Kirby has a very colorful history with Nintendo, beginning on the Game Boy and eventually appearing on every Nintendo console since, the lovable puff ball has had his fair share of experiences. Almost every time Nintendo has tried to experiment with Kirby, I’ve enjoyed it, though I’ve always thought games like Rainbow Curse and Epic Yarn did great jobs at giving Kirby something different to do besides basic platforming. Despite this, I constantly find myself wanting a Kirby experience that’s more back-to-basics.
Kirby Star Allies cuts away all the kooky gimmicks and experimental gameplay elements of previous games and goes (almost) back to basics. You’re playing as Kirby, you can copy abilities from your enemies, and you must make your way through levels, bosses and even some light puzzles to save the world once more from a cosmic threat. I appreciated where Kirby went with games like Mass Attack, Epic Yarn and the Curse games. They all did something different. Triple Deluxe and Robobot were both great too. Star Allies just feels like a distillation of what made the original Kirby games so great.True to the saccharine aesthetic, Star Allies is all about Kirby and his friends. Through new powers obtained in the opening moments, Kirby can befriend most enemies by throwing a heart at them, letting them tag along behind him. Of course, he can inhale them himself to copy their abilities too, giving Kirby a hefty repertoire of over twenty different abilities. The classics are all here – Beam Kirby can vanquish enemies with crackling energy whips, while Sword and Ninja Kirby make short work of foes with precise slices of their blades. Most move lists are surprisingly varied too – some abilities have over ten moves to use.
Newer abilities add to the chaos in some fantastic ways too – the Painter ability lets Kirby summon attacks by painting them on an easel or creating a sculpture and then beating the crap out of enemies with it. Spider Kirby can entangle enemies in sticky webs or create webby platforms to help friends across too. Other abilities like Festival are one use only, with this one giving Kirby an extravagant feather head dress and dancing all the enemies off screen. It’s ridiculous, and it’s chaotic, but it’s hard not to smile while Kirby dances with his friends.