Kirby Triple Deluxe for Nintendo 3DS is the latest game starring Kirby, Nintendo’s flagship pink puff. It is somewhat of an unofficial sequel to Kirby Return to Deamland (Wii, 2011). It is also the first portable Kirby game since Kirby Mass Attack (DS, 2011), and the first Kirby game on 3DS. So does it fulfill expectations, or is it all hot air?
The story begins when our hero wakes up one morning to find that his house has been lifted high into the air by a giant beanstalk. Kirby, seeing that King Dedede’s castle is at the top of the beanstalk, decides to follow it up to find out what’s going on.
In terms of gameplay, Kirby Triple Deluxe plays largely like you would expect a Kirby title to play. The playstyle relies on the series convention of sucking up enemies and stealing their powers. So if you inhale a snowman, you get Ice power. However, it’s more than just a simple freezing breeze. Just like in Kirby Return to Dreamland for Wii, each power has multiple moves they can use. For example, with Ninja power, you can throw blades, stick to walls, use smoke bombs, and more. It’s rather impressive how many different abilities there are for some of the powers.
There are a number of new powers to the series, as well. For example, inhale a clown, and Kirby gets Circus power. You can juggle bowling pins, jump through flaming hoops, and blow up balloon animals, all of which can do damage to enemies. Or try Archer power, where you can shoot arrows in almost any direction, fire a powerful charged shot, or hide behind fake scenery.
The most notable new power is Hypernova. At certain points in the game, a tree will appear with Miracle Fruit. Once Kirby touches or eats this fruit, he gains the Hypernova ability. This essentially grants him the power to inhale almost anything. It’s comical how ridiculous this can get. Tree in your way? No problem. Suck it up. There are some interesting puzzles in the game that make use of this power.
Kirby Triple Deluxe also features some unique level designs, many of which make great use of the 3D effect, and some of which use the tilt sensor of the 3DS. Characters and elements will often come flying toward the screen. Several levels also feature parallel paths, one behind the other. If you start on the front path, you can hop on a special hollow star to move you to the rear path, and vice versa. Keep your eyes open on these levels, as there are a number of hidden treasures that can only be seen or accessed from one path.
Speaking of treasures, the game is filled with them. There are well over 200 keychains to be collected, which feature characters from all different Kirby games. These are scattered and hidden throughout every level. There are also a number of Sun Stones to be found. Sun Stones are gem-like objects that open new areas to explore if you collect enough of them. They are hidden all over the place. While some of them are in rather plain sight, there are several that you will miss unless you are really searching.
As is common with Kirby games, Kirby Triple Deluxe is a little on the easy side. Experienced gamers could probably finish the main game with only a handful of deaths. This does not take away from the experience, however, as there are some very challenging levels and bosses, along with some side games that hold a significant challenge.
Once you complete the main story (or even before, if you prefer), you can try your hand at various mini-games, such as Dedede’s Drum Dash. You control King Dedede by pressing “A” to the rhythm of a classic Kirby song to help him reach the end of a level. Or take out some aggression on Kirby Fighters, which is like a Super Smash Bros. Lite where Kirby is the only playable character. You can play against CPU players or over local wireless with friends (if you have any).
One of the most important parts of a game for me is the music, and Kirby Triple Deluxe has a great soundtrack. There are a number of recognizable tunes, many of which have been remixed or rewritten with a more modern feel. None of the songs are grating, and they typically enhance the mood of the level you are playing.
Graphically, the game looks great. There was a lot of attention to detail, as backgrounds, lighting and characters are all full of character. The game takes full advantage of the 3D effect, with rich, colorful landscapes and objects that jump in and out of the screen. Animations are smooth and fluid, and I don’t recall ever seeing any slowdown in frame rate, even while playing with 3D enabled.
The Verdict: 8.5 out of 10
Kirby Triple Deluxe is another solid entry in the Kirby series. It contains some very interesting level designs, great music, and a host of fun side games. It’s not terribly difficult, but that by itself doesn’t take away much, as there is a lot of fun to be had, even if you can do it on the first try. It’s kind of amazing that Nintendo found ways to make this game exciting and interesting with largely the same mechanics of previous games. The only bad thing is now I have to wait a year or two for the next Kirby game.