Kirby is a franchise that’s usually hit or miss for gamers of various preferences. Heralded by many as one of Nintendo’s less challenging platformers, it’s easily overshadowed in the minds of hardcore gamers by the likes of the Big N’s more attention-grabbing sidescroller franchises (i.e. Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario Bros.). One benefit this has afforded the series however, is the ability to experiment with new ideas and it has brought fans some great results. Kirby: Triple Deluxe is no exception and it utilizes the 3DS better than most titles on the platform.
Those who’ve yet to experience a Kirby game for themselves should know that the series is largely catered towards a younger demographic, hence the iconic pink blob’s adorable demeanor, and it’s filled with unique and quirky gameplay scenarios. The main protagonist is capable of inhaling and consuming a limitless amount of obstacles and foes. He can draw new abilities based on the type of weapons the consumed enemy is equipped with. This has been the base for gameplay in the series since its second iteration, and its design still holds true – albeit refined throughout the years.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe, despite utilizing a clever play on the word 3D, takes what makes the franchise so popular and expands on it by implementing the features of the 3DS. There are six worlds for players to traverse, each comprised of 5-6 levels (including a boss stage), but there are challenge maps called DX levels that can be unlocked after collecting Sun Stones on each stage. These levels are significantly more difficult than the standard areas that Kirby will chew through, and add some much appreciated challenge for longtime fans of the spherical hero.
Challenge is one of Triple Deluxe‘s biggest problems however, as it’s really quite an easy game that’s ripe for tearing through. It manages to be more challenging than some of the previous versions in Nintendo’s Kirby line of games, but platforming pros won’t find much to go on here. Admittedly, some of the aforementioned DX levels are worth the effort of gathering all of the Sun Stones in a world to access them, but the product as a whole is a very forgiving experience that invites gamers to keep playing.
Despite being more or less a breeze for experienced gamers, it’s a very intelligently designed game. Taking place on multiple layers of platforms, players will constantly find themselves (and enemies) shifting from plane to plane as they cruise through each level. As a result of this, 3D works splendidly on the handheld and it provides users with the depth perception to see when these obstacles or foes will become a threat to Kirby’s well being. It’s not necessary to the experience, but it does feel like the game caters more towards three dimensional play.
Other segments also utilize the gyroscope within the portable, allowing users to tilt the 3DS itself to plough through various obstacles. Whether it’s being used to maneuver a cart over tracks, to dump water onto bean stalks, or to launch rockets at previously indestructible blocks, it works really well and helps to immerse users in the Dream World-based adventure. It’s not by any means a game-changing feature, but it’s a nice change of pace from standard platforming every once in a while.
Aside from new mechanics, developer HAL also added a new power up that absolutely sucks – albeit in the best way possible. Kirby can consume a new item called a Miracle Fruit which bestows the cutesy character with an unholy ability to consume massive structures and baddies without much effort. Despite emitting a glow after consuming the fruit, Kirby isn’t invincible whilst in his ‘Hypernova’ state. That said, it’s pretty hard for enemies or projectiles to reach the blob when he’s capable of consuming them in bulk.
Once the main campaign comes to a close, which shouldn’t take players much time, there are four different modes to enjoy (two of which are unlocked after completing the main Triple Deluxe story). The standout is easily Kirby Fighters, which pits up to four local players against one another in a Super Smash Bros.-inspired fighter. Hardcore players looking for a little more challenge can boot up Dedede Tour and revisit portions of the campaign with added difficulty, so there’s still a lot to do after the initial story mode has been put to rest.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe takes the same formula that fans value in the series and builds on it in interesting and innovative ways. The entire experience feels like it’s tailor-made to the Nintendo 3DS, with every single aspect of the title playing into the capabilities of the handheld. The 3D brings the entire world to life, the obstacles and power-ups are smart, and most importantly it feels fresh. Despite these positive attributes, the game is short and the lack of challenging levels doesn’t help to extend the length of the campaign whatsoever. Nevertheless there is still a lot to like about Triple Deluxe.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe rolls onto store shelves on May 2, 2014, exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS.
Follow Riley on Twitter @TheRileyLittle.