Kirby: Planet Robobot – A Review by Jose Vega
Bought my copy for the sake of both the review and playthrough.
There’s an old adage we always say… “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It means that if something is successful or effective, there’s no need to change or replace it. That’s what it is with the Kirby series of games. Every Kirby game is always the same and that’s a good thing. What else is there other than playing with a pink puffball that can take abilities from his foes and use ‘em against them? Nothing. That’s what. But it isn’t the case with this game here, Kirby: Planet Robobot. The question is, will this game follow the adage or will it decide to do something no one would expect? That’s something you guys already know.
Stories in Kirby games are mostly minor at best but they seem to help the player provide something to get behind. In this case, Planet Robobot’s story involves an outside force invading Planet Popstar, referring to them as the Haltmann Works Company. Using the Access Ark as their base, they are able to invade the planet and mechanize it with machinery. Not even the likes of King Dedede and Meta Knight were able to stop this evil force. Upon waking from his nap, Kirby sees what had become of his home. So he decides to do something about it and heads off to send the invaders back to where they came from.
I’ll be fair. This story is simplistic, as it is for a Kirby game. It doesn’t need to be overly dramatic to make it good. It’s all straight forward. Fortunately as you play through story mode, you’ll meet other characters and be able to piece everything together. I won’t spoil anything but by the time you beat this, the story gets serious but it does leave you feeling relieved. I don’t mind it since all story in Kirby games make you feel like being in the world they live in and feeling you should do something.
If you played any previous Kirby games since their inception, you can guess how this game’s going to be. But for anyone who has never played a Kirby game, here’s the lowdown on what you should expect. The game’s a side-scrolling platformer. You play as Kirby, a pink puffball and you use him to reach from point A to point B, while contending with various threats. Simple right? Wrong. Kirby needs to use all his skills in order to reach the end. One of his most useful powers is the ability to suck in enemies and spit them out as projectiles. Sometimes you can swallow some enemies and in turn, you get the option to copy their ability. It’s what makes Kirby what he is. He’ll take what you throw at him and send it right back at ya! There are a total of 27 different abilities Kirby can wield against his enemies, providing many possibilities for you to take down your opposition. Some abilities are exclusive via Amiibo. I’ll explain that in a bit.
Anyway the game’s main gimmick centers on the Robobot Armor. You get your hands on it early in the game and believe me, it makes exploring the game that much sweeter. In addition to dishing out punch attacks, a double jump and a dash, by scanning specific enemies, the armor can transform giving you access to the scanned power. There are a total of 12 different forms the armor can adapt. Some examples include Fire, giving the armor directional flamethrowers and a fire dash, Spark that can be used to fire short blasts or it can be built up to fire a powerful beam, Cutter giving you access to giant retractable Metal Blades and so forth. Some armors are needed in order to solve puzzles and in some cases required for stage progression such as Jet as it turns the armor into a jet plane, turning part of the level into a 2D shooter. This I enjoy because it gives the game variety. Overall the Robobot Armor adds another layer into what makes Kirby very good.
Now as for the game itself, the story mode is split into six areas and each area consists of several acts. In each act, you job is to head from start to finish all while dealing with enemies and finding items such as Code Cubes and Stickers. Code Cubes are the equivalent to Triple Deluxe’s Sun Stones and they’re found in every level, save for the boss. They’re hidden in each level and you need to collect up to 3 in each act in order to access the boss room. But if you’re the collecting type, getting them all in each area unlocks the EX level and that has Code Cubes too. In truth, those levels will require you to be at your best if you want to complete them. The rewards are worth it I might add, especially if you want to get them all. The game also has stickers that you can collect and if you want to 100% the game, you need to get them all especially the rare stickers.
Boss fights in Planet Robobot are real good here. They are challenging enough to require some skill but they aren’t as difficult. Using the right ability, you’ll be able to wipe them out in minutes so be sure to plan well if you want to succeed. Of course you can be daring and try beating them without any powers. Like I said, it offers the option of going about how you handle the bosses. You’ll need it if you wish to go through this 4-6 hour campaign. But if you plan on completing the game and unlocking everything, it’ll take you about 6 hours, at best. Not a bad thing but in my opinion, it’s acceptable.
After beating the game however, you’ll have access to additional content similar to the previous game, Kirby: Triple Deluxe. Metaknightmare Returns allows you to play as Metaknight, Kirby’s rival. You use him to trek through all six areas and taking on stronger versions of the same bosses that were in story mode. The Arena is a boss rush mode where you battle all bosses from the game whereas True Arena is the ultimate test, taking on bosses that were in Metaknightmare Returns as Kirby. In addition, the game also includes 2 sub-games you and your friends can enjoy. Kirby 3D Rumble is a set of minigames where you guide a 3D version of Kirby against enemies. Pretty simple. Team Kirby Clash has a team of Kirbys battling enemies and working together. There are RPG elements as well. You can level up each of the four Kirbys and all of them have individual abilities that can support one another. You can play it either by yourself and 3 CPUs or with up to 4 friends with 4 3DS’s. It’s better that you play it with friends because it makes things satisfying.
Planet Robobot also has a very good soundtrack, with some tunes having some techno beats. Some songs are reused from previous Kirby games but I ain’t complaining. My personal favorite tunes are the boss themes such as “Haltman Works Elite Management” and “Dedede Three”. They’re really addicting songs that help make the battles intense and catchy at the same time. So much so that I listen to these two songs whenever I can. That tells you a game is good because when you have catchy music like that, it’s a solid hit.
I couldn’t find any negatives but at times some levels can really have you head scratching if you want to figure out how to reach certain areas. It’s a minor thing and sometimes you’ll forget that hidden places net you Code Cubes. It’s a reason why you got to look through every nook and cranny if you want to get 100%. I still haven’t gotten everything but I promise you that getting everything is worth it.
I mention this earlier but yes this game has Amiibo support. Not that it’s a bad thing since the game is compatible with all of the Amiibo line, including the special Kirby Amiibo that they released alongside the game. Using any of the four of the Kirby line will net you some nice power-ups such as the UFO Kirby, which in and of it is rare. Not only that but if you use the Smash Kirby Amiibo, you get of course Smash Kirby. Some people may not like it but Nintendo has been putting more and more into the Amiibo line but what can you do. Using any of the other Amiibo can net you a random power-up and a health up boost. It adds more to the game but it can also be useful especially at the True Arena where you really need some leverage against the tougher opposition.
Kirby: Planet Robobot follows the adage really well and it delivered on so many levels. The Robobot Armor adds something new to the game while keeping the formula familiar. You have gameplay that is just as good, the design being solid with the technology theme and music that’s divine to listen to. It’s a great game for kids and adults plus it’s pretty easy to pick up and play. This is a game that’s worth its price and the content that comes with it is proof of that. If you want a 3DS game that’s going to give you an enjoyable experience, Planet Robobot is for you!
I give Kirby: Planet Robobot a 9 out of 10. It is a MUST-BUY game and I highly recommend it.