Kirby: Star Allies is a game that remembers its past. After all, this is a title that brought back the Kirby 64 health sharing mechanic where it looks like Kirby and his friends are kissing. Now that an update has brought Gooey, Marx, Rick, Kine and Coo to the game as Dream Friends, we get a chance to look back again. This time, it is not only a reminder of how fun these friends were, but also how strong they could be.
Of course, getting these buddies in Kirby: Star Allies’ main campaign requires a bit of timing. They are welcomes into the fold after a visit to a Dream Palace unlocked. Once they are there, they prove very helpful. Since many of them offer multiple elemental attacks, it means you do not have to switch allies as often to accommodate different skills. They also can take on different elemental properties, which is handy. Basically, each one is a good pal to have around when Kirby is off saving the world again.
Where the Dream Friends feel best served is in Kirby: Star Allies’ sub-games. These supplemental modes offered a chance to force ourselves to work within various constraints with other allies that had more limited movesets. But these Dream Friends are far more versatile. It gives us this chance to wholeheartedly appreciate seeing these characters again, watching them as they star in these modes. It can even make Gooey feel like he has his own game, something that goofy piece of Dark Matter definitely deserves. It is a joy to use them in Guest Star ????: Star Allies Go! especially, but each one is also entertaining in The Ultimate Choice arena mode.
And even better, they require varying degrees of skill to properly use. The trio of Rick, Kine and Coo may feel like the easiest new character. I mean, Rick has fire and stone moves to use, which are accomplished quite easily without worrying about button presses. Coo pulls off a cutter attack effortlessly, as well as a parasol spin, when you take flight and he automatically appears. Not to mention, Kine guarantees us ice attacks the moment the trio enters a body of water. We have all of these major abilities covered, without having to worry about button combinations. Plus, we do not have to worry what would happen to poor Rick or Coo if they needed to go underwater. Seeing as how we can swap to Kine out of water, well, we can see what would happen to him.
Gooey feels like a different take on Kirby, which is only appropriate. After all, both have similar functions. His basic attacks rely on using his tongue for various lashings. These involve hitting the B button with different strengths and frequency, and allow a bit more basic combat than Kirby would. And his flying attacks involve mimicking Dark Matter, complete with a Dark Laser. But it’s when you start playing with inputs that things really get fun. It is then that Gooey shows he is capable of fire, stone and parasol attacks. It is so comprehensive, I could have seen him working as a main character in the full campaign, rather than just Guest Star ????: Star Allies Go!.
Then, there is Marx. Marx is weird, but his unconventional nature can make him the most interesting character to use in the sub-games. When he is on the ground, his only method of his attack are various uses of his jester ball. Once he is riding one, you have a number of kick options available. Precision comes in quite handy, since you are pressing and holding the ball in various way to participate in certain spins, charge the ball, aim it and even use it as a bomb. It gets even more interesting when he is flying with Radiant Flight. Here, we have the typical ball, spinning and Black Hole attacks. But he can also adjust other moves to lead into different attacks that can feel like combos. When he uses the Flip Ultima, it can transition into a Shadow Uppercut. When he is rushing, he can go into a Flip Ultima or Spin Combo. People may appreciate the complexity here.
These extra buddies really help make Kirby: Star Allies even more special. The game already is a nod to the past in so many ways, as I have said before. Having these extra characters return as Dream Friends is another salute to past games. It also gives us these versatile people with really interesting move sets to use. They are a welcome addition and players will certainly appreciate having them around.
Kirby: Star Allies is available for the Nintendo Switch.