Originally published on July 10th, 2014
I love Kirby. I have since I was a kid. He’s adorable, he looks harmless, his whole universe is plush and cuddly, but he’s always had an air of badassness around him. His games are fun, joyful, yet often times dark and kind of intense. It’s this kind of juxtaposition of tones that really drew me to Kirby, particularly as a kid.
Seriously, look at the final boss from Kirby 64: Seriously, just look at this final boss from Kirby Super Star: Or this amazing scene with Meta-Knight. Kirby’s a boss. So naturally, when a Kirby game was announced for 3DS, I was ecstatic. Kirby’s had a solid repertoire on handhelds and I expected no less from this. The end result…well…let’s just get to the review.
The story, honestly is pretty weak. For some ol’ reason, some spider guy kidnaps DeeDeeDee, mistaking him for Kirby, then a magic beanstalk pulls Kirby’s house up to this magical world and it’s up to Kirby to sort things out. Later on this Bee Witch shows up, but there doesn’t feel like there’s any real substance or bigger plot. It really feels like this should be one game in a collection, not a stand alone. And I know you may be thinking “It’s a Kirby game! What kind of plot do you want?” Well, (and I know I’m bringing it up a lot, but it’s such a solid game) the plot of Milky Way Wishes from “Super Star.” The sun and the moon are fighting and disrupting the cycle of Pop Star. Kirby’s jester friend Marx tells him about a giant wish granting…comet clock? that appears when you collect 9 magical things across the galaxy of Dream Land. When Kirby arrives at the clock, Marx betrays him and wishes to control Pop Star. What ensues is…well you clicked the link above right? You saw what happened. Even Kirby 64 had a decent plot. The Nightmare (or Dark Matter), a frequent villain in the Kirby universe, is consuming planets, particularly Ripple Star a planet of fairies, whereupon Ribbon, one of the main characters, flees with their most precious artifact and the thing that can defeat Nightmare and Kirby must travel across the galaxy to collect the star shards to defeat him. They were stories that were interesting and introduced villains and characters early on. In this it felt like it was just thrown together in a rush, as a kind of reason for Kirby to do stuff. Not a major complaint, but it did make the game feel like it was missing something.
Gameplay in this game is solid as ever. It’s essentially the same control scheme from “Kirby’s Return to Dreamland but with a two major additions. The first being Kirby’s ability to jump between the foreground and the background. I guess the 3D in general is kind of the addition, and while not necessary for gameplay, it really does add an interesting layer of depth to the foreground/background transitions. Not to mention certain parts where Kirby is swimming through big squares of water (common in Kirby games) but you really get a feel for the depth and placement of the space. The second major addition is Kirby’s “Hypernova” ability. Upon eating a magic fruit, Kirby becomes a sucking machine, sucking hard enough to pull trees from their roots. Boy, oh boy that guy can suck.
No seriously, it’s actually a cool mechanic, and it’s integrated well throughout the game. No two moments are really the same with that ability and the game constantly throws curve balls at you when you think you know the simplest solution.
Kirby’s powers are pretty standard affair from “Return to Dreamland,” and I guess EVERY Kirby (sword, flame, ice, wheel, ect) with a few new additions. There’s a “Bell” power where Kirby knocks heads with jingly bells; a “Circus” ability where Kirby bounces around like an acrobat, juggles flaming rods and destroys enemies with balloon animals; also a “Beetle” ability which is similar to Kirby’s “Wrestler” ability from “Super Star,” where Kirby can grab enemies with his mighty horn and toss them like trash to the wind. There’s enough variety that you’ll never be using the same power for too long, and the old mixed with new will please fans and newbies alike. Lastly, while not a major change, it was something I liked enough that I think it needs to be talked about. Kirby has had the ability to block attacks since “Super Star” but this is the first in the franchise where they gave Kirby a dodge mechanic similar to “Smash Bros.” I just think that’s super cool, and a great idea that more 2-D Nintendo games could use; and not like that stupid “Other M ‘press any direction at a specific moment to dodge’ bullshit,” like, legitimate block-dodge. Imagine that in Mario, dodging those hammer bros would be a breeze.
My major complaint with this game is its length. This game has 6 worlds, and with about 4 levels each world, there is something seriously left to be desired. Honestly, I beat this game in maybe 6 hours. It was nothing. And it even did this bullshit thing where you can replay the game as DeeDeeDee, but that’s stupid. Hey! Game designers! It’s not adding more content when you let us play the game AGAIN USING ONE FUCKING POWER! And DeeDeeDee sucks, why would you want to play him? Like, at least in the DS remake of “Super Star” the game mode where you can run through the 5 main story games as MetaKnight, you were MetaKnight, who is a BADASS. But that was one game mode out of like 12. Not an excuse for lengthening a game. Seriously, I keep making the comparison to “Super Star,” and it’s true: that game was on the SNES, 16-bit and it had 8 game modes, 5 of which were longer than this WHOLE GAME! On what is essentially a handheld Gamecube. I’ll admit, I don’t know much about fancy graphics and 3D and whatnot, so maybe they had to sacrifice level and game length for polygons, but honestly this is ridiculous. And there’s some extra levels you can unlock by collecting the “star bits” that some are necessary for progressing through the story, and there’s like key-chains and shit you can collect, but really it just a cheap ploy for elongating the game.
Graphics are crisp and clean, bright and colorful. The environments are beautifully rendered and they just have a way of feeling small while being big. What I mean is, the levels are fairly lengthy, but they work in small space, which fits perfectly on the 3DS’ small screen. I mentioned while I was playing Mario Kart 8 that the “Tick-Tock Clock” level felt massive in comparison to its DS counterpart, and I guess the same applies here, but in reverse. Every level tries to mix in a little something new, and be it the forest, underwater, desert or volcano, every level looks great.
The music in this game is half the reason I fell in love with it. While it does re-use songs, they are all beautifully composed and fitting for Kirby’s world of action and downright cuteness. The game even features a few updated songs from other Kirby games, my favorite being the mini-boss music from “Super Star.” The sound effects are crisp, and mix a little bit of new sounds with old sounds, much like “A Link to the Past.”
I enjoyed Kirby’s Triple Deluxe. It was fun, it looked and sounded great, and it didn’t take long for it to grow on me. It didn’t take long to finish, which made me resent it. But it’s good nonetheless. If you’re a fan of Kirby like me, you’ll enjoy it, and if you’re not a huge fan, but like Kirby anyway and can get it off one of those rental sites, I’d say it’s really worth a try. I’d say buy it, so maybe Nintendo makes a better Kirby game on 3DS, but I can’t in good conscious tell you to buy a $40 game that’s going to last