Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kirby: Triple Deluxe (3DS) Review

Received: May 10th, 2014 / Written: November 27th-30th, 2014
Image from Wikipedia
Year: 2014 | Developed by: HAL Laboratory | Published by: Nintendo
 
Hello everyone, StarBoy91 here; passionate about video games, big retrophile, and fan of all things 16-bit.  Through the course of Kirby's two-plus decades of games he has largely starred in either 2D platformers and spin-offs, even having contributed in some crossovers.  The exceptions are his few 3D games, which range from
What is up with King Dedede's bill?  He looks like Donald Duck with blue skin!
Image from Wikipedia
heavily polarizing mess,
Image from Wikipedia
very fun with company and in short bursts,
Image from www.techandgames.com
and the best the series has to offer.
 
When I first heard back in 2013 that the Nintendo 3DS was going to have its own 2.5D Kirby platformer made in the same vein as the Nintendo Wii's Kirby's Return to Dream Land to be released in 2014 (this year), I was super excited being the Kirby fan that I am, and the fact that it was going to implement the 3D feature was rather intriguing (the first in the series for a handheld).  =)  So obviously I couldn't wait until it would be released overseas.  It came at a good time too, because shortly prior to playing I had felt a bit down (depressed even--not completely, but partially); I do not wish to disclose what caused that.  Another part, which did not help matters at all, was that I had played three different video games in the two months that led up to it that really depressed me and did not leave a good impression on me.  =(
 
But that would be shortlived, for in May 2014 I graduated from college, and one of the graduation gifts that I got was Kirby: Triple Deluxe.  And let me tell you, it really helped wash away the deep sadness that Xandra no Daibōken: Valkyrie to no Deai, Yoshi's New Island, and Mega Man VII had left me beforehand.  =)  Unlike Yoshi's dismal offering this year, Kirby's brand new adventure was so much enjoyable and one that I just couldn't put down until the very end.  One of the best graduation gifts ever!  =D

In Planet Pop Star the inhabitants of Dream Land were doing really well, even their puffball hero Kirby.  It was like any day for him as he was having a nice day doing plenty of things.
Then that night while he was sleeping in his home sprouts suddenly came about, being part of a magical beanstalk which spontaneously grew from the ground up, sending him high up in the heavens.  But that's not the only thing that got caught in the sprouts,...
for the gluttonous tyrant monarch King Dedede's castle has also been lifted up.
As Kirby goes to investigate he notices a bug-like creature called Taranza waltz in.  As she approaches closer to the throne the Spear Waddle Dee guards try to stop her, only for her to end up dispersing King Dedede's whole army.
With her magic she manages to incapacitate the penguin king and steal him away, escaping higher above than before.  Kirby takes pursuit, and will climb as high up as possible in order to get to the bottom of the beanstalk mystery and to retrieve King Dedede back... even though based on his previous bad deeds he doesn't really deserve it.  It's up to Kirby now to save the day yet again!  =D

The gameplay is really responsive and versatile, which is one of its highest points.  Kirby can jump, run, duck, slide, go down thin platforms, float indefinitely in the air, and he's got the ability to inhale enemies.  Should he swallow an enemy that has got a particular power-up, then Kirby will be using said power-up (beam, fire, ice, boomerang, et al...)--each of which has got different amounts of usage.  If you no longer wish to have the ability that you have presently you can always discard it, turning it into a star.  Another skill that Kirby has retained is his ability to shield himself via the shoulder buttons like he previously had in Kirby Super Star (as well as its Nintendo DS remake Kirby Super Star Ultra) and Kirby's Return to Dream Land, which is always a welcome feature in my opinion.  =)

So the controls are really great, and while they are exactly that, I do have a bit of a nitpick (not a major one, mind you) with this: the fact that jumping has been assigned to A while inhaling and ability using has been assigned to B.  Considering that there are four buttons on the right side of the handheld, you would think that they would instead assign jumping to B and any action to Y instead (which is usually the norm for four-button games).  I mean c'mon, this was also the case in Kirby Squeak Squad and Kirby Super Star Ultra on the Nintendo DS (which also had four buttons)!  But as I said, it's not a huge problem; and I can understand why HAL Laboratory would set up the buttons like these; as with the Y button you can consume the small bit of fruit that works as reserve health and with the X button you can discard your ability (if you don't feel like accessing either option in the button screen with a stylus).

Several of the power-ups from the past games make a reappearance, such as fire and spear, and some of the power-ups introduced in Kirby: Triple Deluxe aren't too shabby.  One of them is the Archer power-up which has Kirby shoot an unlimited array of arrows towards foes showing skills like Legolas and Katniss Everdeen.  Another is the Beetle ability which gives Kirby a set of beetle wings and can charge with the long beetle-like nose which can stick through enemies.  =)  From time to time Bandana Waddle Dee appears in the sidelines and throws a fruit star to Kirby, and by using it (whether it be a bottle or cake or ice cream) Kirby will be replenishing a bit of lost health.  It's optional but it's there if you need it.

Also from time to time Kirby will come across a large hyper nova fruit pop out from a tree which when consumed will transform Kirby into Hyper Nova Kirby; and when that happens he will be swallowing many things all at once in his way.  It's pretty awesome when seen in motion, and he's practically unstoppable at that point (unless you get hit).  =D  And the best part is that it lasts until you reach the goal (so enjoy it while it lasts).  Along the way Kirby must gather Sun Stones and will be collecting various keychains in his adventure.  So yeah, controls are exceptionally good.  =)

Once again Jun Ishikawa and Hirokazu Ando contribute their trademark music style for this game; it is well-composed and seamlessly blends in to the appropriate atmosphere.  The intro theme sounds absolutely intriguing and calm at the same time, and the best part is that no sound effects obstruct it when it plays (which makes it even better in my opinion).  There is a supercharged theme that sticks around any time Kirby becomes Hyper Nova, and one of the last times it's used it sounds epic.  Yay, electric guitar riffs!  =D  A lot of the themes originally made for this game are fun to listen to; like "Old Odyssey 1", "Old Odyssey 3""Grassland", and "Lollipop Land".  The boss themes are good, and the final boss' theme starts out slow until it segues into something supercharged and hectic; it makes for dark foreboding music, and it works.  =)

Thrown into the mix are also plenty of songs that were remixed from previous games, such as Coo's and Kine's themes from Kirby's Dream Land 2, the "Gourmet Race" and "Peanut Plain" themes from Kirby Super Star, and even Kirby's theme from the original Kirby's Dream Land, to name a select few; and they're absolutely fantastic.  Great stuff!  A few songs were even lifted directly from a couple previous games, namely Kirby's Return to Dream Land.  Normally I worry about the sound quality when it comes to converting that exact music from powerful consoles to handhelds, and I'm relieved that they weren't at all tarnished in the transition.  =)  One song I'm surprised was even lifted was this from another title.  Of all the themes from Kirby's only 64-bit excursion I'm surprised HAL didn't go with this underrated theme.  Still, the music found in Kirby: Triple Deluxe is awesome, and that's all that matters.  =)

Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a 2.5D platformer in the same vein as Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and the visuals are so colorful and pleasing to the eyes.  Many of the locations have got their own look and charm to them, such as Old Odyssey and Lollipop Land.  The animations the characters and enemies display are super fluid, and any time Kirby turns Hyper Nova he becomes a living rainbow.  =)  The FMV sequences are nice to watch as well, and their quality is a lot more sharper than the 3D FMV sequences that were shown in Kirby Super Star Ultra.  There's a lot of vibrancy and versatility to the visuals that they really work.

Another thing that works is the 3D.  Any time you see it in motion it really pops out at you, in particular the hand springs that shoot straight toward the screen (or even Kirby being shoved to said screen if you don't get out of its way on time).  Some of the stages utilize this as a way of adding depth between foreground and background, and some bosses have attacks that reach the screen.  The 3D is effective all around and is well-executed.
 
Kirby looks great as always, even better.  He's a lot more pink this time around, and some of the hats he dons when using specific abilities are cute; a bell hat for a bell ability, a Link-like hat for the sword ability, as well as electric headwear for the spark ability.  The bosses have got great design; Kracko has got a nice blue eye, and seeing him in motion is fun to watch.  King Dedede seems to have experienced a slight design update (as far as I noticed).  The final boss and her many forms look especially good, and any time Kirby obtains the Sun Stone that the world's final boss leaves behind he grabs it paying homage to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  It's also exciting to see what other worlds await you as the beanstalk keeps growing and growing high and high to the sky.  =)

Like many of the Kirby games the difficulty is easy but not without its own sets of challenges.  Some regular blocks can be done away in any fashion, while others will require a special power-up in order to do away with them.  If there are icy blocks in your path then all you need is anything fire-related to destroy them.  When it comes to ropes they can only be cut with sharp weapons, which is necessary to either retrieve some items or to drop the platform it was holding down.  In plenty of stages there are locked doors that can only opened with a key, which Kirby must carry without getting hit.  Sometimes keys are laid out in the open, sometimes they're hiding, and other times it's a race against the clock to take them from enemies before it's gone for good.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe finds a clever way to use the tilting sensor of the handheld when the moment calls for it.  When Kirby is inside a barrel or if a large sphere with a straight lines needs to be rotated, then you must tilt the Nintendo 3DS left or right (carefully).  I have to say, they're better implemented here than they ever were in Yoshi's New Island.  Part of the challenge when it comes collecting and navigating is the 3D itself.  For the first time in the series Kirby can either transition from the foreground to the background or vice versa, which is actually necessary to make progression.  Because of this there is a lot of depth to these areas.  You never know if a secret path can be entered through the background unless you take notice, or if a secret item can be gathered after getting yourself below the lowest platform.
 
In each world's stages there are a few Sun Stones gathered around, and if you collect a certain amount than the boss door will open; but by collecting all the immediate ones in said world a secret stage will pop up and be able to be accessed.  Some Sun Stones are found out in the open, some are kept inside treasure chests, while the rest can be gotten through certain circumstances.  The same applies to the keychains; HAL Laboratory did a good job hiding many of these items.  Some can even be found in inconspicuous entryways.  =)
 
Speaking of keychains, they are memorabilia of the 2D platformers of the Kirby series, with characters and enemies from all the different games that he's been in.  The last four that are collected are 8-bit renditions of the final bosses of Kirby's Epic Yarn, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and Kirby: Triple Deluxe; and they don't look too shabby.  =)  Looking at all these, even by comparison, it blows my mind just how far Kirby has come since his 1992 debut.  Even better, you can swing and dangle them by tilting the Nintendo 3DS.  In the past I expressed that it would be nice if any of the animal characters from Kirby's Dream Land 3 would once again reappear in the series.  Guess who HAL decided fit the bill just perfectly?
Chu-Chu!  Of all the characters you picked just her?  0_O  And as a Chu-Chu/Broom combo ability, no less?  When have you ever really required to use that combo in Kirby's Dream Land 3??  Oh, well, at least she's appeared in more than just two games in the series (even if it was just a cameo); however what this means is that somewhere out there Nago and Pitch are plotting vengeance.  =|
 
There are a few mini-games that you can play in Kirby: Triple Deluxe if you feel like taking a break from the main adventure.  The first of which is Kirby Fighters.
In this mini-game Kirby must go through eight stages and battle each Kirby in it; each with a different power-up.  It's nice to play once in awhile, and to offer replay value there are various difficulty settings.  Basically the Kirby-only equivalent to Super Smash Bros., it is a nice way to spend a few minutes, and good way to tide you over until the release of the next Super Smash Bros. ti--
Both Image Covers from Wikipedia
I haven't played either game yet.  =<
 
Another mini-game is Dedede's Drum Dash, a rhythm/beat-based game where as King Dedede you must jump your way on top of a row drums until you reach your goal, requiring the usage of both top and bottom screen.  It consists of a few difficulty modes, each with a different song.  The moment you press the jump button while on the drum you'll be bouncing higher, but watch out and try not to get hit or fall offscreen.  While in the air for extra points King Dedede can try to clap in the air on that beat.  It can be a bit challenging in the long run but it's fun in short burst.

There are Arena and True Arena modes which are accessible after the game is beaten which enable you to fight all the major bosses of the game.  They're hard but they are both manageable to beat with enough perseverance.  And then there's Dedede Tour! where you can play the role of King Dedede in most of the game.  It's a timed event, and you can only save inbetween stages.

Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a very enjoyable and uplifting platformer that hit the right notes on just about every category.  =)  The visuals are spectacular and colorful, the charm and imagination is neverending, the soundtrack really clicks, and the gameplay is just as intuitive as ever.  The 3D added a lot to each world, and trying to collect every Sun Stone and keychain was really fun (I found most of them n my own; only a few I had to look up).  And for being the first Kirby game available on the Nintendo 3DS, it was really good.  If I had any quips it would be that it was short.  I normally don't make a big deal about a Kirby game being short, but with this one I felt it.  When I played Yoshi's New Island I always waited a bit before continuing, but with Kirby: Triple Deluxe I was hooked and could not put it down.  I beat it in two days and completed it in five.  Kirby: Triple Deluxe is the kind of game that I would want to play over and over.  =)

The 2010s have proven to be a very positive decade for the pink puffball.  From 2010's Kirby's Epic Yarn to 2011's Kirby Mass Attack and Kirby's Return to Dream Land to today's hit from this year, I would say that this is a good four years for him.  =)
Image from Wikipedia
So good in fact that it makes me feel very optimistic for Kirby and the Rainbow Curse coming to the Nintendo Wii U in 2015... even though I'm not a big fan of Kirby Canvas Curse=\   ......  But I'm sure I will enjoy the upcoming sidescroller when it comes out, and quite frankly I look forward to playing it more than I do Good-Feel's Yoshi's Woolly World which is also coming at around the same time for the same console.  =)  Besides, after paint and yarn, Kirby and clay seems like another good match for him.

If you're a Kirby fan I bet you will really enjoy this game, and even if you're not then it is still one finely solid platforming entertainment.  If you can overlook its brevity than it is absolutely great to play while it lasts.  =)  As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best games in the entire series.  It's got feel-good qualities all around.  Bring on the next one!  =D
9.5/10
<(^o^)^TO EACH THEIR OWN^(^o^)>
 
P.S. Save for a couple, I probably didn't get the Nintendo 3DS aspect ratio right.  When I upload screenshots from my camera to my old laptop they get squished a little (which is fine for square-ratio games, but not for everything else).  I have to do what I can.
 
P.S. 2 Between Yoshi's New Island and this game, I can't remember the last time I had such a hard time getting all my thoughts together on a game so quickly.  =(
 
P.S. 3 I hope I did a good job expressing my thoughts on this wonderful gem.
 
P.S. 4 One of Kirby's newest abilities is Circus.  Not sure how the design phase for that went by, but okay.
 
P.S. 5 In order to obtain some shots, I laid down on my back with my video camera on my chest, focusing on the upper screen.  Not very comfortable; there's a reason I only take stills from my TV; it's stationary and not movable like a Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo 3DS are.  Also, quality.
 
P.S. 6 I still didn't play Kirby's 20th anniversary compilation.  I still need to.
Thank you for reading my review, please leave me a comment and I hope you all have a great day.  Take care!  =D
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As if the series wasn't adorable enough, this just takes the cake.  <=)  I mean, d'awww!

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