Pink, puffy platforming – Kirby: Triple Deluxe reviewed

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Kirby, Nintendo’s happy-go-lucky pink blob, is back for a triple adventure on the 3DS.

If you’re not familiar with the protagonist, then there are two things you need to know: Firstly, he is squishy. Secondly, he screams. When Kirby opens his mouth a vacuum occurs – ironic, being that Kirby is also the name of a popular vacuum cleaner brand in America – and sucks up whatever is in his way. (If you’ve ever seen a YouTube video of a snake dislocating its jaw to swallow an entire crocodile, you’ll know what I am talking about here.)

Besides the scream, Kirby also has a sweet, floating double-jump as well as a quick side-dash up his sleeve.

Rhino, unicorn or beetle?

Essentially, Kirby is a multi-faceted platforming creature with a penchant for fancy dress: whenever he swallows an enemy, instead of using it as a quick missile, Kirby can make a copycat ability for himself – all you need to do is press the down button. The different powerups really add variation to the gameplay. Gobbling up a tiger will give Kirby and Indiana Jones-esque whip and fedora. There’s another enemy which turns Kirby into an archer, a ninja, a spiky porcupine, a sword-wielding Link lookalike… there are over 25 to try.

Each ability comes with its own set of moves and costume. The detail is really impressive and I loved discovering all the powerups to see what they could make Kirby do. Even more so, Kirby’s facial expressions are a treat to see, with the developers making tiny details (like how sad Kirby looks when your health is low) come to life.

Scream Kirby, scream!

Hypernova, is a new powerup in the game. Kirby enters a Hypernova state of being after eating a superfruit, glowing in rainbow colours and developing the sucking power of a deadly black hole. Maximum suckitude. Whole tree trunks and pieces of the landscape will come flying into Kirby’s mouth which is really quite something to see, especially with the 3D turned on. (It’s just like the moment in Katamari when move from picking up paperclips to people… and then cars, trees, buildings and more.) As Kirby, you’ll feel like an invincible… but that doesn’t mean the game is easy. Hypernova is about solving puzzles as well, moving extra-heavy objects obscuring the landscape and so on.

Spirit fingers, or is it the bell powerup?

I usually don’t use the 3D ability in my Nintendo 3DS. Partially due to battery life, mostly because it makes my eyes sore when things get out of focus. Kirby Triple Deluxe is one game where sliding on 3D is a must. It’s a platforming game, but sometimes you play in the front of the screen and other moments see you at the very edge of the landscape. The levels have been cleverly designed in such a way that you need the 3D on to tell where the enemies are coming from and to navigate some very intricate environments. The boss fights are especially awesome in 3D – battling giant moles or birds and then seeing them flying splat into your screen before you finish them off will make you laugh out loud.

Whack ’em mole

The game also uses the Nintendo 3DS gyro controls – when Kirby comes across a certain item (like fire) you have to tilt the 3DS to pour water out the bowl Kirby just landed in. It doesn’t feel gimmicky, it just works. That said, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about Kirby Triple Delxue was the repetitive soundtrack. It felt like it would have been better suited to a Nintendo version of a simulation title like Civilazation when you conquer land.

Like any platformer, there are things to collect (stars, sunstones), extras to unlock (pixellated keyrings) and loads of assorted Kirby-themed minigames as well bibs and bobs to keep you glued to your double-screen. As Kirby’s official 3DS debut, Triple Deluxe is inventive, challenging and well worth depleting your handheld battery for.

Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
RRP: R549

Tiana Cline

Tiana Cline

Tiana Cline is a business tech magazine and website editor with a penchant for cats, cooking and violent video games.