I’ve never been one to need a challenge, especially as I crept into adulthood and became a father. My time is limited, and while I don’t necessarily want a “Win Button”, I get nothing out of banging my head against the wall until I succeed. As such, don’t expect me to rattle on about Kirby Triple Deluxe (and the series all together) lacking in difficulty. If achieving greatness in the face of adversity is your bag, then Kirby just isn’t for you. I, much like girls, just want to have fun, and Kirby has fun for days.
A large component of Triple Deluxe‘s enjoyment comes from its brilliant use of 3D. Not just the stereoscopic 3D that springs to mind, but its use in gameplay. Triple Deluxe commonly makes use of two planes, the foreground and background. Similar to Mutant Mudds, Kirby travels back and forth between these two, but Triple Deluxe goes a step further by means of interaction. As opposed to these layers acting individual of one another, the game often has the action taking across both. An enemy may be swinging back and forth, or a bomb tossing foe may take aim despite being off in the distance. This is used to great effect, and leads to some terrific puzzles as well, as Kirby struggles to control the going ons of both layers.
While the level designs are some of the strongest I’ve seen from the series, Triple Deluxe’s boss fights are its best without a doubt. Again, the use of the foreground and background are highlighted, with bosses receding into the arena, taking pot shots from afar, or weaving in and out as they try to damage our hero. As a fan of the series, I’ve grown use to its boss encounter as nothing more than hammering the attack button when the opportunity presented itself. This sounds like common practice for any boss fight, but Kirby‘s always lacked an aggressiveness, and rarely attempted any form of denfense. leaving itself vulnerable at all times. HAL Laboratories must have paid close attention to Good Feel’s work on Kirby’s Epic Yarn, as Triple Deluxe’s bosses have a much wider range of actions available. Their attack patterns are varied, there are even some skirmishes where I rarely saw an action repeated. The bosses too make use of the space provided, and while they leave themselves open to attacks, it’s not to the same degree as the bosses of Kirby‘s past.
Continuing this trend of greatness is the game’s music, but this is hardly anything new for the series. Much like its hero, Triple Deluxe’s music is light and fluffy. As Kirby dons his angry eyebrows when he means business, so too does the games soundtrack when the need arises. Boss fight tunes have an edge to them, and moments of power carry the same weight.
Considering the developer’s understanding of building a game that takes advantage of the 3DS’s unique display, it only makes sense that their implementation of gyro controls would impress. Commonly relegated to puzzle rooms, Triple Deluxe uses motion control very well, using it to in situations that require precision. One example (pictured above) it to tilt the system to turn a massive circle in place, allowing Kirby to shoot an arrow at the target through a gap. What’s best about these rooms is that even when they require a unique copy ability (like the Archer ability above), you’re able to exit and come back when you please. Previous Kirby games would provide one chance, or not even allow the opportunity should you lack the necessary power-up.
These puzzle rooms often hide Sun Stones, which are collected and used to open up the boss fights and extra stages. I’ve made my feelings known on content gating, so I’m a little miffed HAL decided to go this route. As easy as it’s been to obtain these trinkets, I have thrown myself into a pit or two in order to have another shot at one of the more difficult Stones. To unlock a world’s boss it’s not necessary to collect all the Sun Stones of that world, but for a series that includes children among its demographic, this could be a problem. Thankfully the game’s other collectible, medals that depict various items and characters from Kirby’s history, are just for fun.
With each Kirby game attempting to stand out from the other (Return to Dreamland‘s 4-player co-op, Epic Yarn‘s aesthetics and lack of death) Triple Deluxe is no different. Joining the game’s Story mode is Kirby Fighters and Dedede’s Drum Dash. The former is a lighter take on the fighting genre, with its characters actually being Kirby’s various Copy Abilities. While HAL’s history with the Super Smash Bros. series brings comparisons to those works, Kirby Fighters lacks its balance and distinguishing features. It’s no slouch though, and my 5-year-old daughter still enjoys playing a few matches with me, but it’s nothing to hold a more seasoned player’s attention. As for Dedede’s Drum Dash, it’s take on the rhythm platformer genre falls flat, as it requires a little too much input. Players tap A to have Dedede jump over obstacles, with better timed jumps yielding higher results. As well, his movement is controlled with the D-Pad, which conflicts with one’s efforts to keep with the rhythm. It just feels too much, and is neither much of a rhythm game or platformer.
Despite the game’s namesakes falling a bit short, the Story Mode is enough to justify Triple Deluxe‘s purchase. We’re a few years into the 3DS’s life, and it’s clear to me that this game ranks among its best. It’s the 3DS liveliest platformer, with its inhabitants whirling to and fro, attempting to end Kirby’s adventure prematurely from every angle. I’m surprised honestly, I’ve come to know Kirby’s more straightforward outings as good fun, but Triple Deluxe is the series firing on all cylinders. Much to the chagrin of writers the world over, Kirby doesn’t “suck” this time around, and instead is one of the genre’s finest examples.