King Dedede is letting Kirby copies run amok in Kirby Battle Royale. Team up with Bandana Waddle Dee and take down the copies in various mini games to thwart his dastardly plans. With 10 different mini games and plenty of unlockables, the brawler’s a fun, albeit mediocre, pick up and play title for all ages.
Our lovable pink puffball is back to kick up a storm in his latest action brawler for the 3DS. Developed by HAL Laboratory, Kirby Battle Royale is the third handheld spin-off title to release this year as part of his 25th Anniversary, following hot on the heels of Team Kirby Clash Deluxe and Kirby’s Blowout Blast. While fans won’t get their hands on Kirby Star Allies for the Nintendo Switch console until next year, Kirby Battle Royale features three fun modes and 13 copy abilities in the base game to keep all ages satisfied, albeit only for a short time.
Starting with a pleasant tutorial to ease players in, Kirby Battle Royale kicks off its story mode campaign with five different leagues in King Dedede’s Cake League. By teaming up with Bandana Waddle Dee or going it alone, you’ll play through a variety of neat mini games and rack up league points and battle points to advance through to the qualifier stages for the next league. Mini games such as Apple Scramble and Ore Express are superb for co-operative play, where each team member must work together to pick up apples or ore and throw them on the plateau or into the cart. Dirty work is also at play here too, with players able to fight each other and sneakily steal items to score big. Both of these mini games shine in local and download play with friends.
Flagball on the other hand is a hot mess of volleyball-like frenzy. Either capture the ball and slam dunk it into the flag, or carry the flag and make your enemies do the work for you. With such a small area and multiple background distractions, it can be hard to keep track of where your character is on the screen, making it difficult to score. While Slam Hockey and Crazy Theatre also sport interesting co-operative play, they suffer from a lack of overall enthusiasm and become exceedingly repetitive over time. It’s clear that these three mini games are most likely to place at the back of the pack.
Some of the best mini games, though, are the most simple. Battle Arena – which pits players against each other in a top-down perspective Smash Bros style Coliseum – is the easiest place to show your copy ability moves. Work as a team or alone and KO each player in the arena with your Ninja-like skills, your glistening sword, your wonder whip or any of the other copy abilities available to take the victory crown. When you’re ready to take on a boss fight though, you’ll want to go up against Robo Bonkers; the lean, mean robotic machine. Avoid his electrifying moves and place rockets into cannons to bring him down so you can unleash your killer copy moves.
While there’s only 10 mini games on offer within Kirby Battle Royale, there are between one and four alternate versions, which increase the difficulty by placing more traps or giving bosses bolder movesets. Given the game’s RRP, there’s not enough content in the base game, however with more copy abilities arriving from Nintendo – such as the fan favourite Mirror ability – there’s still hope for additional mini games yet.
Kirby Battle Royale’s single player campaign takes no longer than five hours to complete. Playing through the story mode will unlock mini games and characters, which can be bought with battle points for use in Battle Mode and Online Ranked Matches. Making it through to the final Platinum League means you’ll be able to purchase Boost Orbs. These special items increase the amount of damage you can do, increase your overall speed or give you additional life and defence. While they can only be used in Battle Mode between single and local multiplayer, they shake the game’s pacing up with amusing moves such as fiery breath and berserk action. And trust me, there’s nothing better than seeing the cute puffball taking a fiery stance against other players. Different headgear and music can be purchased with battle points too, so there’s plenty of unlockables at your fingertips.
Of course, Kirby Battle Royale’s longevity is placed within its Battle Mode and Online Ranked Matches. Choose from local or download play and select from random battles or choose a custom list so you can play your favourites. However, there’s a painful issue with download play. Since the host player must choose from two mini game packs, you’ll have to exit out of the menu to play the other mini games, forcing your friends to re-download the game.
Kirby Battle Royale falls short in Online Ranked Matches too. While it largely depends on your fellow players’ internet connections, certain mini games can suffer from some real spotty action. Between the huge framerate drops and the forced errors combined with horrible lags from connection issues, Robo Bonkers, Attack Riders and Ore Express can easily become unplayable and frustrating. Yet if we put those issues to one side, online matches are great fun to play and culminate in extra battle points when your rank levels up.
Despite Kirby Battle Royale featuring no stereoscopic 3D, the top-down and side-view visuals are a treat to view. As a multiplayer action brawler, the game certainly has its issues. Though the heart of its multiplayer action is largely repetitive, it’s still an enjoyable co-operative experience with upbeat music and interesting quirks. Just don’t tell King Dedede you ate all his cake.