Kirby’s 20th birthday is soon upon us. There’s promise of an anniversary collection featuring some of Kirby’s greatest games of yesteryear, but what about now?
Hopefully you’ve all played Kirby’s Epic Yarn, one of the best platformers released in the last decade (no, that’s not an opinion, it’s cold, hard fact).
But what about this? A ‘re-imagining’ of Kirby’s first game? Kirby’s Adventure Wii is the latest release in the franchise and the question is, ‘how was it?’
There’s no getting away from the fact that I love me some Kirby. This isn’t unconditional though, it’s a love based on quality platforming that’s full of charm, varied enemies and levels that force you to use Kirby’s huge range of abilities.
Whilst this is technically a re-make of an NES classic, there’s been a whole lot of care and attention that’s gone into Kirby’s Adventure Wii to make it all feel brand new. For those that have played the original, you’ve got plenty to look forward to.
For a start, the graphics have been overhauled, and whilst it’s foolish to truly boast about a Wii game’s graphics in terms of polygons and what-not, it’s clear for everyone to see that the game has some solid presentation. Bright and colourful characters bound around the screen giving your eyes a welcome rest from the browns and grays of the today’s AAA titles. The animation gives Kirby more character than an amorphous pink blob should really have.
Controlling Kirby is pretty joyous. Though I had some issues with getting Kirby running, having to double-tap to get the movement going sometimes felt fiddly and resulted in false-starts of animation. The rest of the controls feel solid, with Kirby being able to float and hoover up enemies and devour their powers with no trouble. The powers themselves are great fun to play about with, if only just to see Kirby play dress-up. Ninja powers allow you to stick wall and throw shurikens, bird wings let you flap about the screen and throw sonic booms. Whilst it’s a stretch to say that the choice of power-ups offer any strategy, you will soon find the powers that you’re happiest with and that are best suited to each level.
The levels themselves never feel difficult mainly thanks to the game’s forgiving placement of health giving tomatoes but are still fun to run through. There’s added incentive to get the player exploring the locations, with stars being dotted about in the nooks and crannies of the levels. Some stars are unfairly hidden behind objects that require specific powers that you may have already thrown out. Without knowing what’s up ahead, it just feels like a cheap way to get you to play the level again but with the acquired knowledge of what’s blocking the secret paths.
The stars mentioned are used to unlock extra features such as a couple of mini-games and trials that test your ability to use a range of abilities. How much time you’ll put into these is truly up to you, as bad as it sounds, without the incentive of trophies or achievements, I really didn’t spend too much energy on these. The mini-games are fairly standard fare, shooting at enemies and the like.
The multi-player aspect of Kirby can also add to the life-span of the game, as the ‘drop-in, drop-out’ nature of game adds a level of chaos to the levels that’s missing when playing solo. As mentioned, the game’s not entirely difficult, so throwing in 3 friends just makes it that much easier but that much more hectic. Think along the lines of New Super Mario Bros. Wii and you’ve got a good idea of what Kirby’s aiming for here.
In summary, Kirby is a great platformer that truly does its predecessor justice. New content has been added and graphics have been polished that makes it a worthwhile purchase for fans of the original and newcomers alike. It’s an honest platformer that sticks to the traditions set by previous games in the series. So whilst it’s unlikely to convert any non-believers, those that already have a soft spot for things Kirby will be more than happy.