Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Release Date: 05/02/2014
While Kirby may have helped the DS get off to a great start with Canvas Curse, he’s only just now making an appearance on the 3DS. This time, the pink puffball is staring in a classic Kirby-style game that utilizes the advanced technology of the 3DS to great effect. Fans of the series simply aren’t going to want to miss this.
The story this time centers around a magic beanstalk that grows while the titular hero is sleeping in his bed. When he wakes up, the stalk has lifted his house and many other Dreamland buildings up into the sky. If that weren’t enough, Kirby witnesses King Dedede getting kidnapped by a flying spider person. The hero rushes off to save his arch villain, and uncover the mystery of this strange new foe.
As you might expect, there isn’t much of a plot to this game really. It’s just a series of levels and/or bosses until you get to the end. However, there is a fair amount of exposition at the end to help put some context to the things that happen. It’s not a grate piece of literature by any means, but it justifies its own existence. The real heart of the game comes from amusing moments and light-hearted charm. You won’t get a grand masterpiece out of this, but you will find yourself chuckling along.
Much like other classic Kirby games (Kirby Super Star and Return to Dreamland), there’s a lot in Triple Deluxe besides just the story mode. While the story is the meat of the game, you also have two additional modes unlocked from the start. The first of these is Smash Bros.-style fighting game where you an pick one of several copy abilities and trash CPU opponents. You can also play with up to four human players in deathmatch scenarios. It even supports download play, though people without the game can only switch between a couple of characters. It’s not deep, and there aren’t a lot of options. However, it’s amusing fun that allows you to fully explore the various powers.
Also unlocked from the start is a King Dedede rhythm game where you bounced on drums and try to collect stars. Each of the mode’s four levels has you attempting to match the beat of a classic Kirby song. You’re awarded medals for doing well, and you can try to top your score. The gameplay is a little wonky until you get used to it, but it ends up being a worthwhile edition if you put the time in.
After you’ve beaten the story, you unlock two more modes. The first of these is the arena. Like in previous games, the arena is a boss-rush style mode where you take on a series of bosses with a few health pick-ups to keep you going. A harder version of the mode can be unlocked as well. The other mode is a time attack style mode where you take Dedede through a remixed version of the main campaign. The catch here is that you don’t have a level select, so you end up moving through every level in a world in one sitting. This mode also features tougher versions of the bosses, as well two new bosses to conquer. Even though you’re supposed to be rushed to complete this mode as quickly as possible, you can certainly expect it to soak up hours of your time.
Visually, the game is a complete hit. If you wanted to show someone how great a game could look in 3D, this would be a great place to start. First of all, the trademark Kirby style is in full effect. Bright colors are everywhere, and cute animations are commonplace. The use of 3D allows for a clever interplay between foreground, background, and middle ground. Characters will move back and forth between them, attacks will come from all sides, and each stage feels alive things to multiple levels of activity. It’s great to watch as a super tank in the background attempts to blow you up, it’s great to see a spring-loaded hand shove you up against the screen, and it’s fun to welcome that enemy flying in from the background with a well placed attack. The game never forgets to keep this effect going. Bosses can utilize multi-dimensional attacks, there’s a fun mirror level where the background shows you what’s really going on, and so on. Playing this game with the 3D turned off is simply a poor decision.
Like most Nintendo games, Triple Deluxe relies on traditional sound effects and remixed versions of classic songs. Let’s just put it clearly. If you’ve played a Kirby game before, you’re going to get a feeling of deja-vu from the soundtrack. It’s all good stuff, and much of it is quite catchy. The classic sound effects still work, even if they’re more than a bit old. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Classic continues to describe Triple Deluxe in terms of the gameplay. You can use either the stick or the d-pad to move, and you’ve only got two buttons to worry about. You can jump with the A button, and attack with the B button. Of course these actions have special tricks. Kirby can fly by tapping the jump button repeatedly. While he’s not that fast, his is invaluable for avoiding enemies and not falling down pits. The attack button actually activates Kirby’s trademark inhale ability. Kirby can suck up all kinds of things, such as block and enemies. If Kirby inhales an enemy, he can swallow it to potentially earn a copy ability. If such an ability is earned (only certain enemies give abilities), then Kirby will use the attack button to use that ability. In other words, if you get the sword, you attack with the sword. Abilities can be lost by taking damage, but you can toss them out at will as well. By mixing up various movements, you can utilize different attacks as well. For example, said sword slashes with a normal press, thrusts during a run, and be charged by holding down the button, and more. With about two dozen abilities in the game, this leaves a ton of room for mixing things up.
While classic abilities like sword, fire, and ice return there are some new abilities to talk about as well. Circus Kirby can use various tricks to attack. For example, he can jump through a burning hoop to deal fire damage, perform flips to attack on the ground, and use an inflatable toy as an attack as well. It’s wacky, but cute. Also new are beetle and bell. Beetle can fly faster than normal Kirby, as well as impale enemies on his horn. If you’ve got the bell ability, you can bask opponents senseless with sad bells. The best new ability is the archer. While the arrows aren’t very strong, they can be charged and fired at various angles. Also, Archer Kirby can create cover that protects him damage. That makes him quite strong against even the toughest of foes.
Also new is the Hypernova ability. This isn’t a power you gain from enemies. Instead, you’ll find special fruits in specific parts of certain levels. With this ability, Kirby’s inhaling power is drastically enhanced. He can basically suck up anything, including trees and some boss characters. Levels that utilize this ability are specially designed to accommodate it. Special puzzles where you need to drag objects, boss fights where you have to shoot back projectiles, and others litter these sections. The ability can’t be used outside of these sections though, making it an attraction rather than a new tool in the kit. I will say this though. The game gives you one hell of a cathartic ride towards the end because of this ability.
The levels and bosses here have definitely been taken up a notch. The functionality of the 3DS is on full display here. You can get items that are stored on the touch screen until you need a health boost, there are simple puzzle sections where you need to tilt the system to move objects, and other such things. Various gimmicks and mechanics are introduced as you play, but are spaced evenly and don’t pollute the core experience. Boss fights get quite interesting as well, as said bosses will attack from the background, block out the screen, gain new powers as they take damage. Remixed versions of these bosses gain even more attacks, making for some awesome new battles. These are some of my favorite boss battles in any Kirby game.
The core story is likely to last eight or so hours. The other modes can reasonably be expected to give you that much play time when combined. For replay value, you can collect sun stones and key chains. Sun stones are hidden throughout each level. Finding them unlocks new levels, and you’ll need about half of them per world to fight the boss. The key chains are kind of like the trophies from the SSB series. They have no value in terms of mechanics, are each chain represents a character from Kirby’s past. Each Kirby game is represented by several chains. It’s interesting to see how the hero and his rogue’s gallery has evolved over the years. Each level has a special rare key chain, and you can use player coins to purchase them as well. For those looking to get one-hundred percent completion, this adds several hours to the experience.
It should be noted that, like most Kirby games, Triple Deluxe is a bit on the easy side. If you’re the kind of player that plays platformers for the challenge, you will not find it here. However, these games aren’t supposed to be challenging. They’re light-hearted and fun. If you can sit back and enjoy the ride, you’ll get quite a bit out of this game.
Short Attention Span Summary
Kirby returns in one of his best games to date. The classic Kirby formula with a 3D twist is an absolutely fun experience from top to bottom. There are several modes to entertain you, and the fighting game will likely hold you over until the new Smash Bros. comes out. Triple Deluxe serves as both a homage to the franchise’s storied past, and a testament to the strength of the brand. This is probably the quintessential Kirby game on handhelds, and shouldn’t be missed by anyone with a 3DS.