I’ve always thought there was something slightly sinister about Kirby. On the surface he’s a loveable pink puff that lives in the almost sickeningly bright and cheerful world of Dreamland. However, when you think about how he dispatches enemies and gains new powers you have to wonder where it all goes. Either he has some kind of temporal anomaly living inside him, or he simple consumes everything that gets in his way like Galactus’ cute little cousin.
In his latest 2.5D rampage, I mean adventure, Kirby wakes up to find that his home, along with a large chunk of Dreamland, has been lifted up into sky by a giant beanstalk, sorry, Dreamstalk.
Being a curious little puff, Kirby then sets off to find out what’s going on. Eventually he reaches the castle of King Dedede just in time to watch the plump penguin get kidnapped by the game’s villain, the spider-like Taranza. It’s then up to Kirby to rescue the King and restore order to the land of Floralia by climbing to the top of the Dreamstalk and devouring everything that gets in his way, be it animal, vegetable or waddledee.
On his way to the top Kirby floats, fights and feasts his way through an amazing variety of locales, from the usual pleasant fields, fiery volcanoes and slippery glacial expanses to haunted circuses, old west themed railways and levels constructed out of the remnants of a biscuit barrel.
Each lovingly crafted stage is peppered with secrets and collectables including Sunstones needed to unlock each level’s final boss fight and collectable key rings depicting scenes and sprites from over twenty five years of Kirby games. They’re completely pointless but you’ll want to get every last one of them all the same, attacking every suspicious looking surface or object and floating to every suspicious looking platform in your hunt for secret doorways, warp stars and the new challenges and collectable rewards contained within.
Like previous entries in the series it’s incredibly easy to get from start to finish. Kirby is once again the proverbial powerhouse thanks to his ability to inhale any standard sized enemy that gets in his way and then either steal their abilities by pressing down or spitting them back at the next foe, or in the worst-case scenario, simply float to safety.
All of the Copy Abilities from 2011’s Return to Dreamland (Kirby’s Adventure in EU) on Wii return, including the Link-esque Sword, complete with floppy green hat and old favourites like Beam and Wheel, as well as new additions like Beetle, which allows Kirby to fly (basically a much speedier float) and impale enemies on a horn that grows from his head.
Kirby’s most impressive new ability though is Hypernova, unlocked at certain predetermined points in the game by eating a bean off the Dreamstalk. This makes Kirby’s inhaling ability stupidly powerful, to the point where he can literally chew through the scenery, Hoovering up multiple foes, uprooting trees, derailing trains and at one point hoovering up giant eels that block his path.
Hypernova is also used to interact with the environment in interesting ways to solve some simple puzzles, such as moving blocks in order to climb to otherwise unreachable areas, uprooting giant turnips to attack some pesky birds, and turning himself into the blower for a makeshift pneumatic tube system to grab a chest in the background.
Although the challenge is effectively dialled back to zero every time you grab a Hypernova bean, I found it hard not to chuckle with glee during these set pieces. Tickling a very similar itch to that moment when Popeye breaks out the spinach and kicks the crap out of Bluto, Kirby becomes the unstoppable devourer of worlds we all worried he was, and it is glorious.
At the end of every set of stages, so long as you have collected enough Sun Stones, you’ll face off against one of the game’s fantastic bosses, featuring remixed versions of old favourites like Flowery Woods and the cloud eye thingy, Kracko, as well as some cool new additions like the stone snake Colly Rattler
They’re not that challenging, especially if you turn up wielding the right copy ability, (pro tip: Hammer beats everything.) but they are all still a hell of a lot of fun, all the same.
Triple Deluxe is also a fine showcase of the 3Ds’ stereoscopic abilities, watching waddledees swing back and forth, seeing the flailing tails of eels as you devour them and especially during the aforementioned boss battles; watching Colly Rattler slither from the background into the foreground, or the rolling lightning Kracko produces really is a sight to behold.
In fact, HAL Laboratories have done a fantastic job of tailoring the game to the hardware, as well as the rather impressive 3D, the game also makes effective use of tilt controls in some of the game’s more interesting environmental puzzles. Like lighting a cannon’s fuse by lining up sliding a block backwards and forwards. Or controlling a gondola whist Kirby carries a key to open a nearby door.
There’s also plenty to do outside of the main story, but it is a mixed bag. There’s the Smash Bros-esque Kirby Fighters that has up to four players pick a copy ability and have at it in simple arena combat. In a nice bonus,this does not require each player to have a copy of the game as it has download play.
Then there’s the simple rhythm platform game, Dedede’s Drum dash in which players take on the role of King Dedede, collecting coins whilst bouncing from one drum to the next in time with the beat. There’s also the arbitrary boss rush mode called The Arena in which players pick a copy ability and then attempt to get through all of the game’s boss fights back to back.
Each of these modes are fun for five minutes, but none of them are very taxing or that engrossing.
By far the best mode, though, is Dedede’s Tour, unlocked after finishing the main campaign it has players once again taking on the roll of King Dedede in a time attack mode that compresses each stage of the main campaign into one single massive level that players must guide Dedede through as quickly as possible. Using a similar move set to Hammer Kirby with a couple of additional charge attacks. Dedede also fights bigger versions of standard enemies as well as harder DX versions of the game’s bosses. As such it is a welcome challenge after the metaphorical, and at times literal, cakewalk of the main campaign.
Triple Deluxe may not be the most challenging game in the world. It certainly doesn’t provide the same test of reflexes and patience that the likes of Donkey Kong County Returns or Super Mario 3D Land do. But it is no less entertaining or fun.
With a vibrant beautiful world, some of the best use of 3D on the system and a gleeful sense of mischief and playfulness, regardless of age or ability, it’s impossible not to get sucked into the wonderful world of Kirby: Triple Deluxe.