Review

Kirby Triple Deluxe

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Kirby Triple Deluxe is the first classic-style Kirby game since Kirby’s Adventure Wii, and the first handheld traditional Kirby since the remake of Super Star Saga on the DS in 2008. It doesn’t step out of the mould, but Hal Laboratories and Nintendo have managed to innovate within the classic-Kirby structure to create something fresh and familiar at the same time.

What You Need to Know

You might be wondering what I mean by classic-style Kirby. Well, Kirby, like Donkey Kong, so often stars in experimental games that one needs to differentiate between those and ‘true’ Kirby games, which I refer to as classic-style, or traditional.

Note that this not a reference to quality – my favourite Kirby experience remains the experimental Kirby Power Paintbrush (Canvas Curse in the Americas), and classic gameplay can mean uninspired retreading of old ground.

Fortunately Triple Deluxe does not feel like a retread despite its classic Kirby style.

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What’s New?

The main new mechanic in Kirby Triple Deluxe is the Hypernova ability that Kirby gains when he eats a Miracle Fruit. In his rainbow-coloured form he can suck up things much bigger than himself, like trees, giant serpents and even tanks, but he can’t absorb their abilities. It’s a mechanic used to great effect through the game, and I consistently enjoyed watching things get dismantled as they entered the vortex of Hypernova Kirby’s ultimate suck.

Also used effectively are levels of depth. Triple Deluxe remains unabashedly 2D in mechanics, but stages do have areas where there are paths at various depths, and enemies that move between them. Kirby can switch to the background (or back to the foreground) by using a special warp star (if one is available). A number of times this is used cleverly to create new gameplay and along with Hypernova is the defining feature of this Kirby game.

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What’s the Same?

Kirby controls as he does in most classic-style Kirby games: ‘A’ to jump (and to float up), ‘B’ to suck (or use his current ability), double tap left or right to run. Kirby’s copy ability is the same as always, although there is a huge variety of abilities he can copy, some of which I had not seen before in other Kirby games. With all the copy abilities and their special attacks Kirby might be the most versatile character in videogaming.

The difficulty level is low, as is normal in Kirby games – they remain an experience to be had and not a challenge to master. There are puzzles to solve if you want to find all the Sun Stones and, of course, there extras other than the main story.

This time there are only two extras but they are quite big ones (and I think the reason for the title): Kirby Fighters, a Super Smash Bros style fighting game starring only Kirby in his many guises, and Dedede’s Drum Dash, a rhythm game starring Dedede. I enjoyed both for a change from the main adventure and for increasing that all-important percent complete stat.

You’ll Enjoy Kirby Triple Deluxe If You Liked…

… other traditional Kirby games such as Kirby Mouse Attack (Squeak Squad in the Americas), Kirby Super Star Ultra or Kirby’s Adventure Wii (Kirby’s Return to Dreamland in the Americas) – Triple Deluxe is similar but different enough to be enjoyed by fans of those games,

… light 2D platform games like Gunman Clive, Super Little Acorns or Kung-fu Rabbit. Kirby is not as technical as those, but involves more exploring. If you like platforming mechanics with some action and puzzle-solving then Kirby is a good choice.

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What I Liked

- 5.) Collecting key rings and sun stones – exploring every nook and cranny of the levels and using the right ability at the right time rewards you with collectibles. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds as Triple Deluxe is not a huge game so exploring all of it is doable.

- 4.) Creative world designs – worlds like Old Odyssey, Wild World and Endless Explosions don’t fit usual platforming world tropes, and there is a lot of variety even between levels within those worlds. The bright and colourful art style complements the level design.

- 3.) Kirby Fighters and Dedede’s Drum Dash are great extras with lots of depth and quality to them.

- 2.) Great boss fights – they have lots of character, lots of different moves and are superbly animated, so the bosses are fun just to watch, let alone fight. None of them are difficult, but they are rewarding nevertheless.

- 1.) Good balance between action, puzzles and platforming – the three combined create a unique experience that grows on you as you play further. Great use of the foreground and background in these puzzles and platforming sequences.

Favourite Moment

In Hypernova, Kirby can suck up just about anything, but this isn’t a case of things simply disappearing into him – each big thing he sucks up is dismantled in the process. On one occasion he swallows a tank, which comes apart piece by piece as he persistently sucks. This made me laugh in surprise at the event and the quality of the animation.

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What I Didn’t Like

- 3.) Boss gauntlet – as mentioned the boss fights are awesome, but they are repeated near the end of the story without any changes, which felt a little like padding when so much of the game felt fresh.

- 2.) I wish Kirby had some sort of ‘down dash’ for getting out of the air quickly. I feel like some of the reason he has so much health is because he can be a little cumbersome to manoeuvre in the air.

- 1.) Slow ramp-up – I accept Kirby games are not made to be a challenge, but the first few worlds move slowly because they are a little too easy. Fortunately I was more engaged from the third world on as the puzzles got more interesting.

Least Favourite Moment

That moment in the ‘Goal Game’ (the mini-game at the end of a level) when you get nothing in the way of rewards because you were too ambitious and overshot the mark.


Kirby Triple Deluxe Review – Launch Trailer


What’s Extra?

You can collect Kirby key chains in -game and swap with others via StreetPass to complete your collection, and as you collect Sun Stones in levels you can unlock more levels to play, too. You can also play through the main story again as another character once you have completed it.

Kirby Fighters is a particularly meaty extra as it has multiple difficulty levels and you can play through it with each copy ability.

The Bottom Line

Traditional Kirby done right, with extras, collectibles and solid gameplay and design.


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