Still not sure what exactly is “Deluxe” about it.
Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a strange game. It feels as though it was scientifically distilled in a vat somewhere. It’s almost entirely inorganic and it ultimately left a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth.
Obviously, it’s a video game, and of course they’re all created in a studio somewhere so yeah, it’s just as “inorganic” as any other game. I think it’s more about taking risks and having interesting designs, and this game seems to be a one safe bet after another. It uses all of the formula’s that have worked in the past, and takes painstaking efforts to recreate them rather than make something new.
This is essentially the same Kirby we got on the Wii a few years back in Return to Dreamland. I would argue in favor of Return as a type of Kirby game that was trying to come back around to it’s roots, and it did so fairly well with some interesting multi-player options. This game is almost identical, without the interesting multi-player. Sure, the flimsy scraps of story are different, and yeah the worlds look much more interesting than they did in Return to Dreamland, but if you’ve played one you know exactly what you’re getting for the other.
Take for example the powers. We’ve seen Kirby copy abilities, put on cute hats, and interact with the environments a dozen times before. There’s only four new powers but even those don’t feel like anything different than we’ve had in the past. Archer existed in a different form in previous games, Beetle is essentially Suplex with a primary attack, and Circus is unique but functionally useless.
Then there’s the introduction of the Hypernova ability, which is arguably the game’s number one bullet point. To be blunt: it shouldn’t be. It’s a neat enough gimmick the first couple times, but after a while it becomes more tedious to see and use. All it does is kick Kirby’s trademark inhalation ability into overdrive, allowing him to suck up everything on screen. Occasionally there’s a puzzle or two to be solved with it, but honestly these are just long, treading, exhausting sequences that make me never want to revisit a good portion of the game’s levels.
And there is a good reason to revisit stages, at least in the eyes of this compulsive collector: keychains. Each level has collectible keychains scattered throughout it, some rarer than others, that are each an image from previous Kirby games. Honestly I’d love to have most of these in real life, but seeing them on the 3DS comes in a close second. You can also collect them via Street-Pass and Play Coins, and there’s a whole heck of a lot to unearth.
I will say that some of the boss and level designs take time out of their day to make a strong argument for functionality in the world of stereoscopic three-dimensional gameplay. Even for a game that plays entirely on a series of overlaid two-dimensional plans, there’s a lot of action that happens between the foreground and background and it looks great. It’s unfortunate that most of these events are reserved for boss fights, and that even then they’re few and far between.
As for side modes, there’s your usual smattering. An unnecessary rhythm game, a boss rush mode, a somewhat enjoyable “Kirby Fighters” mode that might replace Smash Bros. for all of one evening. Upon beating the game you do get to replay most of it as King DeDeDe which I actually found to be more fun than a large portion of the main game, if by no other virtue than by removing the Hypernova sequences.
If I sound bitter about Kirby: Triple Deluxe it’s probably because I’m a longtime fan of the franchise, and this game is perhaps the least unique of them. I wanted something a little sharper and more clever like I receied with the likes of Epic Yarn, and Mass Attack. In the end it’s a fun little game, though. If you really like Kirby I’d recommend giving it a go, but if you don’t, it’ll by no means be an exception to your general feelings.