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'Kirby: Triple Deluxe' makes fun use of 3D and is a treat to look at

'Kirby: Triple Deluxe' Screenshots for the Nintendo 3DS/2DS-slide0
Photo courtesy of Nintendo, used with permission

Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS)

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Kirby: Triple Deluxe” may be the 15th game in the franchise but it represents the first “Kirby” title to land on the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS. HAL Laboratory continues Kirby’s reign as the character so cute you can’t help but love. This latest iteration takes some design cues from “Donkey Kong Country Returns” minus the difficulty and throws in a couple of extra modes to play to boot.

No beans but lots of stalk

In “Kirby: Triple Deluxe”, Kirby has his own “Jack and the Beanstalk”-like adventure as a giant beanstalk grows under Dream Land and carries his house, King Dedede’s castle and various landmarks into the sky. Dedede is kidnapped by the six-armed Tranaza and that leaves Kirby to ascend the beanstalk, defeat the kidnappers and restore Dream Land.

Depth perception

This latest “Kirby” release is a 2.5D platformer and it makes full use of the Nintendo 3DS’ capabilities. Just like “Donkey Kong Country Returns”, levels are split between the foreground and the background and Kirby has the ability to move back and forth with the help of a Warp Star. Some enemies can move back and forth too as well as attack.

Visually, “Triple Deluxe” is already a delight with its bright colors, varied environments and beautiful attention to detail, even when played in 2D. I typically prefer to turn the 3D effect off for Nintendo 3DS games but this is one of the few that I felt compelled to turn the 3D effect all the way on. This was not only because it helps with the gameplay but because it becomes that much more of a visual treat.

Gaming ability

The traditional Kirby gameplay returns with the character able to inhale objects and enemies to either shoot them out or, in the case of enemies, copy their abilities. There are 26 abilities available in the game with most returning from “Kirby Dream Land” for the Wii. However, there are four new abilities for Kirby to copy.

Archer lets Kirby fire arrows in any direction and lets him put up a cardboard tree or boulder cutout to hide from enemies. Beetle gives Kirby a horn to impale enemies. Bell lets Kirby use a pair of bells as melee weapons, a shield or to attack with sound waves. Finally, Circus dresses Kirby up like a clown who can ride a giant rolling ball over enemies, juggle flaming bowling pins and use exploding balloon animals.

Kirby’s most powerful ability yet is also introduced in the form of the Hypernova. Some levels will sprout a small tree in front of Kirby with a Miracle Fruit. Grabbing this fruit will make Kirby’s ability to inhale so powerful that he’ll be able to suck in extremely large objects from trains to trees to boulders. There are actually some fairly clever puzzles built around this powerful mechanic and the visual effect around Kirby and the tornado he sprouts from his mouth is impressive.

The one downer with the abilities is that “Triple Deluxe” does not make use of their uniqueness enough to solve puzzles. You can occasionally use the Fire ability to light a fuse or the Archer to reveal a hidden block, but these are few and far between. It’s a light complaint but using the unique abilities to reveal hidden areas and items more often would have added some additional depth to the game.

Control

“Triple Deluxe” also makes use of the 3DS/2DS gyro controls in some sections of the game. The most common is when a level requires Kirby to hop into a gondola and you have to tilt the handheld to move it along the track. HAL Laboratory smartly put a “Reset Tilt” button on the bottom touchscreen to help center the handheld even when you might change from a sitting to lying down position or vice versa.

“Kirby” games are primarily known for their light gameplay and puzzle mechanics and “Triple Deluxe” is no different. It’s an enjoyable, almost leisurely, but not particularly challenging play-through that will actually sit fine with younger players. However, there is a game-plus type mode where you can play King Dedede that becomes available after defeating the main story.

Extras

In “Dedede Tour!”, you must play through each of six levels from the game as Dedede in one sitting with times for each level recorded. This extra mode is also more difficult than before as enemies and bosses are tougher.

The game comes with two other brand new extra modes – “Kirby Fighters” and “Dedede’s Drum Dash”. “Kirby Fighters” is a bit like “Super Smash Bros.” but only with each of the four fighters all playing as Kirby using one of the different copy abilities from the game in arenas reminiscent of older “Kirby” titles. Traditional health bars are used though instead of the “Super Smash” percentages.

Meanwhile, “Dedede’s Drum Dash” is a bit of a musical rhythm game. Players must bounce King Dedede across drums to collect coins and avoid enemies through the end of the level. Pressing the “A” button when the character hits a drum sends him higher into the air so a bit of timing is needed. It’s a quick, challenging and fun little diversion game but don’t expect any depth.

There’s also a ton of collectibles that come in the form of more than 250 key chains that can be found throughout the level. Each key chain is a virtual representation of various characters and items from previous games in the franchise.

Not just a pink puff

“Kirby: Triple Deluxe” doesn’t forge any new ground for the character or the series. However, familiarity does not breed contempt in this case. Instead, it breeds a joyous experience for the Nintendo 3DS as only Kirby can.

Pros

  • A visually sumptuous game full of eye candy
  • Quick and distracting extra modes
  • Good use of the 3D effect of the Nintendo 3DS

Cons

  • Not particularly challenging on first play-through
  • Needs more use of special abilities to solve puzzles
  • More depth to “Dedede’s Drum Dash” would have been nice

Title: Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 2DS
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo
Price: $34.99
Release Date: May 2, 2014

A review code for the Nintendo 3DS was provided by Nintendo for the purposes of this review.