By Matt Hawkins . March 3, 2014 . 2:32pm
At the Toy Fair at New York, Nintendo had a playable build of Kirby Triple Deluxe, Kirby’s very first outing for the Nintendo 3DS, believe it or not (whereas it felt like he was all over Nintendo’s previous handheld). Much like Yoshi’s New Island, Kirby: Triple Deluxe does not stray far from the formula, though diehard Kirby fans probably wouldn’t want it any other way.
Like all traditional Kirby games, you navigate the little pink puffball through hostile-yet-oh-so-cute sections of Dream Land—primarily by swallowing enemies and absorbing their abilities. There are over 20 actions that can be copied in total, with four making their debut here.
More than anything else, the game looks beautiful. Initially, I saw Triple Deluxe on a 2DS that was hooked up to a large flat screen monitor. And normally, when a handheld game is blown up to such a degree, things tend to look rough around the edges, and understandably so. Not here; one could easily mistake it for a Wii title. And it looks even better on the small screen.
It’s a tradition for the end of each stage in whatever installment of Kirby to have a mini-game in which the player is able to win extra lives. In Triple Deluxe, you attempt to control Kirby as he zooms towards the screen, and the degree of fluidity and clarity was impressive. I’m not certain, but I feel the frame-rate was equal to A Link Between Worlds, whose 60fps framerate is one main reason why that game is so visually engrossing.
Speaking of eye candy, one new addition to the franchise is the Miracle Fruit, which when swallowed, transforms plain old Kirby into Hypernova Kirby. Once powered up, Kirby can inhale quite a bit in one gulp, and graphical effect is outstanding, as if the entire fabric of existence is at risk of going right inside Kirby’s stomach. Though I was told that this is mostly a means to complete puzzles, as opposed to simply dealing with foes (though that ends up happening as a consequence).
In addition to the standard single player campaign, there are two others, hence the title. You also have Kirby Fighters, which many will initially assume to be Smash Bros-lite with just Kirby. It certainly looks a lot like Smash, right down to the menus, though instead of move-sets based upon other Nintendo personalities, they’re just copied abilities from the main game. So instead of Kirby dishing out punishment like Mario or Samus, he looks and acts like a cowboy or ninja.
Plus, the structure of the fights themselves is also not quite the same; instead of percentages, you have traditional power bars. Kind of a bummer, though despite the many differences, one gets the feeling that Nintendo are using Kirby Fighters to maybe test drive a few ideas.
The third mode is Dedede’s Drum Dash, which is a rhythm action romp starring Kirby’s primary antagonist. The goal is to collect coins and avoid enemies by having him bounce off of drums, all to the beat of classic Kirby tunes. It’s not quite as in depth as Taiko no Tatsujin, but it’s a fun little diversion nonetheless, and any chance to play as Dedede is definitely welcome.
Kirby Triple Deluxe will be available May 2nd in North America.