on June 6, 2014
Kirby got the short end of the stick for a long time when it came to new entries in his series; for whatever reason, it was decided that instead of focusing on action platforming and copy abilities, he should star in a series of gimmicky spinoff titles of varying quality (at least Air Ride was fun). Return to Dream Land was the series savior by taking the gameplay of Super Star / Ultra, refining it, and making it better in almost every way. Kirby Triple Deluxe is a spiritual successor in that it plays similarly, but also improves it even further.
The game's story is thus: late one night while everyone is asleep, a massive beanstalk sprouts under Kirby's house and King Dedede's castle; when Kirby wakes up the next morning, he sees his house isn't on the ground anymore, instead being high in the air in a mysterious kingdom called Floralia. When he goes outside, he sees King Dedede's castle above, and climbs the beanstalk to get to the castle, presumably to check on Dedede. Upon entering the castle, he spots a spider creature (revealed to be named Taranza) easily defeating Dedede's Waddle Dee guards and proceeding to capture Dedede himself. Taranza then breaks through the ceiling and ascends the beanstalk with him, and Kirby chases after to save Dedede. The rest of the game's plot does not really come in until the final world; Kirby games have never really been story-based, more using it as an excuse for gameplay, so the fairly barebones plot is fine.
This game continues the trend set by Super Star / Ultra of giving every copy ability multiple attacks (save for Mike and Crash, which are limited use), rebalances them from Return to Dream Land, and adds five new abilities in Archer, Beetle, Bell, Circus, and Hypernova, the latter of which replaces the Super Copy Abilities. The first four new abilities are interesting and don't feel like any abilities before them, while Hypernova is used to solve puzzles and get through certain levels. Sadly, the Water ability introduced in Return to Dream Land did not return, even though Leaf and Whip did. Tornado, though not a new ability, was also removed but replaced by the return of Wheel. Speaking of Hypernova, it's on an entirely different level: Kirby turns golden and his inhale is made drastically more powerful, capable of inhaling enemies, objects, hazards, even parts of the level he gains the ability. To give you an example, in one level with Hypernova, Kirby's path is blocked by a tank, and upon attempting to inhale it, you get to watch Kirby's inhale quickly strip the tank apart piece by piece, and eat all of it.
A fairly large gameplay gimmick is 3D space: the game functions like a 2.5D game, as the background and foreground of levels almost always have things in them, and Kirby can move between them using special stars that appear at certain points. Full advantage of the 3DS' 3D technology is taken by frequently having Kirby, projectiles, and other things move toward or away from the screen; for example, Kirby can get flattened against the screen by some hazards. Enemies can enter Kirby's path from the background and foreground, and certain items and abilities let him attack enemies from the background, foreground, and the level. The bosses in this game are some of the most creative, dynamic, and elaborate in the entire series, which is saying something considering the Kirby series' standards, and they make full use of the background and foreground in their attacks and movement.
The soundtrack features remixes of some good songs from previous games, and keeps a few themes from Return to Dream Land, but all of the songs exclusive to this game are also great to listen to as well. The jingle when you get a copy ability is an updated version of Super Star / Ultra's, and the Kirby Dance themes (short and full) are played at end of every level depending on how well you do at the cannon minigame, while only the full version is used when a world boss is defeated. A special mention goes to each of the final boss' themes, which sound like they came from a different franchise entirely, and rank among the highest of the series'.
The main game (which the game refers to as Story Mode) is single player, which is unfortunate considering Return to Dream Land and four player co-op. I suppose it makes sense to an extent: King Dedede was kidnapped, Bandanna Waddle Dee gives you items in some levels and before each boss, and Meta Knight is not present in the game at all, but it would have been nice to have two player co-op, especially since the new minigame Kirby Fighters can be played with up to four people. In addition, though there are many levels, and has its own version of Extra Mode based on Meta Knightmare Ultra (from Super Star Ultra) called Dededetour, the game still feels a bit on the short side.
Speaking of Kirby Fighters, it is essentially Smash Bros. with health bars, wherein 2-4 people (or 1 player and 1-3 CPUs) pick from one of 10 copy abilities and fight one another. Archer, Beam, Bomb, Cutter, Fighter, Hammer, Ninja, Parasol, Sword, and Whip are the abilities available. Stages to choose from are fairly varied, featuring classic locales like King Dedede's arena from the Kirby's Dream Land (though based on Super Star / Ultra), Castle Lololo, and a forest with the animal friends from Kirby's Dream Land 2, to give a few examples.
Shortness aside, the game is still excellent. Its only real flaws are that it is somewhat short, lacks multiplayer in Story Mode, Kirby Fighters needing more abilities (Fire, Ice, and ESPECIALLY Circus should have been present), and the nerfing of Ninja (Quad Shock is now ground-only, the ability does less damage in general, and it's almost worthless in Kirby Fighters). If you like Kirby games, definitely get Kirby Triple Deluxe for the Nintendo 3DS.