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Old 04-28-2014, 01:29 PM   #1
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Kirby: Triple Deluxe sets a new standard for 2D platformers on the 3DS (review)

April 28, 2014 8:01 AM Mike Minotti

Above: Kirby has never sucked better.
Image Credit: Nintendo

Poor Kirby gets no respect.

I mean, when you think of top-tier Nintendo franchises, Iím sure you immediately think of heavy-hitters like Mario and Zelda. But what about Kirby? The little puffball has starred in plenty of great games, but he seems forever overshadowed by plumbers and pocket monsters.

Well, thatís no longer the case. Kirby: Triple Deluxe, out on May 2 for the Nintendo 3DS, is actually a better 2D platformer than New Super Mario Bros. 2, Yoshiís New Island, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, and every other such recent Nintendo takes.

What youíll like

Kirbyís refined

Triple Deluxe plays like most Kirby games. You inhale enemies to steal their powers, like fire or stone (which gives you new moves based on those properties), and then use them to navigate stages full of platforming hazards and bad guys. While this is far from the first time weíve played a Kirby game like this, the excellent level design makes this the best execution the series has seen since 1996′s Kirby Super Star on the Super Nintendo.

Stages hide plenty of secrets and challenges, and the colorful, energetic worlds you explore feel vibrant and lively. The powers are a lot of fun to use, and youíll find plenty of new ones, like archery (self-explanatory) and circus (which lets you jump around like an acrobat). Each ability also gives you different dashing, aerial, projectile, and ground attacks. Although some skills work better for certain situations, none of them feel underpowered or useless.

Above: Kirby attacks with musical bells with a new ability in Triple Deluxe.
Image Credit: Nintendo

But the hypernova ability stands out as the most significant and best addition. During certain levels, Kirby will eat a fruit that greatly amplifies his inhaling ability, letting him suck in pretty much anyone and anything. You feel empowered, and you use the ability for some fun puzzles (like inhaling giant missiles to fire back at other enemies). Plus, the death-by-sucking animations of larger enemies and structures are incredibly clever and hilarious.

Also, while the series has a reputation for being too easy, Triple Deluxe can offer a decent challenge. OK, the game is still on the easier side, and youíll probably beat it with more than 30 extra lives. Still, you canít just turn your brain off and fly over every obstacle. Deaths never feel cheap, and youíll never get frustrated. This is a leisurely adventure, not a hardcore test of endurance.

Collecting stuff

Each world consists or about five stages, and each stage has a few Sun Stones hidden throughout them. While you donít need to find the stones to beat the individual levels, you do need a bunch of them to unlock the boss of each world. Getting the Sun Stones usually requires a bit more cunning and careful observation than youíd normally need to beat a Kirby game. Theyíre fun to search for and find. Plus, you can unlock extra levels if you discover all of them in a world.

Keychains are sometimes even harder to uncover. While you donít need them like Sun Stones, theyíre fun collectibles that reference Kirbyís past. Itís a nice treat for fans of the franchise.

Above: An example of Kirby: Triple Deluxe having fun with 3D.
Image Credit: Nintendo

Great use of the 3D effect

Triple Deluxe handles the 3D-projecting ability of the 3DS spectacularly. While Kirby can only move on a 2D plane, he often jumps back and forth between the background and foreground (usually via transporting stars). You can see attacks coming from off in the distance. Sometimes a mirror will show you running across both the background and foreground, but only one of the planes shows you where the real pitfalls and enemies are. You also have to use cannons to blast objects on the other plane. Bosses especially love to dance around the screen, making your battles with them some of the most creative and memorable in the seriesí history.

Of course, those with a Nintendo 2DS can still enjoy this game, but they wonít experience the 3D functionality. It will still work fine, but youíll definitely be missing out on one if its most charming elements.

The bonus modes

Outside of the main campaign, Triple Deluxe has a few extra modes. The coolest of them is Kirby Fighters, a sort of simpler version of the Super Smash Bros. fighting series but with everyone playing as a Kirby that has one ability. King Dedede, once the villain of the series, also stars in a rhythm-based minigame where he bounces around on drums to the beat of popular Kirby songs. Itís not as substantial as Kirby Fighters, but itís a fun addition. Youíll unlock a better mode after beating the campaign that allows you to play through a condensed version of the main story as Dedede, who has his own set of attacks.

Above: Kirby is ready for another adventure. Uh oh, heís got the angry eyes!
Image Credit: Nintendo

What you wonít like

Itís still a Kirby game

As with a lot of Nintendoís long-running franchises, you will find a sense of familiarity here. While some Kirby games completely buck tradition for entirely new mechanics, like Kirbyís Epic Yarn on the Wii and Kirby: Canvas Curse on the original DS, Triple Deluxe sticks with tradition (essentially the tenth game of the main series). Itís not a huge mark against it, especially since I think that it adds enough new ideas and executes the old ones well enough, but even a perfect Kirby game can feel like another Kirby game.


Kirby: Triple Deluxe looks like just another entry in an old series if you only peek at screenshots and trailers, but this is the best 2D platformer Iíve played on the 3DS. Levels offer tons of secrets and hidden items to find, and the gameís use of the portableís 3D effect is delightfully clever. Itís nice to see charm and wit take center stage in this beautiful adventure.

If you ever enjoyed a Kirby game, you really should check this one out.
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:11 PM   #2
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