Prepare to eat everything, Kirby style
Despite tinkering with the franchise in such hits as the visually stimulating Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii and the much older Kirby's Pinball Land on Game Boy, Nintendo's Kirby games follow a tried and true formula of watching the adorable puff ball devour his foes and in many cases, copy their abilities. This is alive and well in the publisher's new 3DS release, Kirby Triple Deluxe. Not only does the rotund hero make use of numerous powers, but he also explores imaginatively designed stages that result in the best-looking Kirby game to date. It's a bit on the easy side as most Kirby adventures are, but if you're in the mood for a game overflowing with eye candy and happiness, this is an essential purchase.
New and classic abilities give Kirby added power
Everyone knows Kirby has an insatiable appetite, but Nintendo took this to the extreme with Triple Deluxe, thanks to the character's new Hypernova ability. Think of it as an indestructible power-up that not only lets Kirby swallow normal-sized baddies, but even whole bosses, trees and much larger pieces of the environments.
As it turns out, Hypernova is but one of many abilities in the game, the majority of which help players on their journey to rescue King Dedede from a strange foe's clutches, prompting Kirby to climb a giant beanstalk. Favourites such as the laser-focused Beam and Zelda-inspired Sword make welcome reappearances, along with Ice and Bomb, but there are plenty of new powers to take advantage of. The Archer, for example, lets Kirby unleash charged arrows towards baddies, while the ringing Bell disorients critters while serving the dual purpose of being a projectile. If you prefer a little Donkey Kong arcade with your Kirby game, there's even a Hammer that lets him put the big hurt on his adversaries. Granted, some abilities feel similar, but you'll still have a great time discovering new ones and then using them in battle.
A visual feast for 3DS owners
Superb visuals compliment the traditional Kirby gameplay. Built from the ground up for 3DS, Triple Deluxe tantalises and delights with an abundance of graphical flair, especially when you switch on glasses free 3D; not available on 2DS. Part of what makes this title charming is the effect of objects in the background interacting with the foreground. Blocks push Kirby against the screen, producing a neat squashed effect, and a multi-coloured tank fires beach balls towards Kirby. In addition, you have the option of traveling between planes by catching a ride on gold stars.
Beyond that, Triple Deluxe retains its cheery atmosphere throughout the entire quest. It's hard to believe much danger lurks within its levels, with cute enemies going about their business and landscapes dotted with shiny toys, treasure chests and children's blocks. Suffice to say, it will keep you pleasantly relaxed and humming along to the variety of upbeat tunes that perfectly capture Kirby's personality.
Of course, Nintendo did more than take advantage of 3D. Once again, it shoehorned gyroscopic controls into the game. You're able to tilt the handheld to cycle through the collectible key chains you discover (over 250), and you'll even solve simple puzzles this way. Case in point, tilting a bowl filled with water to put out a fire, and doing the same to move a gondola lift from one part of the level to the other, granting Kirby safe passage over harmful spikes and fire.
Super Smash Bros. light
Should you beat Triple Deluxe in record time, there are addition-al modes to enjoy. Kirby Fighters is by far the most desirable, largely because it reminds us of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros., but without sending your adversaries flying off platforms. Up to four people can battle in local play, even with one copy of the game. Various Kirby abilities are present, and in some cases, everyone needs to avoid hazards in the environment, including one board featuring hammers that may crush someone at any moment. Kirby Fighters is light on options, but at the very least, offers a fun distraction.
From there, you have Dedede's Drum Bash, an endless runner/rhythm game where you guide King Dedede across a plethora of drums while at the same time dodging enemies and collecting as many coins as possible. There's even more Dedede where that came from. You'll eventually play through the entire game as the powerful King. Finally, there's a Time Trial mode in case you feel like squaring off against the different boss characters.
Short and definitely sweet
No one will put Kirby Triple Deluxe in the category of hardest video games of all time. The most determined players will beat it in just a couple of days, which is ultimately this title's weakest selling point. At the same time, diehard Kirby supporters will find a lot to love about this gem, and considering the enjoyment we had battling friends in Kirby Fighters, it's a worthwhile investment for anyone who grew up playing such classics as Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby Squeak Squad and of course, Kirby's Adventure.
GAME's Verdict: 8/10
- Over 25 abilities to master, including Hypernova
- Excellent use of glasses free 3D
- Kirby Fighters gives you something to play until Super Smash Bros.
- Some abilities feel similar to each other
- Little to no challenge
- The main quest is over too soon