Review by discoinferno84
So eat it, just eat it...
They thought it was over. After years of saving their homeland from evil, Kirby and King Dedede thought they were safe. But this morning, their worst fears were realized: Dreamland was invaded by Queen Sectonia and her army. Someone unleashed a giant beanstalk, utterly wrecking the idyllic kingdom and thrusting whole chunks of countryside into the clouds. The queens second in command personally handled the attack on the remains of Dededes castle. Despite mounting a valiant and desperate defense, the king was kidnapped Princess Peach-style and carried off into skies unknown. With no remaining allies and the fate of Dreamland literally on the edge of destruction, Kirby must ascend the beanstalk and wipe out the new threat.
Kirbys latest crusade spans six sections of the remnants of Dreamland, each broken down into six or seven levels each. Progression involves the simplistic platforming that has become a staple of the Kirby series. Unless youre completely inept, the risk of falling into a bottomless pit is practically nonexistent. Oh sure, there are some lava pits and collapsing walls of instant death, but those are exceedingly few and far between. Well-placed collectibles and unlockable hidden stages keep things from being a complete cakewalk. Rather than focusing on difficulty, the game uses its backgrounds to introduce hazards or obstacles. You might have to wait for a train to pass through the foreground before crossing the tracks, dodge falling columns, or navigate through layers of boxes in order to reach a door. Some of the more creative puzzles involve outrunning an enemy running parallel through the background, and defeating them when they jump over to Kirbys side. Its a clever use of 3D models and camera perspective; you have to focus on whats happening in the distance while dealing with the layout in front of you. There are also a handful of obstacles that use the 3DSs gyroscope, mainly to control the direction of a gondola or aim missiles at unwary baddies. They arent bad - few games utilize the motion features at all but they feel tacked on at best. Considering how much more Kirby Tilt n Tumble accomplished with similar technology on the Game Boy Color in 2001, this latest implementation reeks of wasted potential.
The game tries to make up for it with a surprisingly complex combat system. Kirby retains his iconic (and slightly terrifying) power of eating his enemies whole and copying their abilities. Kirby Triple Deluxe boasts 26 different techniques, most of which are from older games. While the swords and beams are always good standbys, theyre completely trumped by some of the newer attacks. The deadliest weapon is the Beetle ability, which can pull off several devastating close-range attacks. Depending on the control inputs, it lets you charge into and skewer targets, carry and throw your victims, or even drill them into the ground. Kirbys archery skills not only let him snipe foes quickly and efficiently, but give him temporarily invincible camouflage as well. While not game-breaking, these powers render Kirbys defensive options a block and dodge mechanic akin to the Smash Bros. series almost pointless. The biggest addition, however, is the Hypernova ability. It basically supercharges Kirbys inhaling and swallowing capacity, resulting in him chowing down on everything from vehicles to mini-bosses. Unfortunately, it isnt used creatively enough; in most levels, the Hypernova is just used to pull blocks or destroy certain obstacles. Itd have been much more interesting to beat levels that are designed around this power. Youre capable of devouring backgrounds, so why not have more interactive and complex stage elements?
Things dont get interesting until after Kirbys adventure ends. Finishing the main game unlocks a slew of additional gameplay modes. This includes Dedede Tour, which lets you replay an abridged version of the story as the king himself. His raw power and flaming hammer attacks are balanced out with larger and more aggressive enemies, as well as revamped bosses. Its not challenging in the slightest you might be able to breeze through it in a single sitting but at least your exploits are timed and ranked. Dededes Drum Dash is far more engaging; its a challenging rhythm mini-game disguised as a platformer. Not only do you have to jump along a row of drums, collect items, and avoid hazards, but you have to press the buttons in sync with the beats as well. Getting perfect scores and unlocking the final level is arguably the toughest part of Kirby Triple Deluxe. The other contender is the True Arena, which pits Kirby against a gauntlet of super-powered versions all the bosses. Considering the ridiculous damage output and attack patterns involved, this brutal test of endurance and gaming skill isnt for the faint of heart. It does give you access to all of the copy abilities, though; even if you fail miserably, youll at least get to practice and hone your strategies against some vicious opponents. The Kirby Fighters multiplayer mode really demonstrates how intense and competitive Kirby combat can be. Unfortunately, its limited to only CPU or local matches. Having all of these crazy powers and slugging it out Smash Bros.-style online wouldve done wonders for the games longevity. Kirby Fighters Deluxe was later released as a standalone title, but its absence here was a huge oversight.
Its mostly drowned out by the nostalgia, though. Nintendo wanted to celebrate the Kirby franchises debut on the 3DS, and it shows. There are tons of shout-outs to the previous titles, like the reappearance of certain characters from The Amazing Mirror, a boss reminiscent of Canvas Curses antagonist, and a wall scrolls depicting Kirbys old adventures and graphical evolution over time. There are also over 250 collectible key chains strewn throughout the levels, each depicting different Kirby sprites from all the games. Seeing classics like Meta Knight and Dyna Blade redone with a shiny metallic sheen is pretty awesome. While it wouldve been better to have descriptions for each item, they provide a good incentive for replaying stages multiple times. Youll probably spend more time tinkering with the Jukebox; there are over 100 songs available, all with the superb quality expected from Kirby soundtracks. Special mention goes to the amazing violin and guitar instrumental of Green Greens, which is hidden near the end of the playlist. The piano and xylophone remix from the Old Odyssey stages is pretty catchy as well. Kirby Triple Deluxe might not be the most engaging 3DS game out there, but its soundtrack has some of the best music on the system.
Its sad. This game tries so hard to make you like it. Using both the back and foreground in tandem is a clever way to approach a platformer, but there couldve been so much more in terms of creativity and complexity. It looks interesting in terms of 3D graphics and camera perspective, but little else. The combat system is surprisingly deep and rewarding, even though quite a few offensive and defensive techniques are overshadowed by the new ridiculously overpowered abilities. The whole Hypernova concept seems amazing at first, but it couldve been implemented in better ways. That goes double for gyroscope controls, which are treated more like an afterthought than a gameplay feature. The post-game content is whatll keep you coming back. Between ridiculously tough mini-games and the sheer amount of collectibles, itll take a while to get a 100% completion assuming you dont get bored first. Kirby Triple Deluxe is a decent franchise debut on the 3DS, but it hardly lives up to its name.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Kirby: Triple Deluxe (US, 05/02/14)
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