Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kirby Triple Deluxe Review

Welcome back to my Month of Misses! This week, we're going to take a look at a game that I didn't get around to reviewing that I wanted to play for quite some time now. Ladies, and gentlemen, KIRBY!!!

So anyway, today we're going to take a look at Kirby Triple Deluxe, a game that I rightfully should have been able to review when it came out. The game came out on May 2nd for the 3DS, and I was set to have it be a review to fill up my early May slot. However, my workload was able to get the better of me. I had work that I had to take care of and I underestimated just how large of a workload it was. Bottom line, I kept on pushing the game back further and further as my workload increased, and I wasn't able to get to it for quite some time. By the time I actually was able to get around to play it, it was already mid June and I was on vacation, so posting a review while I was away was nearly impossible. So I waited and here we are. Over two months later and now I'm finally getting this review up.

On that note, what can I really say about the Kirby franchise except that I love it. In fact, I'd probably say that the Kirby series has some of the best platformers that Nintendo has ever made. Yes, even better than some Mario games. That's in part because of just how fun it is to play a Kirby game. Everything is so colorful and bright, and gameplay is easy enough for anyone to play, but difficult enough that it'll take a true master to beat. Some games in the series can get downright mean when it comes to their difficulty, yet the games never feels punishingly so. All of the Kirby games feel fair and encouraged you to keep on playing, no matter how difficult they may become.

And that brings us to Kirby Triple Deluxe, and it's just as good as other Kirby games. You play as a little pink puffball who floats around and eats enemies in the most adorable fashion ever to gain their powers. By using said powers, you go through level after level collecting items (Sun Stones in this game) and beating increasingly difficult bosses. The game is as difficult as you want it to be, and truth be told, if you've played one Kirby game, you've played them all. So instead of delving into the gameplay, here's everything new that this game brings to the table.

Classic Kirby
The feature that I loved the most out of all of the new features is the ability to collect keychains of past games in the series. Throughout levels, you'll find little emblems that will give you a keychain of a character from any previous game in the series. You could get a keychain of a common enemy from Kirby's Adventure, or you could get a keychain of the final boss from Kirby Super Star Ultra. There are over 200 keychains to collect, and I found myself surprisingly spending a lot of time and effort to try and get all of the keychains. There's no real merit or value to getting them besides having a full collection, but there's just something magical about collecting a whole set of cute keychains of Kirby's different forms.

Four new powerups were introduced as well to the series, as well as a new ability called the Hypernova. The Hypernova allows Kirby to suck up even bigger objects and take part in somewhat scripted sequences that aren't difficult, but are highly entertaining. One sequence in paryicular has Kirby go up against a previous boss, but Kirby uses a Hypernova to devour him without taking a scratch as well as consume his life bar. Talk about adding insult to injury. Then there are Kirby's new powerups, which are the bell, circus, beetle, and archer powerups. My personal favorite was the bell powerup, which gives Kirby some great defense that can annihilate any common enemy as well as deal a massive amount of damage to bosses. The archer powerup is used a lot for puzzles, but it doesn't really have any usefullness in combat in my opinion.

There's also two minigames included with one of them a sort of rhythm game called "Dedede's Drum Dash" and a Smash Bros. clone called "Kirby Fighters". Both are enjoyable, though I did enjoy "Kirby Fighters" a lot more on the merit of it being a Smash Bros. clone. There's also an arena mode where you can fight all of the game's bosses, as well as a secret speed run mode that's unlocked after beating the game. Post game wise, Triple Deluxe is like most other Kirby games, but adding the keychain collection aspect makes it a lot more interesting and dynamic.

What I'm struggling to talk about in this review is really how to classify Triple Deluxe and explain it as "just another Kirby game". See, the problem that comes from talking about Nintendo franchises is that they RARELY change their core gameplay mechanics. What worked in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards is more or less carried over to Triple Deluxe in every way, shape, and form. So it's essentially recycling gameplay constantly with very little innovation. A new powerup and ability does not justify calling a game "new". At the same time though, can you really fault a game when it's mechanics are so polished?

Kirby has stayed one of my favorite series because it's so resilient to change, and when it does experiment with a new type of gameplay, it completely turns the series on its head, like with Kirby Mass Attack, a game that had Kirby split into 10 copies of himself and not eat a single enemy. Was it good? Yes it was. Did it feel like a Kirby game? Not really no. And that's my one gripe with Triple Deluxe; it feels like it's Kirby on autopilot. It feels like a paint by numbers Kirby game that simply recycles old mechanics from previous games. It's still very good, but like most recent Nintendo games, there's no real innovation behind it. Triple Deluxe is a Kirby game for the sake of Kirby games. I still really enjoy the game mind you, but I felt like I've played it before.

People call me a Nintendo fanboy because I mostly do play Nintendo games, and I can see their reasoning behind it. I mostly review Nintendo games, and when I don't, it's because I wanted to try a genre that generally doesn't appear on Nintendo consoles. However, I do have my gripes with Nintendo that I do make very aware to people when they ask me. If you asked me what Nintendo's biggest problem is right now, it's that they're resting on their laurels when they shouldn't be. If you've followed any game media news, you'd know that the Wii U is not doing well at retail, barely selling over 6 million units in a year and a half, while Sony cleared that bar in six months. Instead of sitting around and hoping that people will buy their games and brand name only, they need to make games with innovative mechanics or something that will make people stand up and pay attention. Something that will get people excited. Not something drudged up just to churn a quick buck. Unfortunately, Triple Deluxe reminds me a but of that philosophy. There's no reason for this game to exist besides to release a new Kirby game.

All of that aside though, I still really did enjoy Kirby Triple Deluxe. The formula still works and it still gave me a great time. It'll last about 8-10 hours or so, and I had a great time while I was playing it. It just doesn't fell all that new or fresh, which could be a problem for Nintendo for future installments. I still whole heartingly recommend this game to anyone though and it sits as one of my favorite games in the series on the virtue of it looking amazing for a potable title. Seriously, it looks damned gorgeous. It's just not all that new is all. Pick it up if you're interested in a nice, good old fashioned platformer with a lot of cuteness and charm to it.


Does anyone else miss Kirby: Right Back At Ya!? Cause I kind of do.

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