As harsh as it may sound, Kirby games never really interested me, especially when compared to Mario, Rayman et al. However, that all changed when I played Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the Nintendo Wii. The game’s charm and sublime visuals won me over, and that’s why I eagerly snapped up the Kirby: Triple Deluxe review code – the little pink fluff ball’s first 2.5D platform outing on the Nintendo 3DS. Does it impress?
As the title suggests, Kirby: Triple Deluxe is split into three games. The Story Mode is where the bulk of the game is, which takes place over six worlds, each containing five levels and a boss battle. The game starts with Kirby’s home being lifted into the sky by a large beanstalk known as the Dreamstalk. At the same time a creature called Taranza kidnaps King Dedede, so Kirby sets off in pursuit, scaling the Dreamstalk. The story is standard platform game stuff – on a par with Princess Peach being kidnapped – and serves its purpose in terms of giving you a reason for going from level to level.
I’ll be upfront; if you’re an adult looking to buy this game to play yourself then I find it quite hard to recommend. The reason for this is that it’s ridiculously easy. I died three times in the course of the game – once because I was finding everything so simple that my mind drifted and I fell down a hole, and the other two because the final boss is a bit cheap. Yes the game has some neat features (which I will get to), but there are much better options on the 3DS.
However, if you’re looking to buy the game for your child it’s a different story. I gave Kirby: Triple Deluxe to a five year old and a seven year old to play, and they both thoroughly enjoyed their time with it. “Super fun” was the verdict, although I’m not sure how that translates to an “out of ten” score!
The main hook for the game is Kirby’s ability to inhale enemies and copy their abilities. On his own he’s fairly weak, but there are around 26 other abilities up for grabs, each with unique skills to master. It’s a nice touch, despite some of the abilities being extremely overpowered. The beetle, for example, can make mincemeat out of pretty much anything.
You still need to be careful though, as taking a heavy hit will see Kirby’s current ability fly out of his body, and you’ll be given a short period of time to try and get it back.
Kirby also has his Hypernova ability. During certain levels he is granted this power, which massively increases the power of his inhale. This means nothing is safe as you can uproot trees and enemies much larger than yourself. Some very basic puzzle elements are also added when you go Hypernova, although these are mainly limited to dragging objects from one side of the screen to the other.
Traversing a level certainly feels different compared to the likes of Mario. Gone is the need for precision jumping – in fact Kirby isn’t that great at jumping at all – instead he can float. This makes for a much slower paced game.
Hidden throughout each level are three to four ‘Sun Stones’, which are required to open up the boss fight. Finding these will require you to go off the beaten path slightly. The level design is fairly basic, and definitely aimed at younger people with limited experience of the genre. Everything is pretty easy to find, and I ended up with 80 out of 100 Sun Stones without much effort.
There are also a number of rare/normal keychains to collect, most of which are hidden. Once uncovered, they are added to your collection and can be viewed at any time.
The story mode is certainly competent, but it’s really hard to get excited about it. On paper it certainly does everything right, but it just lacks a bit of “oomph” (technical term right there) that’ll keep you coming back. It’s not bad in the slightest, just not very memorable.
The second of the three games available is called “Kirby Fighters”. This is an arena-based fighter very much in the mould of Smash Bros., where you choose from one of ten abilities before being thrown into a level with up to three other computer controlled characters. The last one left standing is the winner. Occasionally a boss will show up to cause trouble, or you’ll have to avoid part of the level. It’s a fun distraction but its longevity is questionable. I played through it once and have no desire to play it again.
The third game to be included is called “Dedede’s Drum Dash”. It’s a rhythm based game where you have to guide Dedede from one side of the screen to the other, bouncing on drums in time to music. It’s not as easy as that, for several reasons. One is the strict time limit. To boost your score you also need to collect all the coins placed throughout the level, while avoiding enemies. This can be done by pressing ‘A’ at just the right moment, as that increases the height of your jump. At the end you get a score and a medal based on your performance. You are also graded on other criteria such as not taking any damage.
While enjoyable, it’s another mode that has limited replay value. There are three levels on offer, with a fourth to unlock by getting all gold medals. There are also other game modes that unlock upon completing the story. I don’t really want to spoil them for you, but one of them adds a fair bit of replay value.
Graphically all of the modes look great, especially the main story. The use of 3D is brilliant, with an impressive depth to everything. Certainly the highlight of the game.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a hard one to score, as while it doesn’t really do anything wrong, it never really stands out either. The copy abilities are interesting enough, but a lot of the level design feels a bit ordinary – it certainly lacks the variety of Kirby’s Epic Yarn. While that was also very easy, it was a joy to play through.
The score below is really aimed at kids, Kirby fans, and those with very little experience in the genre (or those who enjoy very easy games!). They will definitely have fun here. For everyone else though, Mario/Rayman/Donkey Kong are much better alternatives.