Kirby’s adventures started way back in 1992, and since then he has starred in nearly 20 adorable games – playing everything from a rolling pinball to kicking butt in Super Smash Bros. The pink puffball seldom fails to impress, but with the 3DS on the market, and recently price-dropped, is Kirby Mass Attack primed to be one of the last great games for the “basic” DS?
Just as importantly to Nintendo, will the retro visuals, chip sound, and serious twists on the platform genre in HAL Laboratory‘s latest Kirby game help give Nintendo the boost they need with 3DS sales stagnating? Nintendo is certainly hoping that the latest Kirby Mass Attack trailer will convince players that Kirby is set to deliver again.
We got a taste of Kirby Mass Attack when Nintendo debuted the game’s first trailer at E3. As noted, the graphics are hand-drawn sprites and the character, enemy, and world designs are bright and cute. The sound effects are from another era, but work with the retro aesthetic, and the music (especially the title track) sounds poppy and potentially infectious. All of this good stuff is what we should expect from a Kirby title.
Check out the Kirby Mass Attack trailer below:
However, what sets this title apart from other Kirby games, and platformers in general, is that the gameplay revolves around directing Kirby to eat fruit, gain experience points, and then multiply into up to ten controllable Kirbies. Together, the Kirbies can affect huge changes by pulling up especially heavy radishes, tossing themselves bodily at the enemy, and mobbing much larger enemies, as is illustrated in these three adorable Japanese commercials.
While drag-and-direct touch-screen controls are generally more trouble than they’re worth, when it comes to precision, the Kirby Mass Attack environments are pretty open and don’t really require the pixel-perfect control of most platformers. That said, even if players get stuck, you can stick down a star for all of the Kirbies to jump on – then drag it anywhere on screen.
There looks to be plenty of variety based on the core mass-attack gameplay, with your Kirbies pummeling or dragging enemies, rolling down hills, pulling up huge vegetables, and being shaken off by more powerful enemies – to start the process again. While we haven’t played the final build of the game yet, it doesn’t look terribly difficult (based on the trailer), and even the bosses look to present only a minor challenge to veteran gamers – but Kirby Mass Attack is aimed at younger or casual gamer crowds.
Kirby Mass Attack is already out in Japan – and is selling well. Depending on marketing, Nintendo can probably expect their star’s brand-power to sell well to their target market(s) elsewhere, but it will hardly mollify the many mature gamers who have felt abandoned – outside of Nintendo’s mostly excellent first-party titles. With the 3DS library slowly gaining momentum, Kirby Mass Attack may be one of the last upper-tier DS titles, though we’re hoping that many developers continue working on quality DS games for some time to come.
Kirby Mass Attack is due out for the Nintendo DS on September 19, 2011 in the US.