"Triple Deluxe, completely blew me out of the water – it is hands down one of the best traditional Kirby games to date."
Back in the good ol' days of Nintendo, you could easily count on several Kirby titles per console. The formula is, of course, quite simple: take flying pink puffball, hoards of enemies that you can copy their powers, throw in a few recurring bosses and you're golden! These days, it seems like Kirby is mostly forgotten about, lucky to get a single unique release per console. The upswing of this, however, is that HAL Laboratory knows they're expected to put out their very best product with each release, and they do well not to disappoint. The newest Kirby, Triple Deluxe, completely blew me out of the water – it is hands down one of the best traditional Kirby games to date.
Triple Deluxe brings 25 Copy Abilities to the game, plus one extra – the Hypernova ability, which functions as a plot-power much like in the Wii's Return to Dreamland. In addition to the many returning favorites (including Wheel, which we haven't seen in quite some time!), there are a few new abilities in Kirby's arsenal this go-round: Archer, which can cut ropes and do some really powerful charged damage; Beetle, which functions as a combination of the old Suplex ability as well as Sword, and is one of only a few powers to alter your flight; Bell, which can be used underwater and does some neat sound-themed damage; and Circus, which lets you do a wide variety of moves all in one. All other powers remain as they were in Return to Dreamland. The Hypernova ability, as mentioned earlier, turns Kirby into a very trippy black hole, and allows the player to solve puzzles by dragging things around, or eating multiple huge enemies at once.
"As has been the tradition for Kirby games for the last few main series titles, beating the game unlocks a New Game+ mode that allows you to run back through and play as one of Kirby's enemies"
Game length-wise, it's about on par with Return to Dreamland, if maybe a little evocative of New Super Mario Bros – every level has three hidden gems to collect, which will both unlock the boss of that world but also hidden levels. As is standard with Kirby games, the gameplay isn't terribly challenging for most of the game – though you can definitely feel the difficulty curve begin to ramp up about halfway through the game. As has been the tradition for Kirby games for the last few main series titles, beating the game unlocks a New Game+ mode that allows you to run back through and play as one of Kirby's enemies – though I won't spoil which. There is also a keychain collecting task to the game, where one can find little keychains which are sprites from all throughout Kirby's history hidden around the game maps, and purchasable for 3 3DS Play Coins each – which if you're like me, and drag your 3DS with you to conventions, means you'll have a nice healthy stock of those to blow to help you finish that collection sooner.
Besides the main gameplay, there are four minigames – Kirby Fighters, which is essentially a Kirby-only Super Smash Bros game (one which I would not be surprised to see levels pulled from for the handheld port of the newest one of those due out later this year), a rhythm game in which you control King Dedede as you jump on giant timpani to the beat of the music, and just like in Return to Dreamland, a challenge mode for each of the copy abilities, and finally the old favorite – The Arena and True Arena, for all your boss rush needs.
"This game is as much its own beast as it is an homage to everything that has been fantastic about Kirby for the last twenty-odd years."
Graphically, the game is fantastic. It's easily on par with Return to Dreamland, and the 3D implementation is great. The super composer duo of Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando have outdone themselves and have done the most amazing work with an orchestral soundtrack – the new tracks are all amazing, and the new takes on old classics feel fresh. Often, there will be both an old-style and new-style version of a track in the game, and hearing them next to each other creates for some really great feelings, musically speaking. This game is as much its own beast as it is an homage to everything that has been fantastic about Kirby for the last twenty-odd years. The level design is on point, the pacing is perfect, the music and graphics are just what you'd want them to be. Nostalgia may prevent me from granting this game the title of the “One True Kirby Game,” but I can very easily recommend this both to veterans of the franchise as well as newcomers alike. It is a must have for the 3DS library, period.
Review by: Adam Seats | Reviewed on: Nintendo 3DS