Nintendo’s favorite pink, uh, thing has returned for another spin around Dream Land in Kirby: Triple Deluxe. The game centers around our favourite pink whatchamacallit as he finds himself in the land of Floralia (created after his home in Dream Land was absorbed into a giant beanstalk) tasked with saving the land, as well as his on-again, off-again nemesis/ally King Dedede.

Release Date: May 2nd 2014

Console: Nintendo 3DS

Rating: E for Everyone

So I’m going to be honest with you off the top. I’ve never really been a big Kirby franchise fan pretty well ever in my life. For whatever reason, of all of Nintendo’s first party franchises, it’s Kirby and Metroid that have never really appealed to me much.

After the short video intro, you’re off in the game. The purpose of the game is known, but how you get there is up to your intuition and curiosity. Each level has between 2-4 sun stones, and you must collect a certain number of them to unlock the boss stage to progress to the next Dreamstalk area. It’s pretty cut and dry in the first stalk, but your curious nature is what will have to find you those sun stones in future levels. Here’s my one big tip for Kirby: Triple Deluxe for you – If you can try to explore an area further, do it. There are all sorts of hidden doors, and areas tucked away everywhere, many of which contain sun stones. The number you need to unlock each boss stage increases the further you go, so remain curious and explore everything.

Just like the other games in this series, it is a point A to point B side-scroller. However, it’s hardly your regular 2D side-scroller. In fact, I’m amazed at how Nintendo uses the playing field in this game. Both the background and foreground can be usable playing space through riding stars (and also enemies popping up from the back into the front.) It’s really hard to explain how this works, but you’ll marvel the first time you see that dynamic.

In each level, there are a certain number of keychains to collect as well. The keychain collectible aspect is neat. There are numerous keychain icons (regular and rare) scattered throughout the levels. Grabbing them will unlock a keychain at the end of the level that you add to an overall stash. You’ll then earn various collecting titles depending on how many keychains you pick up. If you’re worried you’re going to miss some, no need to worry. You can unlock keychains using your play coins. This is an aspect of 3DS gaming I’ve found lacking in titles lately, so it’s nice that the play coins are worth something again. It should be noted there’s a great Streetpass feature too.  Streetpassed individuals result in better powerups passed to you by your pal Waddle Dee.

Kirby’s most dynamic ability continues to be that he sucks. Literally. Kirby can mimic or morph into a lot of different enemies and obtain their special abilities by sucking them up. I lost count of how many different special abilities he can obtain – Whip, Fire, Archer, Sword, Fighter, Ninja, Ice. That’s really just scratching the surface.  New to the mix as well is the Hypernova ability, which you’ll see on average once per world. This basically overrides any other special abilities you have for him (since it’s finish-dependent) and allows you to suck up almost everything in sight. You can move massive objects, suck up entire suits of armor and even blocks and platforms. It’s a really cool ability, and I’m glad they’ve restricted its use because the charm would be ruined otherwise. Some of these special abilities overall are kind of useless, and some are pretty dangerous in cramped spaces (the Circus one has some high speed flipping abilities that are super unpredictable) but they’re what make this game.  As interesting as it would be to take Kirby through 50+ levels with no abilities than to suck things up, it would get pretty old pretty fast.

On a side note: It’s kind of odd that a platformer game like this would have cliffs and gaps since it’s almost impossible to die by jumping into them. With the push of a button, Kirby has the ability to float to safety. Granted, if paired with the circus ability, it does become legitimately dangerous (since you don’t have much reaction time,) but it seems silly otherwise.

Each Dreamstalk has features of its own, and I’m sure you’ll find a favourite world. The ice stages in the 3rd stalk were great, but there was a level I played early on that I absolutely loved just because of Nintendo’s use of the playing field (again, the one thing I will always take away from this title that impressed me.) Trains rumble from the background to the foreground and require you to run and dash past them without getting hit, paired with numerous enemies making your life miserable. I’d kill for more 3DS games to do this sort of thing effectively, and I hope this isn’t an idea that dies with this game.

Two mini-games are also included. There’s Kirby Fighters, where you can play as the various different weaponed Kirbys against each other and CPU characters in a battle to cute overload death, or Dedede’s Drum Dash. Drum Dash is a rhythm game. You are King Dedede and you’re creating beats for the music in the background while jumping from drum to drum. Similar to other music games, you’ve got to keep a decent beat and timing for the music. Doing so will reward you by jumping over barriers and collecting coins. The better your timing, the higher your jumps (and the more coins you get.) Kirby Fighters isn’t a bad little game, and will probably appeal a lot to the Smash Bros. crowd looking for a little bit of additional action in between releases. Best of all is that it has a download play feature, meaning you can send the game to all your friends and play off the single cart. Much like the use of Play Coins, this is a feature I don’t see very often, so I love that there’s a lot of value in this cartridge besides just the game itself.

Long time video gamers will also recognize HAL characters here and there tucked into the game. In Kirby Fighters, I noticed that Lolo of all characters was one of the NPCs pushing objects toward you. That legitimately had me running over to Wikipedia to check and see if HAL owned The Adventures of Lolo, and if in fact it was him or just a coincidence.  (The answer is yes, and I’m not leaning toward coincidence since there’s more Lolo homage later on.) I’ve probably dated myself with this reference considering the most recent Lolo game is at least 20 years ago. I believe Lolo and Lala have been in other Kirby games too, but it’s always a blast from my childhood past seeing him in there.

The graphics in this game are great, but what is so much better is the way HAL and Nintendo delivers the game space to you. I’ve said in previous reviews that I can’t see things in 3D, but for those of you that can, this game must be absolutely ridiculous to you. The way that the game itself is delivered through the background and foreground isn’t something you expect out of a traditional side scroller. If I had to pick one highlight, it’s the way that the game has been developed to work visually. The way that things float through and use the background and foreground is great, and boss fights especially take such good advantage of this.

Younger audiences probably won’t notice this, or won’t care, but the controls are the only definite downfall of this game.  It’s weird, but there seemed to be a bit of latency between my actions and Kirby’s, and it was a bit annoying at times. At times, the controls would be so very responsive, and at others, I felt like I was waiting a split second to
o long for Kirby’s evasive actions. There are also a LOT of different commands in this game – Far more than anything I remember. Whether it’s Kirby’s movements, or your gyroscopic movements tilting the device for various tasks, I don’t think I’ve fully done every single move in the game. There’s nothing wrong with this of course. I just am surprised at how much has been pumped into this title, and don’t think kids will remember or fully take advantage of what’s being offered.

You’ll really like this game if you really liked Yoshi’s New Island. In many ways, both titles are similar with just different character bases. Both games share bright, colourful graphics with good sized levels and a lot of them. Older gamers might be turned off by the game’s simplicity and lack of major difficulty, but your kids will eat this game up. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever played, and is another title I’d use to sell the prowess of the 3DS and what it brings to the table for gaming in general. It may not go down as the best Nintendo 3DS platformer title, but it will definitely be a top 10 for years to come.

Final Ratings
Gameplay: 4 / 5

Graphics: 5 / 5

Sound: 4 / 5
Controls: 4 / 5

Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4 / 5

Overall Rating: 4.4 / 5 (84%)

Kirby: Triple Deluxe is now available for your Nintendo 3DS system.