Oh boy, remember when I was going to go through and review every Kirby game ever made? No? Yeah, that’s probably a good thing. Point is that I like myself some Kirby and played nearly every game starring the pink puff ball, so its only natural that I’d pick up his latest adventure when Best Buy decided that a buy one get one free sale for first party Nintendo 3DS titles was something they’d have stock for.
Kirby Triple Deluxe Review
Developers: Hal Laboratory
I normally do adore Kirby plots. Not for anything that is actually there and in the game, but how it works for a wall to bounce the idea of Kirby effectively being a murderous ball of pink fluff that demolished many a nation with a smile on his face. Triple Deluxe’s hardly offers much ammo for that idea though, as Kirby is simply called forth by a group of flower people under the control of a big bad, as told by a storyline explained at the very end, which is just an odd way to handle it if you ask me. Sure, you are given an explanation that King Dedede is kidnapped by some six handed wizard who takes him up a magical beanstalk that stops nearby skybound worlds, but it feels very much canned and like an afterthought, which is rather fitting for the rest of the game.
Kirby Triple Deluxe is a standard Kirby game. Kirby uses his vacuum mouth to devour those whose homes he is dealing, steals their abilities, and goes forth on a mostly linear streak of slowly paced destruction. My mentioning of slow as one of my first descriptors of the game surely is not a good sign already, and it is very much the best way I have of describing the game without delving into other Kirby games for comparisons. However, both Kirby 64 and Kirby’s Dreamland 3 do come to mind when looking at Triple Deluxe, as they all have a very slow pace to them that I believe may be used to emphasize a guise of cuteness and establish a calm feeling throughout. It’s not like that is inherently bad, as long as there is something interesting or a sort of gimmick that makes the game stand out amongst its peers, such as the copy ability combination or the animal friends in the aforementioned titles. Unfortunately, Triple Deluxe lacks such an easy to pinpoint aspect, and instead chooses to utilize a few lesser gimmicks as opposed to one strong one.
Firstly is the Hypernova ability Kirby may obtain in certain levels, which bestows the pink ball of puffiness a rainbow color and enhanced suction capabilities, with the level shifting around him as he continues his trek, although I would claim it is at an even slower pace. Despite how the Hypernova ability is likely suppose to invoke a sense of empowerment as Kirby can now inhale several large and small enemies at once. While the scenarios in which the ability is intended to be used come across as incredibly rudimentary and simplistic, as the answer is more or less the same every time, inhale X when Y appears and possibly exhale when Z happens. Beyond that, there are several sections in the game where the action must be ceased for the player to tilt their portable gaming device off to the side, as such a feature is a slept upon joy. While the shifting between and interacting with different 2D planes in this 3D environment would be a rather novel concept, aside from how it does little unique with a concept that has been toyed with since at least 1997 with Klonoa.
Speaking of the level design allows me to maintain the tone I’ve been using thus far, as it is nothing all that special, and often very easy to deconstruct from a player’s perspective, to the point where the design documentation is all but visible while playing. This is not inherently bad, but when that happens before and above one’s appreciation, I feel as if something is not quite right with how the game is constructed. This is made more apparent by how the game opts to include a string of 100 collectibles scattered through its forty or so stages, encouraging the player to look at the level very carefully, when most of them are in plain sight. However, the odd few combined with my personal lack of a desire to revisit any particular stage in the game, made me dig through the stages and proceed through them even slower than I would have if I were able to ignore them, especially when one considers how I cannot even recall the reward I received for collecting them all aside from a Keychain.
In a move that I can only fathom to be included to boost the sense of value one would receive from a game that contains a boss rush, second campaign, rhythm side game, and multiplayer mode, sprites from Kirby games of old are littered throughout the stages of Triple Deluxe, serving as another collectible. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any real point in collecting them, other than how one can view 3D models of 2D images placed on a series of grey cubes with a sticker on its back, making their inclusion only make me recall other Kirby games I have and could play rather the one I currently was.
Not that I mean to undermine the work and effort that clearly went into the game’s construction, as a simple glance at the game shows that very clearly. While not breaking new ground in terms of art style as the string of themed levels very clearly present their cliche, Kirby Triple Deluxe is the best looking 3DS game I’ve seen. I suppose I could highlight the system’s resolution as a negative while imagining how delightful a crisp 1080p video of the gameplay would be, but the game’s clean 3D models, fluid animation, and malleable color pallette make the game one that I’d likely call a visual delight regardless of its sub 480p image quality, as it looks good regardless. It very accurately captures the look the series has held and executes it wonderfully.
Kirby Triple Deluxe is another Kirby game, one that fits the mold and provides what is expected from the more traditional takes on the pink ball of puff, but aside from a few extras, is a very bland vanilla version of that. It’s slow, its gimmicks are transparent, and collecting things is more annoying than it is enjoyable due to the way they are littered about its acceptable sized world. Nothing about it very much strikes me as poor as there are certainly moments, namely during certain boss battles, where extra effort and creativity can be seen, but they are often visual ontop of that, which is where the game deserves the most accolades, and is possibly the only place at that. Unfortunately that does not mean much when I’d only recommend the title if one desires a handheld game to play before going to bed. Although, I didn’t touch the side content, so perhaps I missed out on what truly made the game worthwhile, yet I highly doubt it.
By no means something that must be played, but not entirely worth pushing aside forever. The title is ultimately above average and keeps the good balanced with the bad by a noticeable enough margin to still be worth picking up.