Kirby has always been one of the more experimental Nintendo franchises. It’s actually quite fitting considering his adaptive nature. He changes up his gameplay so much that platformers in same vein as his original games are actually less frequent anymore. But Nintendo seems to be making a conscious effort to bring Kirby back to his roots while still providing the fresh gameplay that he’s known for. And while Return to Dreamland captured some of that old magic, Kirby Triple Deluxe for the 3DS is bursting with it. Like all Kirby games, the story is simple enough. One night after a day of play, a mysterious beanstalk lifts Kirby’s house high into the sky. When he goes to investigate, he discovers that King Dedede’s castle was also taken by the beanstalk. Dedede is soon attacked and captured by a mysterious creature called Taranza. It’s Kirby’s mission to travel through six floating islands and rescue Dedede. The story does its job in giving Kirby a purpose to explore a new world and quickly disappears into the background once the gameplay begins. However, toward the end of the game, it is fleshed out a bit more and given some humorous twists and turns.
It’s nothing major, but it is fun to see the interactions between all of these characters. But it’s the gameplay where Triple Deluxe really shines. In many ways, it plays just like past Kirby platformers. He can run, jump, float, suck up enemies to steal their unique powers, and use those powers to take on other enemies and bosses. But where it becomes unique is in the way it handles the background and foreground. Kirby can switch between the two planes by using the new 3D Warpstars. Ones with an orange center will allow him to go back and forth while a yellow center means that there’s no coming back. While the concept has been seen before, most notably in Donkey Kong Country Returns, Triple Deluxe makes it almost integral to progression. The background is almost constantly interacting with the foreground and vice versa whether it’s from falling objects, enemy attacks, or even solving puzzles. This actually grants the game a strange sense of feeling three dimensional even though Kirby is stuck to a 2D plane at all times. Kirby has always been about simple platforming and that holds true here.
The game isn’t any more difficult than past games, and while those could become a little dull because of that, I never felt bored in Triple Deluxe. The level design is absolutely superb in the ways that it plays with the different planes and, in turn, giving Kirby something new to do. This could range from dodging a tank firing on him from the background to using a laser pole to destroy things in the background and clear a way forward. Bosses and mini-bosses also use this new depth to great effect. Almost every one of them uses the planes in some way so even old favorites feel different from before. Like Kirby Super Star and Return to Dreamland, each ability has multiple moves that can be used. Though it’s fun to use these moves on regular enemies, it’s the bosses where they become truly useful. The other new element to Triple Deluxe is the new Hypernova ability, which greatly improves Kirby’s suction powers to the point where almost anything is edible.
Its power is comparable to the super abilities in Return to Dreamland, but it is so much better than those. The super abilities looked impressive but nothing was ever done with them. Instead, it was always walk forward, hit the button, watch the animation, and repeat. With Hypernova, more thought is required. Puzzles will often be laid out ahead of you and while they’re nothing too difficult, they help break up the gameplay and make Hypernova feel special. And while regular enemies are quickly taken care of, larger ones are introduced that require a little more thought. It strikes an excellent balance between making the player feel powerful while still providing a challenge. The story mode in Triple Deluxe isn’t too long and will likely take most players around seven to ten hours to complete. But the game is far from over at that point. Right away Kirby Fighters and Dedede’s Drum Dash are available to play. Kirby Fighters is exactly what it says, a fighting game featuring ten of Kirby’s iconic powers. You can either go through a series of progressively harder rounds in a single player mode or challenge up to three of your friends in download-play multiplayer. The mode itself is a kind of cross between Smash Bros. and a typical fighting game. Each of the seven stages is directly pulled from past Kirby games while food and items appear to help players. The range of abilities is quite good though there were a few omitted that I would have liked to seen like Spear.
Overall, it’s a fun and chaotic mode that’s at its best when playing with friends though I’m not sure how long it will hold interest. The same could be said of Dedede’s Drum Dash, which is a music-based mini-game that has the titular king jumping across drums to the beat of four different songs. As he jumps across, he collects discs for points and is scored when completing the song. What’s somewhat odd is that matching what the song is doing is not completely necessary. A perfect run will complement the music, but a good score can be achieved even without doing this. There is a bit of a learning curve to it, but with only four songs available, it never held my interest after getting a gold ranking in each song. However, both Kirby Fighters and Drum Dash support Street Pass so players can compare their scores with their friends. These aren’t the only modes in the game as there are three others that can be unlocked. These games are where most players will likely spend their post-game since they can be very challenging. I won’t spoil them here, but I will say that even though I’ve been constantly playing Triple Deluxe for more than a week and a half, I still haven’t achieved 100%. But these unlockable modes are the most fun I had outside the main game. In addition to the extra modes, players can collect keychains that show off over 250 characters from throughout Kirby’s history.
Though they don’t unlock anything on their own, they can be quite addictive for completionists. Otherwise, the game simply looks great. It has a style similar to Return to Dreamland but softer and more expressive. A ton of Kirby’s personality comes through in this game, especially during the Hypernova sequences, and even Kirby’s enemies are fun to watch. The 3D is also impressive and truly enhances the gameplay. But the true star of this game’s presentation is the music. Kirby games have always had wonderful soundtracks, and this one’s no exception. It has a perfect balance of remixed classics as well as some truly awesome new tracks. This may be some of my favorite Kirby music ever. If you have headphones, I highly recommend using them. Kirby Triple Deluxe is an exceptional platformer that truly captures what makes the pink puffball so great. While it may lack challenge at first, the level design is so good and the gameplay is so fun that it never really mattered to me. When the challenge did arrive, I enjoyed it even more. To put it simply, I love it. Its story mode is charming, and its extra modes and collectibles provide plenty to do. Thanks for watching and be sure to stay tuned for more on cheats and other things gaming tool too.