Complain about the lack of games for the Wii U all you want, but there’s no denying the fact that Nintendo has delivered some amazing titles via its Virtual Console store. Younger gamers or Nintendo newbies have access to a library of stellar games all from yesteryear, and sure, they’re old, but there’s a reason why they’ve been brought back. And one of those reasons is Kirby and the Amazing Mirror.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never played the original game before, so I was really excited to get a chance to play it. Man was I blown away. It’s simple, elegant and a true testament to the power Nintendo wields over the fun factor.
High in the sky of Dream Land lies a magical mirror that acts as a doorway between this world and a parallel universe, the Mirror World. But things change when an evil reflection in the mirror appears. Sensing trouble, Meta Knight kicks into action and travels to the Mirror World, hoping to prevent evil from entering his world. Meanwhile, Kirby gets attacked by the Dark Meta Knight (a common Kirby enemy) and gets split into four different coloured Kirbys – whom I’ll now refer to as “friends”. Together, the four of them follow the Dark Knight into the Mirror World, in the hopes of defeating him and returning as one Kirby. Upon arrival, the two Meta Knights are found battling it out, but the good knight fails and is thrown into the magical mirror. To ensure he remains where he is, Dark Meta Knight smashes the mirror into eight fragments and spreads them across the Mirror World. Now it’s up to Kirby and his new friends, to find the mirror shards, defeat the Dark Meta Knight and save the day.
Right off the bat, the game plunges you into the deep end. You aren’t given much of a tutorial either, but everything is so simple and effortless you won’t even need one to help you. Even Kirby’s three friends, who occasionally follow him around, don’t need much of an explanation. Eventually they’ll run off on their own tangent, but you can call them for some assistance whenever you need them.
One massive change to the usual platformer recipe, is that it’s not linear at all. There’s a fair amount of mirror-trotting as you try to navigate the labyrinthine maps. Many of the levels contain mirrors that warp you between zones, however, some mirrors only work one way, and some take you to a completely new map. The topsy-turvy and lopsided journeying through magical mirrors can bit a little bit confusing, but once you’ve unlocked the map, navigating the game becomes a lot simpler. It also gives you a lot of perspective in terms of how big this game really is. And the constant changing of locations also keeps you on your toes. One minute you’ll be bouncing around in the Peppermint Palace, fighting in the Moonlight Mansion, diving in and out the Olive Ocean, climbing the stars in the Candy Constellation, and then some. There are many places to explore, hidden treasure chests to find and dozens of mirrors to jump through – a perfectionist’s dream game.
Yet, hijacking mirrors isn’t the only thing Kirby is capable of. His vacuum and copy abilities are back – as if they would ever leave him. If you don’t know what that means, well, Kirby can suck up and swallow just about anything, and if there’s a special attribute attached to it, he will magically transform into a new version of himself. For example, swallowing a spinning top will allow him to transform into a small tornado. And that’s just the one example. There are quite a few copy abilities at your disposal, and some of them are needed to get to hard to reach areas. For example, the Burning ability is needed to break some of the harder bricks in the game. Knowing what to use and where to use it is very important.
I was quite chuffed to see how well the game has aged. It’s a visually pleasing game, with tons of colour and movement that maintains your focus and really allows you to immerse yourself in the game. It might not appeal that much to a graphics junkie, but it shouldn’t bother kids or Ninty fans.
Now, as much as I like playing games on a bigger screen, this game was designed for a handheld, so it feels so much better when you play it on the Gamepad. However, if you are the ‘go big, or go home’ type, you can activate the pixel smoothing option by clicking the analogue sticks, so it won’t appear as blocky. The gamepad option is also great if the little one wants to play, but the rugby is on, so everyone walks away a winner.
Kirby and the Amazing Mirror goes beyond your expectations and is a very successful and entertaining game. It’s proof that great game can be better and more fun to play regardless of age, visuals and the console it was made for. The game is a fairly decent length, so it should be nice filler game for a busy person. It’s also kid- and adult-friendly, a great game to have on your console if guests come with their children and it won’t even take up that much space on your hard drive. There’s no mistaking it, this game is a winner on almost all levels.