As in most of his games, Kirby is able to copy the abilities of certain enemies by inhaling and swallowing them. There are also interactive environments, with obstacles that are passable with copy abilities (examples include freezing water to get across with the Ice ability, or cutting down tall tufts of grass with his Sword or Cutter ability). Kirby will also be able to collect and store copy abilities and items in his stomach, which is represented on the touch screen. A special power, "Bubble", can be used to create such abilities from the monsters on the screen. The player can combine certain abilities, similar to Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards , however, these are limited to only Sword, Fire, Ice, Spark and Bomb. Mixing abilities is achieved by dragging one ability over another with the stylus. If the two are compatible with each other, they will combine and produce a new ability (example: Fire + Sword = Fire Sword). This can only be done if the scroll (mentioned below) for a certain ability is found. However, if they are not compatible, they will combine to create a random bubble.
As another aspect of the storage and mixing ability, Kirby can acquire subparts of a bonus power item and then mix them to create that bonus item. For example, collecting 3 mini-Kirbys will grant the player an extra life, while collecting 3 small stars will generate a large star that can be used for destroying large enemies. Kirby can also store health-restoring items as well.
Returning copy abilities include Beam, Bomb, Cupid, Cutter, Fighter, Fire, Hammer, Hi-Jump, Ice, Laser, Magic, Ninja, Parasol, Sleep, Spark, Sword, Throw, Tornado, U.F.O., and Wheel. New abilities are Animal, Bubble, Ghost, Metal, and Triple Star. Many of the copy abilities feature multiple attacks, a recurring trend also seen in Kirby Super Star and Kirby and the Amazing Mirror.
A new concept to Kirby games introduced in this game are the Copy Scrolls, which power up any power that Kirby has when chosen. Examples include Hammer growing nearly double its size if charged up, Tornado and Wheel taking the elemental properties of the terrain they pass over, and Spark can build up energy that can be released in a similar fashion to the way the Plasma ability from Kirby Super Star works.
Each level contains one or more treasure chests (usually each level contains 2 small red chests and a large blue chest, although boss levels only contain one big blue chest), with the ultimate goal of the game to collect all the chests; the chests include keys needed to unlock secret levels and worlds, the ability to change Kirby's color, portions of a jigsaw puzzle picture, and more additional game content; these are awarded when the player successfully completes the level with that chest. The player will need to make sure they have enough space in Kirby's stomach to store the chests, removing unneeded items or combining similar items to make space. The larger chests are generally more difficult to obtain, and require Kirby to face a member of the Squeak Squad in a challenge to obtain and escape the section before the Squeak Squad member can do so. If the opponent gets the chest, they will attempt to escape in their own burrow, but if the player is fast enough, they can follow them into this burrow and attempt to retrieve the chest. If the player failed to obtain any chest within the game, they are free to go back to any previously completed level to try to retrieve the chest again; chests already recovered can be collected again, but it will contain an item in a bubble.