By HARRY FISHER
Only one year after its release, the Nintendo Switch has proven to be one of the company’s most successful consoles of all time, with a plethora of great new games to boot. On Mar. 16, Nintendo gave gamers another new installment in the lineup of great Nintendo Switch games with the newest game in the Kirby series, “Kirby: Star Allies.”
Much like Mario, Kirby is a Nintendo series aimed at creating fun, family-friendly adventures that anyone can enjoy, even people who don’t usually play video games. The main character of the series is a pink puffball named Kirby who can eat enemies in his fictional home world of Dreamland and gain their powers.
The player must use these powers to traverse a series of levels filled with various enemies, obstacles and boss fights. However, most Kirby games are actually pretty easy to complete. They’re not meant to be terribly challenging games, mainly because their target audience is young kids. However, they’re designed in a way that makes them a fun and breezy experience for anyone who wants to give them a try, young or old. Their cute chibi characters, bright colorful landscapes and well-designed levels provide good times for people of all ages.
However, “Star Allies” mixes up the classic Kirby formula with some brand-new gameplay elements. In addition to being able to eat enemies to use their powers, Kirby now has the power to befriend enemies in the game to form a team of up to four characters. What really makes this mechanic fun is that four players can play the game at once, with the first player controlling Kirby and the other three controlling enemies.
This allows players to tear through the levels, combining their various powers to take down other enemies and bosses. Some characters in the game can even share their powers with other characters. For example, if one character has an ice power, and another character has a sword, the ice character can share their power with the sword character, thus giving that character an ice sword that allows them to freeze enemies.
Another aspect of the game that makes it even more fun is the fact that Kirby can befriend certain boss characters. This feature allows the player to take control of some of the classic Kirby bosses, such as King Dedede, a big penguin who can smack enemies around with a hammer. My favorite character to play as is Metaknight, who is essentially a dark version of Kirby with a sword. The game really begins to open up once the player gains the ability to play as these characters, as they have their own unique abilities that Kirby and the other playable enemies don’t have.
All these gameplay elements combined make the game a fun little adventure. However, the game is a little too easy for its own good. While Kirby games are supposed to be easy, most of them still have some level of challenge. “Star Allies,” on the other hand, doesn’t really have much in the way of challenge at all. For one thing, it’s extremely easy to rack up extra lives. When my younger brother and I played the game together, we managed to get over a hundred extra lives by the time we reached the final world and we only died once or twice. It’s also pretty easy to avoid taking damage, even during boss fights. I hardly ever found myself needing the health items that were scattered throughout the game. Also, I was playing as Metaknight most of the time, and his various sword-based abilities allow whoever is playing as him to dominate the game.
One thing that makes the game a bit more challenging is the search for puzzle pieces that are scattered throughout the levels. These pieces aren’t too difficult to find, but obtaining them requires the player to solve a short puzzle using one of the various powers which Kirby and the other characters can obtain. Searching for these pieces can add some challenge to your first playthrough, and obtaining them allows you to unlock some neat artwork. Also, by completing the game as different characters, you can unlock a few fun mini games. My personal favorite was the game where each player has to use a baseball bat to smack a meteor back into space to prevent it from destroying Dreamland.
Although the game may not be very challenging, it is still a fun and enjoyable experience. It has great characters with various abilities, colorful levels with lots of variety and enough bonus features to make you want to play it again. “Kirby: Star Allies” is another great Nintendo game all around, and even though it’s aimed at kids, it’s still fun for people of all ages.