For me, 2014 has been an odd year for gaming. With several triple A releases falling flat, there feels like a malaise has crept over the industry recently. This prompted me to put some time into my regrettably ignored 3DS and Wii U and, to put it simply, has kept my love for games going. Kirby Triple Deluxe for the 3DS came out earlier this year, but after playing it, I had to let you all know how it was. This review also comes from the standpoint of someone who is new a relative newcomer to the series so keep that in mind as well.
Kirby, much like several other Nintendo franchises, has traditionally consisted of 2D platformers through which the adorable pink ball must jump and inhale his way to the end. What is unique about the franchise is his talent to obtain enemy skills and use them as his own through his Copy ability. These range from becoming a ninja with a katana and shuriken to throwing deadly spears. The four new abilities consist of Beetle (a giant horn to impale foes), Bell (uses bells as melee attacks and can shield), Archer (self-explanatory) and Circus which lets you balance on a ball and blow up balloon animals. Tons of others make a return as well allowing for a diverse combat experience. However, the most enjoyable one to use is the Hypernova ability allowing Kirby to inhale not only multiple enemies at once but even parts of the terrain. When you get this ability a couple of times per world, it is immensely satisfying.
The 3D effect during gameplay is the best that I have seen from any game thus far. Oftentimes Kirby will be able to move between the foreground and background to find hidden doors or more keychains (the games collectibles). Not only is the depth between the two planes great, but enemies will frequently attack you from the background shooting projectiles that look like they pop out of your 3DS.
Unfortunately the game is pretty short with me finishing its six main worlds in about four to six hours. There are two minigames you can play called Kirby Kirby Fighters and Dedede’s Drum Dash. The former is a Smash Bros. type of four player mode where each player is a Kirby that has an ability from the main game. The latter is a rhythm minigame all about Dedede jumping to the beat and trying to collect stars. Neither of these are particularly memorable.
The main game is also entirely too easy. Granted I have heard that Kirby games are not the most difficult in the Nintendo cavalcade of platformers, but this could have been even a little more difficult. Sometimes bosses would put up more of a challenge, but the only times I died were from my own stupidity and not from the game itself.
And that is truly unfortunate because, while the game was very easy, it was a joy to play between the fun and varied combat, the solid platforming controls, vibrant visuals and cheerful music. Is the game worth $35? Probably not, but if you love games that are great to look at, fun to play and a joy to listen to, give Kirby Triple Deluxe a chance.
UPDATE 12/9/14: Upon starting the game after completion, two additional modes were added to the main menu: Dedede Tour and The Arena. Dedede Tour allows you to play through the game as the King himself shortening some levels that he wouldn’t be able to get through without Hypernova and adding a timer to try and go through as fast as possible. It is pretty fun as Dedede just feels so powerful compared to Kirby. The Arena is basically a boss rush mode as Kirby. Unfortunately I was unaware that my game had glitched and not unlocked these directly after finishing the final boss as it was supposed to. These definitely add to the value of the game and, therefore, the score has changed from the original score of a 4 to a 4.5.