Real Talk By: Zombie Zac
Kirby has been at it for over 25 years now and the pink puff’s latest is a lot of fun on Switch. Up to four players can roam the 40 stages, combining abilities, working together to solve puzzles, collecting hidden puzzle pieces and defeating bosses. While fully rendered in 3D, Kirby: Star Allies adheres strictly to the tried-and-true 2D plat-former gameplay that Nintendo excels at. Developed by Hal Laboratories, the combat and movement has a distinctly ‘Smash Bros.’ feel, with familiar dodges, blocks, and easy (yet satisfying) combos. Many games in the series have tried to reinvent the wheel (Kirby has been made out yarn, even been a stylus-only game) but this is a much more grounded, standard Kirby experience.
The story is almost non-existent, but it provides enough context to give the gameplay progression some meaning. A dark crystalline heart explodes on planet Jambastion and sends fragments out into the universe possessing those they come in contact with. Kirby gains the ability to befriend enemies instead of being possessed, which is accomplished by throwing a heart at something and then smiling a lot. Besides recruiting a squad, Kirby can still suck up enemies and swallow them to inherit their abilities. Elemental buffs have been added, making it fun to experiment and also necessary to solve some of the level’s more tricky puzzles. For the record, ‘tricky’ is about as hard as Kirby: Star Allies gets– if you’re coming into this expecting some old-school challenge, you’ll be disappointed.
The reason to play Kirby: Star Allies is the joy of the audio-visual design, the effortless controls and infectious positive attitude. It’s the game you throw on when you’re not looking to play something competitive, or when you get home from a long day at work and want to unwind. Obviously the more people you can get to play this with the better, but it’s perfectly acceptable as a single player game and the computer A.I. is actually very adept and helpful. There’s a good mix of level variation, all of them existing well within the expected variety of grassy levels, water levels, snow levels, lava levels and industrial levels. The final boss, without giving anything away, is one of the best boss battles I have ever seen in a game– it’s so unbelievably good, really. After you beat the main story speed run and boss rush modes unlock, which is a nice concession to the ‘gamer’ crowd.
But this would be such a great addition to your Switch library if you have a family, and pulling the joy cons apart to have instant drop-in drop-out two player works great on the TV and on the smaller tablet display. Kirby: Star Allies doesn’t require much precision, and extra lives are a-plenty, so it won’t matter if your crew is easily distracted or bad at the game. Much like Kirby’s ability to transform, Nintendo over the years has transformed Kirby games into wildly different journeys. The common denominator is always the fun, chill vibe the games have and now that can be shared with your friends and family. Sure I wish it was longer, and yes it would be nice to adjust difficulty but overall— especially if you spend some time playing cooperatively— Kirby: Star Allies is another win for Nintendo Switch.
Kirby: Star Allies Gets
4 out of 5
+Fun for all
+Additional modes to unlock
-Kirby has been more imaginative before