Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Iím not a huge or die hard Kirby fan by any means but Iíve always had an appreciation for the lovable ball of non-specific organic matter. Heís pink, heís cute and heís entirely loveable. He was also the first game I ever completed all by myself as a kid, way back on the Game Boy. So despite my lack of enthusiasm for the series today, Kirby has always held a special place in my heart. While Iíve enjoyed Kirby more so when he is experimenting (Epic Yarn, Mass Attack and Canvas Curse are some of my favourites), I also love the copy mechanic and combining said abilities to create new and exciting ones. With Kirby Triple Deluxe, the latest offering for the 3DS, I had no idea what to expect. So I was essentially going in blind.
Triple Deluxe wastes no time in introducing yet another dilemma for Kirby to selflessly solve. One night, while heís sleeping, Dream Land and Kirbyís house are both grown into the sky by a giant beanstalk called the Dreamstalk. When Kirby wakes up, he finds himself located in a new and exotic land called Floralia Ė which is currently being ruled by a six-armed villain named Taranza. Taranza has captured King Dedede, and Kirby must defeat him and his minions to restore Dream Land to its proper state and rescue Dedede. While the story is not worth writing home about, the gameís tone and humour is definitely some of the strongest in the series. It can be fun to see enemies struggling to hold on to objects while Kirby attempts to suck them in Ė itís just a very subtle and yet very funny touch. These small touches make the game feel very vibrant and very alive.
Kirby games are typically two dimensional platformers, and Triple Deluxe is no different in this regard. There are a few differences here, however, as Kirby can now jump between a foreground and background to give the game a feel between 2D and 3D. Kirby can still inhale enemies, copy their abilities and use these abilities to progress through alternating routes in the gameís environments or to solve simplistic puzzles. Most of whatís included, at itís absolute core, remains unchanged from previous games. Heck, some models and animations are ripped directly from 2011ís Kirbyís Adventure
which is a bit disappointing.
There are, of course, some new additions to the series too. Kirby can now use his warp stars to move between the foreground and the background to explore for items and to help solve puzzles. The game handles this transition really well, and while it feel like itís ripped straight out of Donkey Kong Country Returns, it feels like itís generally executed better here. Kirby can also swallow colourful seeds to use a new ability called Hypernova Ė which allows him to suck up gigantic items to attack with devastating force or move objects to solve rudimentary puzzles.
Besides these two major new additions, Kirby also has his regular copy abilities, most of which appears straight from previous games. Thereís a few new ones, however, including Beetle Kirby, who can ram and slam enemies and a Circus Kirby who can use acrobatic moves and juggling to take out enemies with grace and poise in true Kirby fashion. My favourite of the newest additions is Bell Kirby, however, who jingles as he hits enemies with large cartoonish bells to create a rhythmic beat down. Itís a small touch, but the link between gameplay and sound with this power up feels so good, itís easily one of my new favourites. Of course, every other power-up youíre used to seeing Kirby with is here too Ė with Bomb Kirby, Whip Kirby, Beam Kirby and Sword Kirby just to name a few. While all these abilities are great and keep the game varied, they feel useless in boss battles when compared to the normal star spitting attack, however.
As per with most Nintendo titles on the 3DS, the game does use the hardwareís unique functionality to add extra features to the game. The bottom screen is used to browse through menus and switch abilities as you would normally want to. As youíd probably expect, there are some gyroscopic moments in the game where players must tilt the 3DS to accomplish certain actions in the game. These moments are better implemented than most, disabling and enabling 3D when you begin and end these sections respectively. These moments are very gimmicky, but they are infrequent enough to not become a nuisance.
Putting all of the tangible gameplay mechanics aside, itís worth noting that Kirby: Triple Deluxe is probably one of the most tightly designed Kirby games yet. The controls are tight and responsive, the level and scenario design is well thought out and executed with lots of stuff to destroy and find. The combat system, while simple, is also well designed allowing players to use all kinds of abilities on countless amounts of enemies Ė many of which come in large numbers as if the developers want you to test out all your powers and get a feel of which ones you prefer. While I previously mentioned the boss battles seem to make the copy abilities seem useless, the battles themselves are well designed and each of the boss encounters are created with a great degree of variety, making them fun to engage while also [mildly] challenging.
Of course, this is a Kirby game and that means thereís hundreds of collectibles to find. Triple Deluxe sends its players on a quest to find keychains. Collected in-game or via StreetPass, each keychain depicts an item from Kirbyís storied history, similar to Super Smash Bros. and its trophy system. Itís fun to interact with them (and even shake them with the gyroscope) too. Sun Stones are the other collectible, and theyíre a bit more important, being required to fight the boss battle in each world.
Most players will plough through Triple Deluxe in roughly eight hours, but thatís not really where the fun stops. Once the game is complete, players can play Dedede Tour mode where the game is much harder and Dedede is a playable character. Other modes include Kirby Fighters, where players choose one ability and battle each other ala Smash Bros., and Dededeís Drum Dash, where players can use Dedede to bounce on drums to play classic Kirby songs. Both are well thought out diversions, but unfortunately Kirby Fighters is only playable via Local Wireless or Download Play, which is kind of disappointing in todayís online era. The Arena mode also returns from previous games. Add to these modes the countless amounts of collectibles to find (which are enjoyable to find, too) and Triple Deluxe will easily last most players in excess of fifteen hours.
Triple Deluxeís presentation is nothing short of amazing. The hypernova mode, in particular is really a spectacle to behold. During these moments you see trees get ripped from the ground, enemies sucked in as they wave perilously for freedom and in a comic nod life bars even are hoisted from their position in some instances. All of this looks amazing, and as usual for Kirby, is presented in a crisp and colourful setting. Even better, the game runs at a very smooth 60fps even when 3D is turned on. The soundtrack and sound design in general is also very good, with some of the effects really giving a great weight and sense of power to Kirbyís abilities. The music itself is of course, super catchy and cheery, if not slightly grating at times.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a fantastic addition to the Kirby franchise that, while not straying too far from its roots such as in titles like Epic Yarn or Canvas Curse, still manages to provide a fun and competent experience. The level design is fantastic, the combat is fun (if not simplistic) and the gameís presentation is cute and colourful. While this isnít going to be a game changer for the franchise, it takes everything about the classic Kirby experience, focuses down to its most compelling elements and spits it all back out on the table to produce a fun and compelling adventure. Thereís heaps to do too, whether you love collecting things, speed running through the game or just destroying stuff. Itís a content packed game, and worth both your time and money.