I’m a firm believer in the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Nintendo makes great games and many of them don’t jump too far from what we’re used to. Look at the Super Mario and Pokémon games, small changes have been added to them over the years and it sells out with each new game. It’s the same with Kirby and all its other releases. Kirby: Planet Robobot is not a giant leap from its predecessor, but it’s certainly a move in the right direction.
Kirby: Against The Machine
It seems like just yesterday that Kirby saved the land from some or other villain. Now the world is in danger from a new mechanical menace. A gigantic machine alien has landed on Kirby’s homeland, slowly turning the land into a metal haven for its new inhabitants. Not wanting to give too much away, it’s up to Kirby and his new arsenal of powers and robot equipment to save the land and stop the metal menace.
Kirby: An Easy Start
As soon as the first level starts you immediately fall into familiar territory. It’s almost like sitting in your favourite chair, biting into leftover lasagne, while watching your favourite show. It’s comforting to play something without having to relearn the control schemes all over again. There is a tutorial section for the uninitiated, but almost all Kirby games have very intuitive controls and are really simple to learn. Progression is also very familiar in which you must traverse through linear levels collecting stickers (a bonus item) and these energy cubes. The cubes are needed to unlock the boss at the end of each world. As you can tell, not much has changed since Kirby Triple Deluxe.
What has changed is the inclusion of new copy abilities and the all new robot armour that Kirby can operate. First, the new abilities. There are a few new copy powers at your disposal, unfortunately, I’m not a fan of most of them. These abilities include: Jet, poison, doctor and ESP (which is my favourite). The newest feature in the game, the robot armour, is brilliantly added and used in many different ways.
Kirby: Need A Mecha Hand?
The design of the game hasn’t changed much from Triple Deluxe, so it needed something new to spice it up. That comes in the form of a robot. This mecha unit, operated by the pink marshmallow, is a bigger, tougher version of the Kirbster. It can even swallow copy abilities to great (and humorous) effect. This gives the new robot a lot of diversity as it can be used in a variety of ways. In standard combat it can punch his way through walls and enemies. In certain levels it can absorb the wheel ability and turn into a car. While in this form, you’ll have to speed through the level, jumping from 2D plane to the next in cleverly designed levels. However, my favourite sections are when it absorbs the jet ability and turns into a fighter jet. Then you’ll be treated to a side-scrolling plane shooter, like Gradius, though nowhere near as complex.
Both of these sections bring in enough fresh air for me to feel like this isn’t a copy/paste of an older game.
Kirby: Looking Good In 3D
What’s also quite refreshing is playing a game in 3D and loving it. Most 3DS games I have, I leave in 2D as it either doesn’t add much, messes with the frame rate or butchers my eyesight. Kirby: Planet Robobot is a game that simply must be played in 3D. Everything comes closer to life in 3D, which is an odd thing when the world is very colourful and cartoonish. Some sections of the game even benefit from the 3D. In some levels, you’ll find these lasers that you need to dodge, and it’s far simpler to do in 3D, as you’ll have the depth perception to know where the laser crosses. The frame rate does drop in some sections, but these are mostly insignificant areas, usually when Kirby is walking up a spiral staircase to enter a new level or faceoff against a boss.
Speaking of bosses, this is another highlight of the game. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed with a boss in a Kirby game. All of them are different and offer some form of challenge. I can’t say too much, but you’ll see some familiar faces in some not so familiar ways.
Kirby: Gets More Mini-games
Another familiarity is the inclusion of bonus content. Why is this so important? Well, because the main game is quite short. I managed to finish the whole game in roughly 6-7 hours. That’s fairly standard for a Kirby game, but still rather short. To help fluff up that value of the game, various mini-games have been added. First is Kirby 3D Rumble which is a very mini mini-game where you need to strategically defeat waves of enemies and chaining your kills for a higher score. The second is Team Kirby Clash, where a team of Kirby warriors face off against boss enemies. Two more features are unlocked once you’ve beaten the game, but I’d rather not mention it.
While I enjoyed the two added mini-games, I didn’t find them as enjoyable as the mini-games in Triple Deluxe. These were easy to beat and didn’t have lasting appeal or require skill to perfect.
Its biggest downfall is the difficulty. At no point does the game offer any form of real challenge. I managed to best all enemies and cross the worlds with relative ease. Finding all the cubes required a little bit of noodle power, but nothing too brain-bending.
Once again I was treated to a game that knows exactly what it is. A fun, charming and wonderful world to run around in. It’s great for fans, newcomers, adults and children. Kirby never fails to deliver a colourful world, proving that it doesn’t need to be grey, drab and dying to be in trouble. It’s not a big step away from Kirby Triple Deluxe, but it wasn’t broken, so there was no need to fix it.