As I began Nintendo’s Kirby Wii demo, I was alone. I played as Kirby, running through a desert. The game felt a lot more like classic Kirby in the vein of Kirby Super Star than Kirby’s most recent Wii adventure, Epic Yarn, complete health bars, a block button (unfortunately assigned to A in the sideways remote configuration), and multiple attacks for each power.
For instance, with the beam power, Kirby can use a regular short-range arcing beam attack from a standing position or regular jump, a charge attack that fires a large shot straight forward, or dash and then jump to fire a beam down at a 45 degree angle. That expanded skill set came in handy when traversing the desert, but those weren’t the only techniques in Kirby’s repertoire.
I quickly came to a roadblock in the form of a giant concrete block that I couldn’t jump or fly around. The game prompted me (by usage of changing signage) to abandon my power with minus, and inhale the giant rock by holding 1 and shaking the Wii remote. Kirby’s mouth opened insanely wide and the rock (and the enemies on it) were sucked into it. When I had Kirby spit out the stuff he inhaled, it was in the form of a giant star with its own gravity (other stars were revolving around it!). At this point, I was joined by three more allies who just dropped in by pressing start on the other Wii remotes.
One player was Meta Knight, another was King Dedede, and the third was a bandana-wearing, spear-wielding, unnamed (and therefore totally badass) Waddle Dee. While players two-through-four couldn’t steal powers, each had special editions with their respective weapons. While I didn’t get to play with Dedede’s or Meta Knight’s hammer and sword, Waddle Dee could charge his spear and spin it around over his head like a helicopter blade to hover around at a set height, damaging any enemies he ran into with it. This tactic was particularly effective on bosses!
After getting out of the desert, my friends and I found ourselves in the middle of a flame-filled cave. Fire fell from the ceiling, blocks of flame surrounded collectable stars (collect 100 for a one-up!), and getting through the area was slow going until I found an enemy that could give me the water power, which could extinguish and destroy the burning blocks.
I led the way, cooling the dangerous blocks for my allies as we progressed. We came across some translucent blocks that we couldn’t pass, but whoever was playing Dedede found a crystal that allowed him to pass through them undeterred and pick up more stars. We finally escaped the caves, only to enter a room that was apparently being devoured by darkness. The darkness crept from the left side of the screen and forced us to run through the area as quickly as possible. The sense of impending doom was a nice change from the relaxing stroll atmosphere of Epic Yarn.
We then proceeded to a less deadly area and found a shining sword enemy. After dropping my water power (as a blue star with a water design on it, helpfully enough), I absorbed this shining sword enemy and got the hyper sword ability. This allowed Kirby to summon a giant sword and destroy everything in his path, slicing the giant ropes holding up blocks and opening new paths. The sword had its own health meter, and in the tradition of limited Kirby powers like "Mic" and "Crash," each sword I swung varied from the last and froze the screen in a beautifully over-the-top fashion. Proper use of the sword allowed my teammates and I to get to the end of the stage without a scratch.
Kirby Wii will be making childhood dreams of a sequel to Kirby Super Star come true by the end of 2011.
Food for Thought:
1. Kirby and his friends are able to interact with each other in a couple of ways. First and foremost is food sharing, in which a player can share his or her food with their partners by touching them shortly after they eat something.
2. Less helpful (but more adorable) is the ability to ride on top of or be carried through the air by your partners.