Kirby arrives on Nintendo Switch
Nintendo has done wonders in recent years to keep their beloved pink hero Kirby in the limelight. From the innovative art style of Kirby’s Epic Yarn to the unique robosuit abilities in Kirby: Planet Robobot, the franchise has really flourished. Now it’s Kirby’s time to make the jump to Nintendo Switch for his very first HD outing!
In Kirby Star Allies, you’ll need to befriend your enemies in order to save Planet Popstar yet again. This time mysterious black hearts appear from another world and begin corrupting the souls of those they touch. Kirby, however, comes in contact with a pink heart that imbues him with the power of converting foes into friends. That’s a really useful power given the dire circumstances!
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Rally friends and foes to save Kirby’s world
Recent Kirby games all feature an interesting in gameplay mechanic to help make them unique, and Kirby Star Allies is no exception. This time the gimmick is the ability to coax your enemies into becoming pals. Common enemies like Knuckle Joe and Waddle Dee suddenly become Kirby’s greatest asset as he takes on all-new challenges.
Kirby Star Allies has a heavy focus on multiplayer as well, so your friends can join in the fun. Up to three enemies can join your 4-player team (including Kirby), with each one controlled by a player. In order to recruit a new member to the squad, all Kirby has to do is throw a heart at them. Captured enemies become “friends” and there two dozen you can recruit in all. While you can play solo, and have allies controlled by the A.I., teaming up with your friends is way more fun. All the cooperative multiplayer action takes place on the same screen for some truly exciting moments!
Combine your powers
On top of Kirby’s usual inhale and Copy Abilities, in Kirby Star Allies your team can combine their powers. For example, imbue Kirby’s sword or whip with fire cause them to ignite for even more damage. You’ll also gain new powers such as the ability to melt blocks of ice or ignite bomb wicks. Your friends, such as Chef Kawasaki, can also cook up healing items to restores the team’s life.
Once you have a full team of four, it’s possible to fuse together into some special super forms. For instance, Friend Circle lets your team roll forward fast to take out weak enemies and destroy blocks. On the other hand, Friend Train morphs the group into a rampaging train that’s practically invincible. These moves, including Friend Bridge, enable you to reach secret areas and potentially discover some bonus items.
For greater convenience, Kirby Star Allies allows for seamless drop-in/drop-out gameplay. All you have to do is press the L and R button on the Joy-Cons in order to jump into the game. Exiting the game is also done with a simple button press, letting anyone hop in for some quick multiplayer excitement. It also means for trickier spots in the game your friend can join and help out immediately. This makes it a wonderful game for parents and children to play together!
New Copy Abilities
As usual, it wouldn’t be a new Kirby game without new Copy Abilities to try out. New in Kirby Star Allies are the following:
Artist, which grants Kirby a paintbrush weapon. This can be used to unleash a torrent of paint, or to draw objects that may attack or heal.
Spider, an ability that lets Kirby trap enemies. You can then kick or slam the encased enemies to deal some serious damage.
Festival, a single-use ability that causes Kirby to dance while obliterating all enemies on screen. When you need to clear the screen fast, this is your go-to move!
A beautiful HD adventure on Switch
As the first high-definition Kirby game, it’s beautiful as you’d expect. The worlds you visit are rich in detail and offer stunning visual depth. And while levels have common themes seen in past Kirby games, such as grasslands, icy worlds, and molten lava, the colours are more vibrant and environments have much greater detail. Puzzles are designed with these themes in mind, such as melting ice with fire, or dousing fires with water.
While the campaign is fairly easy to complete, each level features a series puzzle pieces to collect for added replay. These feel a lot like the StreetPass Puzzle Swap game, and I enjoyed that the puzzle pieces are nods to past Kirby games. Many of the puzzle pieces are very well hidden too, giving you lots of incentive to explore levels from top to bottom.
End-game content and mini-games
In addition to the story mode, Kirby Star Allies includes two mini-games. Chop Champs is an axe competition where four players have to cut logs to build a cottage. Next, there’s Star Slam Heroes where the goal is to hit a meteorite back into space. The games offer a mild distraction from the main game but they’re not very meaty overall.
What does offer a lot of extra content though are two unlockable modes after you complete the game. The first is Guest Star mode and enables you to do a speedrun of the game while playing as a common enemy. It’s more challenging, obviously, but the addition of health, speed, and attack boosts makes life a bit easier. Lastly, there’s the Ultimate Choice, a boss run challenge where you’re given a limited health refill between matches. Both of these great inclusion provides hours of extra content.
Kirby Star Allies is fun, charming new entry aimed at younger audiences, but adults can still have plenty of enjoyment. The challenge is very light—most levels can be completed in one try—making the game very accessible. For a stiffer challenge, the post-game speedrun and boss gauntlet will test your skills. There’s a good amount of levels in the campaign too, and it’s fun to go back and discover secret areas or find puzzle pieces. Kirby Star Allies made me smile a lot, as Kirby games always tend to do.
+ Fun playing solo or multiplayer
+ Beautiful HD graphics
+ Easy and accessible
+ Charming presentation
– Bonus mini-games are pretty thin
– No online multiplayer
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5