You know who Kirby is. There’s no denying that. Even if you’ve never played a video game before in your life (and if that’s the case, why are you reading this, you crazy, anomaly, you?), you more than likely could still identify the pink puffball or say that you recognized his name. And this isn’t without good reason. In the past twenty-two years, there have been an impressive twenty-three Kirby games. Impressive in both the number of games, but also they’re quality. Kirby titles tend to have a certain degree of thought and love put into them, and so, twenty-two years in, does game number twenty-four, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, stack up amongst its impervious predecessors?
You better believe it does.
Let’s cut through the basics here, first. Kirby: Triple Deluxe’s minimal storyline (which is pretty typical fare for Kirby games, which was never really their point) actually manages to be a little more engaging than usual by subverting the norm to a degree. Here, you’re actually trying to rescue King DeDeDe from the nefarious Nightmare after the unfortunate Dreamstalk disrupts everything (you know how it goes).
The level design presented to you here is bright, colorful, and varied to a much welcome degree. The levels here don’t feel repetitive, which is always a danger in Kirby titles, as a result of there being different concepts required of you in each stage, creating a gameplay where you won’t asleep, even if the difficultly is never too high. Kirby: Triple Deluxe brings more freshness to the old franchise in a lot of other ways too, like the “haunted” levels for instance, where you’re relying on puzzles played through mirrors. They’re a great idea, and I hope they become a regular addition to future Kirby games.
In terms of all the pretty eye candy here, Kirby: Triple Deluxe uses 3D to an exceptional degree, perhaps some of the best on the system even. Kirby can jump back and forth to the background and foreground of a level, offering great “3D while still 2D” gameplay’ but other flourishes and flair are exhibited, like trains barreling towards you, or Kirby being smacked right into your screen. Yoshi’s New Island is another recent game that tries to use this same presentation style, but fails in comparison and offers no innovation as a result. As a comparison, you really see how much Kirby is subtly doing with a simple mechanic. This is a game that you’ll absolutely play with the 3D feature turned on.
The game uses the 3DS’s gyroscope feature, and well, too, steering boats and moving disparate elements like the trajectory of a projectile, that never dominate the game, but are enjoyable enough that you look around to them while you’re doing them, but don’t miss them when you’re not.
But let’s put up any illusions here. Like any Kirby title, the most important element is always Kirby’s copy abilities, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe does not disappoint by perhaps containing the most Kirby copy abilities to date (twenty-six; six of which are entirely original to the title), and all of them are stand-outs, rather than a few select gems lost amongst lazy additions. There’s even the new “Hypernova Mode” throwing Kirby into overdrive where he’s capable of doing ridiculously powerful things like sucking up entire portions of levels! All of these work and have multiple moves and versatility, while being simple at the same time with controls that are never a pain.
This also feeds appropriately into Kirby Fighters, an alternate mode of the game, allowing you to put these varied copy abilities to battle, playing a lot like Super Smash Bros. interestingly enough, and allows multiplayer if you’re interested in such things in your Kirby games. If that wasn’t enough, another full mode offered to you is DeDeDe’s Drum Dash, a rhythm platformer, that sees you earning medals as you bop through a level on drums with perfect timing. This mode is frankly smooth and fun as hell and would make an amazing full-on game in its own right. The biggest drawback of it is that it’s not any longer (only four levels, using some of the series most memorable music, of which there is much more of). And if you beat Story Mode, you’ll also get DeDeDe Tour, where you’ll play as DeDeDe in a harder version of the main game. Kirby games are never one to skimp on the extras, but these are mostly impactful and not frivolousness, which is pretty exciting when you add in the already solid main game.
However, like in most Kirby games, one of the letdowns is that the main game is never a real challenge. The extras (keychains and Sun Stones to gain access to the worlds’ boss and bonus stages, respectively) are mildly challenging, but are never that frustrating of a experience. Granted, the difficulty does appropriately increase as you move through the game’s six worlds (with five or six stages in each world), and DeDeDe Tour does help, so at least the game is trying to remedy this blind spot. If being too easy is this title’s worst offense though, you better swallow that “Drive” ability and get yourself to the nearest store to pick up Kirby: Triple Deluxe immediately!