike, and he is controlled as such. He automatically attacks with a hammer when enemies are near. He also has a unique charge meter. He has to be unlocked.
In Kirby's Air Ride, there are three modes. They are Air Ride, Top Ride, and City Trial. In both Air Ride and Top Ride, you race against other players or AI Controlled units. In City trial, the players explore a moderate sized city in search of power-ups and different Machines for use in mini-games that occur after the Trial.
|Air Ride||In Air Ride, you race through multiple race-tracks against a maximum of three other foes. You encounter some smaller enemies, but no bosses. Of course, the obejct of the game is to win. There are two different ways to win a race, the first is to get to the finish line first. That's obvious. The second is to destroy all of your opponents first by either Spin Attacking them or using an obtainable copy ability.|
|Top Ride||A mini race that is small enough to be viewed by a top-down view. There are 7 stages with grass being the easiest. There are only two vehicles in this mode. Both of the vehicles have their own turning method. One is tilted left and right to turn (the origional) and tilting in the direction you want to go in. In Top ride, there are more items then in the air ride mode. Only Kirby can be chosen, and in the cources, there are features that can be altered once it has been unlocked by doing challanges.|
|City Trial||In City Trial, the objective is to ride around a moderate sized city and collect power ups that increase the potential of your Machine. You can also jump off of your machine to get a new one in-game, and two legendary Machines, Dragoon and Hydra, can be used if the right requirements are met, those requierments being to collect the three pieces of either machine by breaking open the red boxes. At the end of the mode, the players will have to do a randomly selected (or a chosen) challenge. The power ups the player got for their machine as well as the machine play a large roll in how well they do.
Throughout the course of the City Trial, random events will occur that may benefit the players, or not. For example, there is an event where all of the items, the boxes and the power ups within, will bounce up and down, making it harder to get power ups.
Multiple Random Events occur in City Trial as well. The most notable could be the Dyna Blade Attack, considering that she and King Dedede are the only bosses to appear in Kirby Air Ride. The other Random Events include Tak stealing all of the power ups, where the players must attack him to acquire the power-ups, large meteors falling from the sky and destroying everything but the buildings, the Rail Stations catching on fire, bouncy items, and a thick fog covering the City, limiting sight.
Playable Characters are also unlockable. The three total playable characters are Meta Knight, Kirby, and King Dedede.
After the time is up in your City Trial run, a mini game will begin. The mini-games are:
|Destruction Derby||5 stages||Players use their Machines to fight each other to the death. All Copy Abilities are available and each kill is worth one star. The player with the most stars wins the mini-game.|
|Kirby Melee||2 stages||All players are thrown into a small sized arena where basic foes attack you. The players' objective is to destroy more enemies than all the other players, using either the spin attacks or the Copy Abilities you can acquire from the foes. The player who destroys the most enemies, including other players, wins.|
|Single Race||9 stages||Players use their machines to race through the Air Ride courses in one lap. If one player loses all their health, that player is out.|
|High Jump||2 rounds||The players jump off of ramps to see who can go the highest.|
|Air glider||The players jump off of ramps to see who can fly the farthest.|
|Target||2 rounds||Players jump off of ramps and fly into a large square board. The board has different panels, each with a different number. You get the number of points indicated on the panel you run into.|
|Vs. King Dedede||The players are put into a Destruction Derby Arena and fight to the 'death' against King Dedede. Although players should work together, the AI Units still attack all human players as if it was a basic Destruction Derby Match.|
- Dyna Blade and King Dedede are the only two bosses to appear in Kirby Air Ride.
- Kirby Air Ride was originally meant to be an Nintendo 64 game. However, the game was cancelled. It made another appearance at E3 as a GameCube preview.
- The Winged Star, Shadow Star, Formula Star and Rocket Star appeared in a special episode of Kirby: Right Back At Ya!
- This is the last Kirby game that Masahiro Sakurai, the character's creator, directly worked on.