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A game that had potential but played it safe

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    Kirby Star Allies

    Rating: 3.5 – Good

    A game that had potential but played it safe

    Kirby Star Allies is the first Kirby game on the Switch and I personally like Kirby. Maybe not on par with Mario but still fine enough. Let’s look at Kirby Star Allies

    Story: 3/5

    Like your typical platformer, the plot is basic. Kirby fell asleep and while the dreamland folks are minding their own business, a dark cloud approaches and causes chaos all over dreamland and its up to kirby to save Dreamland once and for all.

    While the plot doesn’t have much of cutscenes or anything to drive you into the story, atleast the one good thing about it is that the villains have some amount of depth which is decent atbest.

    The flaws here were atleast have some interesting cutscenes for every time you open a new level which is sad because this game’s plot is almost bland at best. Earlier Kirby games atleast had interesting openings and brief story cutscenes that made you immersed into the plot. But here…you don’t see any of this. Even Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot had moments of depth in their respective plots.

    Graphics: 4/5

    Of all the Kirby games that I have played, this one really looks impressive and its on par with that of Kirby’s epic yarn. For the first time in a Kirby game, the hub world is in a 3-D environment meaning that this is the closest Kirby has been on 3-D and these environments are gorgeous to look at. The details are vibrant and even the characters are more detailed compared to previous games. The only downside that I can think of is that the backgrounds are slightly blurred and the shadow effects can be slightly jarring to say the least.

    Audio: 4/5

    Similar to Graphics, the audio is superb not only bringing in new songs but also remixes of previous entries as well. They also manage to make the quality of the music as catchy as possible like how Kirby games always sound like. The only downside is that there are some songs that are just ripped right out of previous games that are not remixed.

    Gameplay: 3/5

    The game almost follows the same formula that was played in Kirby Triple Deluxe and Kirby Planet Robobot. You start with Kirby and the goal of each level is to reach the goal door. To obtain power ups, Kirby must swallow enemies that have abilities so that he can copy the enemy’s ability. So for example, if Kirby swallows a fire based enemy, he can obtain the fire ability. However, Kirby can get rid of the ability and switch over to a new one whenever the player wants if the player finds an enemy with a different ability and so on.

    Some levels have bosses that must be defeated to complete the level and the amount of bosses are surprisingly larger compared to previous entries. However, defeating bosses is slightly harder due to having more than one player making most of the boss fights chaotic at times.

    The new thing here is getting allies. Kirby can throw hearts at enemies to make them as Kirby’s allies. In the case of single player, the allies act as CPU players while multiplayer one player controls Kirby while the others control whoever Kirby throws hearts at. This is important because the levels are designed with teamwork in mind as well as getting specific abilities. There are parts where two are required to open a door while others are required to solve specific puzzle based rooms. Kirby can only ally with three of the enemies and if the player wants a different ally, the player has to get rid of one of the current allies. There are also friend combinations that give additional effects such as Kirby throwing a friend to destroy blocks or getting a fire sword from an ally. In some cases, the player goes to areas that make use of all the three allies and they are required for these sections to be completed.

    While if Kirby dies if he loses all of his health, the allies can be revived if their health is lost but they will die if they either fall, get crushed or are left too long dying.

    Each level has some amounts of puzzle pieces that connect a picture. One large puzzle piece is hidden somewhere in each level and getting that gives two or one puzzle piece. While not required to 100% the game, getting these pieces shows a completed picture that illustrates a bit of Kirby’s history. Other types of collectables are stars that grant you extra lives when getting 100 of them or food that restores your health. Some levels have switches that unlock dream palaces where Kirby can get dream friends who perform differently compared to normal allies or can unlock extra levels.

    This is the basic summary of how the main game is played so what are the flaws? As the tile of the review states, the game plays very safe for several reasons.

    The first is the allies mechanic. Many of the levels are designed with the allies in mind and while this doesn’t necessarily affect the single player experience, it largely affects the level design as a whole and parts of the levels require you to get more than one ally otherwise the levels cannot be completed even in solo. The puzzles are very simple and basic that the solutions are often given to you straight away with no clever twists or any areas that are well hidden. Not to mention that the game itself is much easier when getting allies in a game that is easy enough as it should be as they often tend to do the fighting more often than you.

    While this issue is more of a personal one, some of the abilities that have been common in Kirby games are removed in this one for no reason. These include Wheel, Spark, Archer and Spark.

    The third issue which is the main problem this game has unlike other Kirby games is the serious lack of content. While beating the single player campaign unlocks two additional modes, it still isn’t saying much because the overall completion of the game can be done in less than 6 hours meaning that the game is extremely short. And the additional modes are not saying much as they are the same modes that have been played from Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot namely the time attack mode and boss rush. You do get two minigames where one is about cutting wood as fast as possible and the other one is shooting an asteroid at the farthest distance. Besides this, there isn’t much to do unless grinding for the puzzle pieces to complete pictures is fun for you.

    And the final problem is that the game follows the same formula that triple deluxe has. There is not much room of innovation in this game as there is nothing significantly different to say about the game besides the allies. This could have been the game to make a change but instead just reinvents the wheel of the previous two games.

    Overall: 3.5/5

    In the end however, what is delivered here is a good game at best. While a platform gamer may not find it worthy of a try, it certainly does enough to appeal to fans of the Kirby series. Hopefully the next game improves on the flaws of this game and does it better.

    Rating:   3.5 – Good

    Product Release: Kirby Star Allies (EU, 03/16/18)

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