That pink puffball has been around since the Gameboy and NES, but Kirby has had a history of bucking the trend. Some use a different art style, while others change-up the gameplay entirely. For the first time, Kirby is now on 3DS, where an evil being kidnaps King Dedede. It’s up to Kirby to save him in Kirby Triple Deluxe. Does it suck? Of course not, but this isn’t one of those revolutionary Kirby games.
While not breaking new ground, Kirby Triple Deluxe runs at a smooth frame rate whether or not 3D is turned on. Locales are varied, vibrant and presented with vivid whimsical detail. There are some nice effects on show, but aside from a few power-ups there isn’t anything that hasn’t been shown in a similar light before. Soundtrack is a mix of altered classic tunes and some catchy new ones that fit the locations. It’s about the standard Kirby quality we’ve come to expect over the years, but it doesn’t take any risks unlike Kirby’s Dreamland 3 did.
Level design is where Kirby Triple Deluxe’s main strength is. As you progress through the game, there are more elaborate puzzles involving the background or foreground, depending where Kirby is at any point in time. One particular stage gimmick has the background act as a mirror showing the true path that is occasionally obscured by the foreground. This produces some of the best effects in the game, of which the 3D compliments it nicely. The tilt controls however are still hit or miss, though the presence of a reset tilt button on the touch screen alleviates some of the pain.
Kirby’s ability to copy enemy attacks is still present, though there are new additions such as the spear and clown outfits that broaden your attack options. New to this particular game is the Hypernova ability, turning Kirby into a super-powered vacuum cleaner. Nothing is safe from Kirby’s terrifying power, though it is limited to segments of certain levels. It does include some neat platform puzzle mechanics like sucking up missiles to launch at an enemy cannon’s weak point or to launch vegetables at giant birds. Hypernova does vary the gameplay in a slight way, but it’s far from revolutionary.
Aside from maybe one or two, Kirby games have always been short. Kirby Triple Deluxe is no exception, spanning over six worlds with a total of 100 Sun Stones to collect. Provided you’re paying attention to the levels, there will only be a few you’re likely to miss the first time through. Scattered around each level are key-chains that are throwbacks to previous games in the franchise, though you can also pick them up using Play Coins earned by walking with your 3DS.
Other than the story campaign, you also have access to Kirby Fighters – a fighting game mode similar to Super Smash Bros or PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale; and a rhythmic mini-game involving King Dedede bouncing on drums to classic Kirby tunes. Upon completion there are two more unlockable modes that are of the usual unlockable affair. Kirby Fighters is probably the best mini-game diversion, but none of them are likely to grab your attention for long.
Kirby’s demographic has always been for younger and more inexperienced audiences, so in that regard Kirby Triple Deluxe will cater quite nicely. It’s got a good style, great level design and changes things up a little; but it’s far from risky and is perhaps a bit on the short side. The big selling point of Hypernova is somewhat gimmicky as it is confined to certain segments, but it does allow for unique puzzle elements. Kirby Triple Deluxe is definitely a good game, but not exceptional.