The adorable pink puffball pulls us into his latest adventure on the Nintendo 3DS with a winning entry to the franchise. But as far as platform games go, this Kirby colour bonanza misses its opportunity to sparkle with repetitive boss fights and easy challenges.
After twelve games in the series, Hal Laboratory presents players with the thirteenth instalment in Kirby: Triple Deluxe. With four new copy abilities including Archer, Circus, Beetle and Bell, plus the phantasmagorical Hypernova mode, climbing up a beanstalk with Kirby is just as charming and pleasurable as its predecessors. And while its superb level design will bring bundles of joy to players of all ages, those with more experience may question where the game’s real challenge begins.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe’s story mode grants six playable areas with a total of 100 Sun Stones to collect. Though players won’t be breaking into a sweat under the Sun Stones heat, many are delightfully hidden and require an enemy ability to uncover. Amidst the glittering stones are equally enticing key chains, but aside from adding to the puzzle elements of the game, they merely serve as an accompaniment to the game’s completion.
However, where the title really blooms is in Kirby’s Hypernova mode. This ridiculously fun mode is exhilarating to watch in breathtaking stereoscopic 3D. And with its well-paced usage in levels, sucking up trees, trains and multiple enemies in such a voracious manner never gets old. It’s such a simple mechanic, yet it screams to the gluttonous inner child within, where even a gargantuan-sized eel doesn’t stand a chance against this addictive ability. Even though its main use is to suck up anything and everything standing in the puffball’s path, Hypernova mode is utilised fluidly in puzzles, whether it’s creating a wind storm to move a raft, or building a snowman, it still brings joyous results.
It’s no small feat to create a perfectly designed game, and though Kirby suffers from occasional blips – where weapons move through walls or the ground – Hal Laboratory has developed a stellar platform game. Stand-out levels such as Stage 3 in Endless Explosions present a clever change of pace as a copiously spiked wall advances, while Stage 4 in Lollipop Land enchants with a dastardly hall of mirrors, as well as music that mimics the circus’ creepy underlying tone.
But as players advance in story mode, these pace-changing levels are few and far between, with previous bosses popping up here, there and everywhere in order to fill the idea void. As such, the later levels often become repetitive, lacking the imagination seen at the beginning of the game.
Boss fights are where Kirby: Triple Deluxe suffers the most in terms of challenge difficulty. Players can merely avoid the flying projectiles or ground pounds by floating to safety, landing afterwards to button bash them into oblivion using a Kirby-specific copy ability. There’s little incentive to learn their patterns when they can be defeated with such ease, but luckily the final boss delivers twofold.
Aside from story mode, Kirby Fighters and Dedede’s Drum Dash serve as great additional modes. The former sends players into Super Smash Bros territory in order to hone your skills with Sword, Ninja and Cutter as well as various other copy abilities, while Drum Dash is a quirky rhythmic game where timing is crucial to hitting those big scores. Defeating story mode will also open up new modes, such as The Arena and the more challenging Dedede Tour – perfect for cementing the game’s longevity.
For fans of Kirby’s adventures, Triple Deluxe is a treat best served in Hypernova mode. Though story mode grants gorgeous aesthetics, it’s missing a small spring in its step to ravenously pull players in for the long haul.