In this puzzle game, Kirby stacked colorful falling Blobs. By strategically rotating and moving Blobs before they hit the pile, Kirby could destroy them and set off chain reactions. This game included two-player bouts and matches against many familiar faces from the Kirby universe. It's the only Kirby game that wasn't released in Japan.”
Kirby's Avalanche (Kirby's Ghost Trap in PAL regions) is a tile-matching puzzle game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). A spin-off of the Kirby series, it was originally released in Europe on February 1, 1995 and was later released in North America on April 25, 1995. To date, it has not had a Japanese release. It was developed by HAL Laboratory in cooperation with Compile.
Kirby's Avalanche is an adaptation of the Compile-developed puzzle game series Puyo Puyo. Puyo Puyo was not properly introduced to regions outside of Japan and Asia until the early 2000s, and the series saw several other rebranded localizations in Western regions that featured heavily altered graphics and sounds. Kirby's Avalanche is specifically a direct modification of the game Super Puyo Puyo, and the characters and music of that game (with the exception of "Panic") are replaced by Kirby characters and songs. Super Puyo Puyo takes place in the Madō Monogatari universe, and was converted into a Kirby spin-off for its international releases without any changes to gameplay. As a result, Kirby's Avalanche is not considered to be canonical to the Kirby series.
Welcome to Dream Land, a small and peaceful country situated on a far away little star. In Dream Land the local pastime is a puzzle game called "Avalanche." Kirby decided that since every Dream Lander plays the game, it would be a great idea to have a country-wide competition to determine who is the best player of all.
After months of organizing, the First Annual Dream Land's Avalanche Competition was finally announced. To be held at the Dream Fountain, this would be the biggest event in the history of Dream Land!
All the Dream Landers have been practicing, and all plan to attend and compete. Like Kirby, they have been dreaming sweet dreams of becoming the Avalanche Champion and claiming the highly sought after "Dream Fountain Cup."
The rules for the competition are quite simple: Everyone will travel by foot to the Dream Fountain. If, while on their journey, two Dream Landers happen to meet, they must challenge each other to an Avalanche match. Only the winner of the match may continue onward towards the Dream Fountain. In this way, the number of competitors will be whittled down to a manageable size before the final action at the Dream Fountain.
Can you help guide Kirby through the competition so he arrives successfully at the Dream Fountain? Can he rise above the grizzled veterans and achieve his dream of becoming the reigning champion? His fate is in your hands!”
— The Story • Kirby's Avalanche Instruction Booklet
In the game, as in all Puyo Puyo games, groups of two colored Blobs fall from the top of the screen. The player must rotate and move the groups before they touch the bottom of the screen or the pile, so that matching-colored Blobs touch from above, below, the left or the right. Once four or more same-colored Blobs touch, they will disappear, and any Blobs above them will fall down to fill in the space. If a player manages to set off a chain reaction with these Blobs, Boulders will fall on the other player's screen. The number of Boulders that falls depends on both the number of Blobs popped and the number of consecutive chain reactions. These Boulders will only disappear if a player manages to pop a group of Blobs that are in direct contact with the Boulders.
Notably, in the cinematics between each round, Kirby and the other characters are shown having conversations and trash-talking with each other in full sentences. This differs greatly from other Kirby games, where the cast hardly speaks at all. Kirby's personality in the game is completely different from every other game medium he appears in, as he is portrayed as much more sarcastic and confrontational than normal. Kirby may have been given this attitude to cater to the perceived tastes and character preferences of Western audiences, as the game was designed specifically for North American and European markets, and has never been released in Japan. Note that in the original Puyo Puyo series, main character Arle Nadja had a similar personality before getting a major overhaul in the series' fifth game, Puyo Puyo Fever.
Some of the music from Kirby's Adventure is remixed for Kirby's Avalanche. Additionally, Bugzzy, Paint Roller, Heavy Mole, Mr. Shine & Mr. Bright, and Meta Knight all originated from Kirby's Adventure and appear in this game. Finally, the Fountain of Dreams reappears in this game with Nightmare's "Power Orb" form resting on it.
This game can be considered Nintendo's counterpart of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, another localized modification of Puyo Puyo that was released on Sega Genesis. Instead of using Kirby characters, it drew upon the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog TV series.
Kirby's Avalanche contains a custom options secret only accessible through a code. On Controller 2, the player must hold A, B, X, Y, then press Reset on the Control Deck. While still holding the buttons on Controller 2, he/she must then press Start on Controller 1. He can then go to the Options mode, choose "Custom," and discover more possible options.
Entering a specific Gameshark code will add to the game's "Special Custom" menu. One of the options contained in this menu is called "Sousai." This option is similar to the mechanic introduced in Puyo Puyo Tsu by the same name (called Offsetting in future English releases). Before a Boulder falls, you can pop a group of Blobs to clear them out before they fall, however, unlike future releases, you cannot use this to counterattack.
This is the first game to call Meta Knight by his actual name in-game.
This is also the first game in which Meta Knight uses his current design.
Technically, this is also the first Kirby game to have voices, although the announcer is the only one who has voice acting.
This is also the first game in which Kirby and King Dedede are shown to speak.
This is the only Kirby game not to be released in Japan.
All the bosses from Kirby's Dream Land and Kirby's Adventure return as opponents, with the exception of Kabula and Nightmare.
On the box art, King Dedede is not wearing his gloves. In-game, however, he does wear them.
Kirby's Avalanche and Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble are currently the only games that has an announcer announce the title on the title screen.
The garbage puyos (as they are known in the Puyo Puyo series) are referred to as "boulders" in the US version, and "ghosts" in the European version. Also, the game's box either mentions an "Avalanche Competition," or a "Ghost Trap Competition," depending on the region. Aside from these words, the advertising text on the back of the US and English European boxes is exactly the same, as is the in-game tutorial that mentions "boulders" or "ghosts."
The game's European title, Kirby's Ghost Trap, appears to have been intended to invite comparison to the Ghostbusters film series, despite the lack of any real connection to it. Whether coincidentally or not, HAL Laboratory had previously developed a game with the Ghostbusters II license for the NES in 1990, known as New Ghostbusters II.
In Europe, Squishy's dialogue box wasn't widened for the Ghost Trap name, so when he speaks the line "An eight-armed Ghost Trap for you then, Kirby!," the word "you" overflows the text box.