It has been years since I’ve played a Kirby title, not since the Wii U with Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. I was not overly impressed with what was on offer here, however Kirby Star Allies bears no resemblance to the Wii U version which is a great thing and represents an entirely new experience and one that Kirby fans from generations past will be excited for.
Kirby is back in this action packed 2.5-D platform game and is brighter and more agile than ever. The story is simple, Kirby’s home planet is affected by a large crystalline heart which explores onto the lands, sending shards everywhere and possessing the inhabitants of the world. It’s up to you to break the spells and restore peace to the lands. Kirby Star Allies wastes absolutely no time in terms of getting you into the game and discovering all of your abilities and moves very early on. The first stage acts like a tutorial so to speak, explaining the basic moves and functions that Kirby can perform.
Kirby really begins with not much in terms of abilities and can essentially float and bounce to higher areas, and suck up enemies and shoot them out. It sounds pretty basic here and not overly exciting, but that feeling won’t last long. In fact, this lasts for a minute until you encounter your first enemy. Kirby has the ability to copy his enemies, taking on their forms and skills at will. When you encounter an enemy, you can throw a heart towards that enemy which in turn shifts them to your cause as well as the ability to use their abilities as well. You can add up to three additional companions, making for a team of four, which can also be controlled by the games AI system or other real players should you have enough spare controllers to go around. Each time you encounter an enemy that you wish to have on your team and or use their ability, it’s as simple as throwing a heart their way. If you have a full team, you’ll need to of course choose which other character and ability you wish to give up for the time being.
As you progress through each of the levels which are well laid out thanks to a great map based world design you will encounter many areas that require certain characters in order to progress. What I did notice is any ability that you may need shortly will be conveniently placed next to that area so that you can use that character to progress. For example, I encountered a large bomb which was blocking the path ahead. No problem, you can use your cutting move to slice the wick and drop the bomb, however if you charge up your sword with the flame, you can light the wick as well, causing the bomb to explode and thus clearing the path. There are a host of different puzzles that will have you switching your team around and selecting the right character and power up to progress. I did find making my way through levels to not be overly challenging in terms of the puzzles, however there were secret areas that required some careful thinking and use of characters if you want to explore these. In terms of enemies that you can absorb and utilise, there are approximately 24 of these at your disposal, so there is plenty of choice ranging from Ice and Fire based enemies, to water and wind, each brings a level of uniqueness to the fight and challenge at hand.
The AI in Kirby Star Allies is one of the best I’ve seen in a game in quite some time. It’s actually really intelligent and supportive. So much so that I found myself hardly having to do much other than progress along to the right and the rest of my team would unleash a fury on any enemies that got in our path. One of the great features is to hold your weapon up and have the rest of your team come along and supercharge that weapon. I had fire bellowing out of my sword at one point causing immense havoc for all that crossed my path. Kirby Star Allies also allows you to have real friends play with you as mentioned earlier, however they can drop in or out at any time without the need to complete or restart a level which was very intuitive indeed.
Kirby Star Allies also offers a few other modes should you complete the game and are in need of a further challenge. The first is Ultimate Chose and involves you selecting your team and trying to beat the various boss battles with time down to the wire and with less health. The second mode is Guest Star and essentially has you speed running certain parts of the campaign with a friend. Finally the boss fights in Kirby Star Allies are fun and sometimes challenging as well but overall were quite easy to deal with.
Graphics & Sound
Kirby is gorgeous; it’s a simple as that. The brightness and sheer vibrancy of the colours and palate used here is a fruit festival for the eyes; it’s truly a sight to behold. The games charm and charisma captivated any one whom walked past my TV screen drawing them in ever so close. The worlds are varied from the sunny fields to the lush forests and icy worlds; you can be sure each area feels unique and special in its own way. Kirby also runs rock solid at 30fps as well in both docked and handheld modes, it may not be 60fps but honestly there was no signs of game slow down and performance was incredibly solid.
I haven’t enjoyed a Kirby title in many years and it is extremely pleasing to see a totally new experience here as opposed to a modified port from the Wii U. Kirby Star Allies looks beautiful, plays ever so smoothly and gives you loads of options as to the way to fight and explore the levels and tasks at hand. If you have a group of friends handy, then the multiplayer is extremely fun, but also the single player has one of the best AI I’ve seen in a while. Either way, you’ll be changing shape countless times as you play and enjoy Kirby Star Allies.
Thank you to Nintendo for providing a copy of Kirby Star Allies for review purposes.