When it comes to fun game series, I have never not liked Kirby. It was literally the first video games that I ever got into ever since I could grip a controller. There was just something so intriguing and awesome about something so small and cute that had the ability to swallow his enemies whole and steal their powers. Plus because of its simplicity, it made it easier to for fans like me to get into the games. Now over the span of 24 years, Kirby has become one of Nintendo's and Hal Lab's more experimental series not only within the platforming genre with games like Canvas Curse, Mass Attack, and Epic Yarn; but also with racing, puzzle, golf, pinball, and a rather successful TV series. Now we know that Kirby is a pretty experimental franchise, but does the newest entry of the series, Kirby: Planet Robobot for the Nintendo 3DS, stray too far from what we've come to love in these games, or does it hit just enough high points to be one of the best in the main series? Well let's take a look...
From the start-up I noticed something a little off at first. The theme music was not the usual cheery style that Kirby usually goes for. Instead, it had a more ominous sounding theme, probably to emphasize the fact that Kirby's home world of Popstar is being mechanized and assimilated by the main antagonist of this game: the Haltmann Works Company. This already sounds a bit darker than what I'm used to in Kirby games, but I have an open mind so I decide to give it a pass for the sake of aesthetic composition. I am glad though that the gameplay is exactly what I've come to expect from a main series Kirby game and more. Kirby has the usual abilities that we've come to expect, but he also has the ability to hijack an enemy mech called an Invader Armor to completely wreck house. These mech sections of the game are freaking awesome too. They made me feel like I was untouchable and since the armor is tuned to the abilities of its pilot, it also gains Kirby's ability to copy enemy powers as well. Now while the armor has a slightly different gameplay style, it still retained the simplicity that made the Kirby games so accessible, plus it harkens back to the old Dreamland games where he could ride on the back of an animal friend like Rick, Coo, or Kine.
The visuals of the game are absolutely stunning as well. You'd think just because the game uses the same engine as Triple Deluxe and Return to Dreamland that it would just reuse assets in order to save time on development right? Wrong! Hal Labs went the extra mile and retextured every returning organic enemy and miniboss in the game with a more mechanized appearance to reflect the actions of the Haltmann Works Company. The world's backgrounds are visually impressive as well. Most everything still fits the food theme that the Kirby series is known for, but now its all industrialized to better fit the aesthetic that the game is going for. Strands of spaghetti held up by forks are power-lines, milk cartons are houses, and soda cans are water towers. The music (in the stages) is also pretty catchy too and it fits the Kirby style quite well, but unfortunately most of them aren't memorable enough for me remember how they go without coming back to the game and hearing them again.
Now if you're like me and say that a Kirby game isn't complete without a couple of sub games, well Planet Robobot has got you covered there too. This game has two short, but intriguing, sub games called Team Kirby Clash and Kirby 3D Rumble. Clash is a series of timed boss fights with up to four players and has RPG elements like leveling and job classes. And in order to set it apart from the main game mode, all of the fights are from past Kirby games that didn't return for the main story. 3D Rumble on the other hand is a fully 3D (you read that right) puzzle based game where you need to take out all of the enemies on the screen in the quickest and most efficient way possible. There are no copy abilities in this mode, but it feels MUCH different than the rest of the game. I think Hal should combine these two game modes to make a truly unique Kirby spin-off.
All in all, this entry in the series hit all the right points with me. It was fun, it built upon established gameplay well, the music fit where it was needed, it was incredibly pleasant to look at, and when it pandered to the nostalgic side in me, it was done well enough that it fit in the context where it was presented without sticking out like a sore thumb. Every aesthetic choice that was made for this game was absolutely spot on and I wouldn't change a bit of it. My only real gripe with it though is that it might be a tad too easy, even more so if you use an amiibo or two with it. But considering that it's Kirby, a series explicitly designed to be for people that aren't that good at games or are starting to get into them, I'm willing to let that slide. Definitely pick up this gem (especially if you're a fan of Kirby Super Star), but until then, I'll be seeing you.
Edited by Gilgamesh on Friday 24th of June 2016 07:39:27 PM :
Fixed formatting of entire article