Kirby Bowl 64 (unreleased Nintendo 64 prototype of "Kirby Air Ride" game; 1996)
Kirby Bowl 64 is the unreleased prototype of what eventually became Kirby's Air Ride for the Nintendo 64 game console, which itself was cancelled too, until it eventually resurfaced on the Nintendo GameCube.
Nintendo released Kirby Bowl, known as Kirby's Dream Course in western markets, for the SNES in 1994 and 1995 respectively. Later in 1995, a sequel was announced alongside Ultra Mario (Super Mario 64) and Pilotwings 64 for Nintendo's next console, the then-named Ultra 64. Kirby Bowl 64 was covered in magazine previews and had some early footage debut at Nintendo's 1995 Shoshinkai trade show. However, when the Nintendo 64 launched in 1996, Kirby had simply vanished. Eventually, the game resurfaced after being retooled into Kirby's Air Ride.
Footage and previews confirmed that Kirby Bowl 64 was a 3D evolution of its predecessor, where Kirby assumes the role of a golf ball. The player must putt Kirby along in elaborate courses, avoiding obstacles and destroying enemies before guiding Kirby to the exit hole with a limited amount of putts. In the Shoshinkai footage, Kirby dons a surfboard at one point and slides along the level. It is highly likely that this new ability is what inspired the developers to alter the gameplay into the racing title, Kirby's Air Ride, where characters use similar items to race each other through colorful courses.
Footage preview of the Nintendo 64 by YouTuber Bad Influence featured off-screen footage of a playable build of the game. The demo featured multiplayer action where multiple Kirby's attempts to knock each other off of a small arena.
To date, no playable version of Kirby Bowl 64 has ever surfaced and little footage of gameplay is currently available.
- Kirby's Air Ride (lost Nintendo 64 beta build of "Kirby Air Ride" game; 1996)
- Kirby's Return to Dreamland (cancelled prototypes to Wii platformer; 2000-2011)
- Kid Kirby (cancelled Super Nintendo game of action-platformer series; 1990s)