Going supernova: A review of ‘Kirby Triple Deluxe’

Kirby Triple Deluxe is a game established on a firm foundation of mirth before all else. Everything wiggles, dances or contemplatively naps in time to the over-the-top score. The character models, lovingly animated, are designed to illicit squeals of delight from even the most hardened of individuals. The color palette is excitably bright, dialed up to eleven.

Kirby Triple Deluxe never feels dull, but it’s not all warp stars and plates of flan. The core of Kirby remains intact in Kirby Triple Deluxe. You’re the eponymous Kirby, the little pink marshmallow person, who runs around a variety of fantastical locations inhaling your enemies and stealing their powers. Your mission is to save King Dedede from a sinister flying assailant whose appearance coincides with the wild overgrowth of local flora. Naturally, the assailant takes up residence at the top of a beanstalk, and you’ll need to scale it if you want to rescue the King.

To ascend the beanstalk, you’ll need to collect Moon Stones that are hidden at each level and gate your access to the area boss. You’ll also happen upon keychains, though their role is strictly ornamental. Keychains can be acquired through the Streetpass, but I’ve yet to think up a reason why you would want more of them. You can look at your keychains in a separate menu, and if you wiggle your 3DS they wiggle too, but other than that they exist to round out a completion percentage.

Kirby Triple Deluxe uses the system’s 3D capabilities to the fullest extent. Much of the gameplay in is separated into two planes—foreground and background. The two planes are always interacting with each other. Enemies in the background will throw bombs or shoot arrows into the foreground. False walls in the background will come unhinged and crash into anything in front of them. Key items will drop onto moving walkways in the background, challenging you to reach warp stars and grab them before they tumble into the abyss.

With the release of the 2DS, a recent revision of the 3DS that nixed the 3D in favor of a more kid-friendly design, it was reasonable to assume that Nintendo was admitting defeat on the extra dimensional front. Kirby Triple Deluxe seems to suggest anything but. Nintendo and its closest developers might be the only ones to take full advantage of their handheld’s namesake, but when they do it’s sure to be a visual spectacle.

Kirby Triple Deluxe boasts four new abilities to aid Kirby in his journey: Bell, Archer, Beetle and Circus. The Bell ability uses sound waves to vanquish foes. Luckily, it isn’t nearly as irritating as you might imagine for an ability that’s just hitting a giant bell a whole bunch. The Archer ability specializes in ranged combat and is the most solid, but also least inventive of the abilities. The Beetle ability lets Kirby impale his opponents on an enormous horn. The first time I saw this I couldn’t help but think “Oh no, Kirby, I think you went too far,” but it eventually ended up being my favorite. There’s also the Circus ability, which is so unpredictable I find myself avoiding it at all costs.

While the four new abilities are acquired in the old fashioned Kirby way, consuming and copying your enemies, there is an extra ability that appears only occasionally and in certain areas: Hypernova. Hypernova imbues Kirby with the power to inhale nearly anything in the level. This includes enemies and sections of the stage, as well as a slew of other things impossible to move normally. Hypernova is the real standout ability in Kirby Triple Deluxe, not just because it’s really cool to watch Kirby gobble up whole groups of enemies in a single breath, but also because the Hypernova sections are some of the most playful and experimental parts of the game.

There’s more than just a story mode in Kirby Triple Deluxe. The game also features a Kirby Fighters mode, which in single player pits you against increasingly difficult computer-controlled challengers using any of the abilities in the game. Multiplayer effectively acts as a Super Smash Bros. arena. Multiplayer is a letdown as it’s restricted to local play; online play is not supported. Kibry Triple Deluxe does support Download Play, though. That means that if you’re able to corral three friends with 3DS systems into one room at a time, they can play Kirby Fighters without owning the base game. Regardless, Kirby Fighters has been described as “a poor man’s Smash,” and that’s not too far off. Dedede’s Drum Dash, another mode, is a surprisingly engaging, simple rhythm game.

Kirby Triple Deluxe is pure joy in your pocket. While the game has some minor setbacks, like the somewhat disappointing slew of new abilities, much of those negatives are balanced out by the game’s willingness to get experimental. It’s a game that’s bursting with personality, and it’s perfectly at home on your 3DS.