Kirby sucks (that’s a good thing).
Having grown up as a Nintendo kid, it’s a little embarrassing to say that, outside of a few hours with Epic Yarn, I’ve never played a Kirby game. The guy is immediately recognizable as a Nintendo character but lacking the star power of a Mario or Zelda (well, Link), Kirby just sort of fell through the cracks for me. His latest outing, Kirby Triple Deluxe, is a fun 2D platformer with some great elements, even if it isn’t quite as good as it could have been.
Kirby’s defining characteristic is his ability to inhale enemies and then either attack by spitting them out, or absorb their powers for himself. Triple Deluxe has a wide variety of enemies, and I ranged from attacking with standard weapons like swords and spears to more exotic ones like bells and feathers. Every personality has different attacks, and I definitely found that some fit certain situations better than others, and in some occasions playing as standard Kirby worked the best.
Platforms: 3DS Exclusive
Multiplayer: Kirby Fighters (battle arena)
Length: 6-9 hours (campaign)
One thing that impressed me repeatedly was the game’s interaction between foreground and background elements. Much of the game has two levels of depth, and Kirby can travel between them using special stars. While I was in the foreground enemies from the background would fly at me or fire cannonballs, or vice versa. Bosses would take a break from battle and jump into the background, giving them a safe place to attack me. The presence of two layers and the interaction between them was fun and kept me on my toes.
The overall presentation is very good. The game is bright and colorful, and the soundtrack is stuck in my head even as I’m typing this. There is a lot of visual variety in the level themes, keeping them fresh. Being able to steal abilities is fun, but the real treat is finding the hypernova fruit, which super-charges Kirby’s suction, allowing him to inhale almost anything in his path, from trees to huge enemies. It’s great fun, and the game strikes a good balance with the hypernova ability – it’s used enough that I had good fun with it, but it’s rare enough that finding it is still exciting.
I enjoyed Triple Deluxe, but it doesn’t use the different abilities to their full potential. Some have attacks that are similar, and many of them have 12-16 different attacks. Given the large number of different personalities, it’s overkill for anyone to have so many attacks, and I wish they would have spent less time making new ones and a little more differentiating the core ones.
Key chains are scattered around levels, and can be collected and traded with other players. They don’t serve any purpose other than to be collected though, which is a shame. Since them have no effect on game play and I have no intention of trading digital key chains with other people, they just felt pointless.
The game layout is typical fare. Kirby visits a series of floating islands, each with multiple levels and boss fight. Boss fights have a nice variety and use the game mechanics really well, and are a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the last island forced me to fight them all again, which both dampened my enthusiasm for them and made the last few levels start to drag.
Triple Deluxe is great 2D platformer, with some really nice design. I needed just under 7 hours to finish the campaign, and going back to collect all of the Sun Stones and unlock bonus levels will add a few hours to that. There’s also a multiplayer battle arena and platforming/rhythm hybrid game, though neither held much lasting appeal for me. For fans of 2D platformers it’s a good choice, and definitely worth checking out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.