Make new friends with Kirby – then eat them..

“Hey!  Why did you eat me mom!?” Grant cried.

“Oops!  Oh well, I needed that ‘flame power’ to light this fuse anyway, ” Suzy explained. “Don’t worry, I’ll spit you back out when I’m done.”

“No way you shot me into the pit!”

“Well you ran off and left me earlier and I was after that last puzzle piece.”

Fun for the whole family..

Actually, to be a bit more objective, this one really is a blast. Kirby Star Allies for the Nintendo Switch was a gift from Suzy to us guys to play together over Spring Break this year.  It has been quite a hit and we have had several evenings of fun and I’d love to share our thoughts regarding this adorable and quirky game.

First it must be noted that this game is a return to the more basic Kirby formula.  Platforming and adventures with a pretty low difficulty curve that should be comfortable for even the little gamers in the family are in large supply once again.  In this game Kirby is able to throw “friend hearts” at enemies to convert them into allies.  He can also go the traditional route and just eat them “old school” but a lot of the game plays off of the friend mechanic so one might as well play around with it a bit.  Oddly enough he can still eat his friends, which we all found hilarious, in order to use them as projectiles or consume them to gain their powers.  This friend eating power adds to the normal chaos of multiplayer games and has led to a lot of laughter and amusement.  Some of the enemies/allies have elemental powers which can be combined with other powers to produce either special attacks or augmented weaponry.  I always loved the mix and match powers in Kirby Crystal Shards, originally on N64 but also included on the Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition, so I was happy to see something in that vein returning.

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As mentioned, this game is very “little gamer” friendly, as the ally players cannot lose by falling into pits and even if they run out of health they can commandeer a new friend so there is minimal repercussion for the ally players’ errors.  The teams fate really hangs on Kirby, because if he falls in battle the whole team loses and backs up to a checkpoint, though as far as we have gotten the game is pretty gracious with checkpoints and I cannot think of one yet that took us more than two tries to pass.  This keeps the game’s potential for frustration very low but does suffer, as Grant noted, from being a bit too easy at times.  The level of frustration and risk is very low and while this is good for casual players and little ones, anyone looking for a challenging game may be a bit underwhelmed.  This is a Kirby game, though, and the little pink puffball sort of has a tradition for being a bit softer on the difficulty curves in the last several iterations.  Grant also pretty much hated “friend bridge”… one really must experience it… but I’ll agree, not the most entertaining “mini-game challenge” by a long shot.

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We all agree, however, that what the game lacks in challenge it makes up for in clever ability combos, super powers, new allies to explore and learn and above all – that special Kirby charm.  He holds the place as the main game that can get Suzy to join in on the gaming action and really make for a fun “family game night”.  In my opinion that is the coolest power Kirby has to offer and it is one that keeps returning again and again.

Sound interesting?  Have little gamers that would like to join in or perhaps a significant other that is not typically a gamer?  This one may be the gateway you are looking for!  Do be aware that the game probably has a certain ceiling on likely replayability.  If we unlock anything that changes my opinion on this later then I will be sure to make an edit and note any opinion changes.

On the Plant Powered Gamers scales:

Fun: 9 out of 10 friend-flavored cupcakes.  Make friends.  Eat them.  Spit them at bosses until they are defeated, then eat them.  Recyclable fun!  Plus mix and match powers have been incredible fun to experiment with.

Little-gamer Friendly: 9 out of 10 mega-tomatoes.  It is harder than my son’s old V-tech toddler games, but not by much.

Aesthetics: 10 out of 10 “Super tough cream puffs“.  It is colorful, imaginative and accompanied by happy, energetic music – probably works as an antidepressant and with fewer side effects.

Replayability: 6 out of 10 sleepy Noddys.  Other than replaying the levels to collect missing puzzle pieces, there is not a lot to cause me to want to return to previous stages.  They are all fun, certainly, but not really any that I would truly say were memorable.

PlantPoweredGamers

 

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