When ready, the player can tap the touch screen, starting the game. Once started, the screen will have a certain number of Kirbys with other objects such as Rockys, Beanbons, Mossys, or peaches which may cover a Kirby or may be mistaken for one. A strategy to play the game is to tap on a Kirby, causing him to flash. After 3 seconds, the curtain will close, and the player will need to put in onscreen the amount of Kirbys. If the player puts in the correct number, he/she will progress to the next stage. However, if the wrong number is put in, the game will end. If the player does exceptionally well, he/she will get two or even one second to count the Kirbys of later rounds. The game goes on infinitely if the player never loses, but Stage 99 is the highest round.
Kirby Curtain Call is similar in nature to Tamasan's counting sub-game from Kirby's Dream Land 3, except Kirbys are counted instead of Gordos. Also, while Tamasan tells the player to recall the number of Gordos that take a certain (random) color, Kirby Curtain Call consistently challenges the player to remember the number of Kirbys.