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Beads appear in various sizes and colors, but the colors are purely decorative. The indicator of each bead's worth is its size.
The majority of beads are in plain view. Most maps, however, have caches of beads off the regular stage path, and these can be collected by simply exploring the map thoroughly.
Sometimes, beads are not visible or available until something specific is done. Depending on the situation, this can be many things:
- Pulling off a flap covering beads using the yarn whip.
- Moving over (!) symbols. This reveals a number of hidden beads which always disappear if not collected within a reasonable amount of time. The number of them appearing and whether they drop to the ground depends on the specific location.
- Destroying an obscuring object, such as fabric blocks, cotton wool, or crystal blocks.
- Pulling on zippers or buttons which reveals beads hidden behind a layer of fabric.
- Waiting below an Ooki so it throws beads at Kirby until it runs out. Yields 27 beads each.
- Unraveling or defeating a Sneak Sack using the Yarn Whip. Each yields 100 beads. Rolling a Sneak Sack up into a yarn ball does not yield any beads, however.
- Keeping an eye out for map-specific special events. Beads can appear within undersea bubbles and streak down as shooting stars.
- In stages involving the Off-Roader form, hidden beads are revealed after crashing through an entire sequence of columns via the use of a Metamortex.
- In Dolphin form, Kirby can swim through hoops (some multiple times) to obtain 5 beads per swim-through.
- In Spin Boarder form, performing long jump combos and getting to the right place will have hidden beads appear along Kirby's intended path.
Defeating regular enemies and minibosses, and doing damage or disabling bosses will cause them to drop beads. There is a maximum number of beads that can be dropped by every boss, after which they will drop no more. Collecting beads will contribute both to the bead string at the top of the screen and the streak meter at the top.
The total number of beads Kirby has collected is shown at the top left, and represented by a string of beads. The color of the bead icon is purely decorative, and cycles all the colors of the rainbow as beads are collected.
The player is awarded with wooden, bronze, silver, or gold medals in each stage depending on the highest number of beads Kirby finishes the stage with. The medal thresholds vary for each stage, but these are marked with metal nibs on an empty or half-filled string. Finishing any stage with enough beads for a gold medal will make Kirby perform an extended Kirby Dance with Prince Fluff, otherwise the two will do the standard short version.
The circular meter at the end of the bead string is the streak meter. The streak meter's value gets a +1 for every bead collected, regardless of value. Every 50 beads completes one cycle on the meter and additional beads are granted.
Every 50 additional beads thereafter grant 500 beads each. Taking any form of damage or falling off the stage will reset the streak meter completely.
Bonus Bell wheel
Every non-boss stage contains three Bonus Stars, and the Bonus Bell wheel at the end of the stage. Collecting any of the three Bonus Stars in the stage will unlock the relevant slots on the Wheel - otherwise it will remain empty or have empty slots. Every star is worth 100 beads and blank slots are worth zero. If the pointer lands on an occupied slot, these bonus beads are added to the bead string (but not the streak meter) before the stage ends. To have the pointer land on the 5-star slot, have Kirby hit the bell when the pointer just passes the first 2/3 of the 5-star section.
Each stage contains three treasures, and collecting these will add 100 beads each to the player's total bead count after the stage ends, but these do not contribute to the bead string, the streak meter, or towards getting medals for that stage.
Kirby and/or Prince Fluff lose beads when they take damage, or being in a place not deemed inaccessible (i.e. falling off the stage, into lava or getting squished in between cloth). Having zero beads when that happens simply means no more beads are dropped. The amount of beads lost depends on the amount Kirby and the Prince are currently carrying, but generally they drop all of it if they have less than a few hundred, or just over half if they have more than that.
Dropped beads only remain in play for a short time and are lost forever if they are not picked up immediately. This is not always possible, however, as falling off the stage will result in dropped beads falling off the stage as well, and taking damage in a bottomless body of water will cause dropped beads to sink through the stage.
In the case of falling off the stage or into lava, or getting squished, Angie will carry Kirby or the Prince back to the last checkpoint. Beads are dropped the whole way back, first in the highest denomination available (usually star beads) until Kirby or the Prince have lost just over half their stash, and then beads are dropped in smaller amounts until either Kirby or Prince Fluff reach the checkpoint. If there are two players, the player being carried by Angie can press the A button and have Angie carry them to the other player instead of the checkpoint and not drop any beads altogether.
This section explains the statistics and numbers about beads in the game, as well as the theory behind maximizing the number of beads collected.
It is worth noting that the game is designed for fairly straightforward play. Going out of one's way to maximize the number of collected beads in a stage is not necessary, and doing so can take anywhere from 3 to many times longer to complete most stages. However, it can be of interest from an extreme high score standpoint (about 1,000 to 2,000 beads more than a standard, complete stage run-through, up to 7,000+ total is possible), and it is highly challenging to execute, mostly involving planning ahead and understanding game mechanics as well as mastery or memorization of the stage in question.
The stages more suited for this kind of manipulation are the ones where super Metamortex transformations and bottomless pits are less, or ideally, not involved, have a decent number of enemies, and provide plenty of opportunities for backtracking.
When Beads Drop
As a general rule, regular enemies only drop beads if defeated using a projectile. This can be a yarn ball projectile, or projectiles from Kirby's Tankbot, Star Shooter, or Rocket form. The Saucer's discharge attack, and the Dolphin form's surge attack yield beads as well. Beads are not dropped, however, if enemies are unravelled using the yarn whip, stomped in Weight form, when Kirby rolls over them when trapped inside a snowball, or when land-only enemies are pushed into water, lava, off the stage, into spikes, or are squished in between cloth layers. Regular enemies drop 5 beads when defeated using the yarn ball projectile. The weapons that some of them carry are worth 0 beads. Each unique enemy only drops beads once; after defeating them and moving off-screen for some distance and coming back, the new enemy in exactly the same place will no longer have any more beads to drop. Constantly respawning enemies, e.g. those from red patches, and Dropsos, do not yield any beads.
Regardless of intrinsic value, a few more beads have the potential to add hundreds of beads to the total count due to filling another 50 units on the streak meter. As each enemy used as a yarn ball loses Kirby 5 beads, it is important to minimize the number of unique enemies used as such, by only using the ones defeated prior as yarn balls, or arrows, swords, spears, or projectiles from enemies carrying them, as these have 0 bead value. Likewise, it is important to preserve enemies from getting destroyed by bombs or other environmental hazards until Kirby is ready to defeat them himself. Extra beads are granted for defeating multiple enemies using a single penetrating projectile.
Due to the nature and weight of the streak bonus, it is important not to get Kirby or the Prince hurt in any stage.
One last concern would be the fact that beads randomly scatter when enemies are defeated, and it would be prudent to manipulate the enemy's position such that Kirby has time to collect most, if not all of the dropped beads. The difficulty factor to pull this off increases dramatically on stages with bottomless pits, and when the stage is more vertical than horizontal (e.g. Big-Bean Vine).
In normal circumstances, it would be rare to be able to hit more than three targets with a single penetrating projectile. However, Kirby can manipulate or push the less dangerous enemies (especially Waddle Dees) into a dense line but it can be very time-consuming to do so.
Defeating multiple enemies with a single penetrating projectile projectile yields more beads than defeating them individually. Multiple hits using 3x homing projectiles do not yield any bonuses. The estimated base (minimum) values can be modelled as follows:
|Number (n)||Total (T)||Bonus (T - 5n)||Bonus difference|
There appears to be a small chance for none to all of the defeated enemies to drop one extra bead each, so there is a final modifier with max value = n and min value = 0.
Predictive accuracy of tabulated values (and this model) deteriorate with greater values of n. Extrapolation is not viable. All values have experimental origins, obtained from a small number of tests (about 25) in Fountain Gardens.
Bonus beads are dropped in the smallest, or almost smallest number of beads possible. The variation appears to be caused by whether the beads have been dropped from the previous defeated enemies before the projectile hit the others, but this is very difficult to test and is ignored. So for all intents and purposes, one can expect defeating 3 enemies in a row will yield a total of 15 (value 1) beads and 1 (value 10) bead that accounts for the 10 extra beads for defeating 3 enemies in 1 shot, not counting up to 3 additional (value 1) beads that have a chance to be dropped from the random final modifier. Therefore, combos using penetrating projectiles have the greatest effect on increasing the total bead value directly collected, and much less of an impact on the streak meter unless 4 more are defeated in a row.
This rather demeaning exploit involves looking for the ideal place where lost beads are contained in a small area e.g. a lowered part of the ground, and pushing an enemy with a weapon into that area, so Kirby can lose and recollect the massive amount of beads he should have before completing the stage, without risk of having them disappear. Since the streak meter grants 50 extra beads for every 50 beads recollected, this technique theoretically makes high scores infinitely high for suitable maps. The only difficulty lies in getting enough beads such that at least 50 beads drop from Kirby before any single one of them disappears.
100% Game Completion
For 100% completion, one needs:
- 10,000 beads for the apartments 201 and 202
- 25,000 beads for the apartments 301 and 302
- 30,000 beads for Loomis Woole's entire inventory of Fabrics (73 pieces)
- 79,800 beads for Chaise Woole's entire inventory of Furniture (81 pieces)
Grand total of at least 144,800 beads. The player should comfortably obtain at least 100,000 beads if he/she completes all 50 stages with a decent streak bonus and about 2,000 beads (more or less depending on the stage).