Kirby Star Allies Review – Written by Jose Vega
Purchased product for the purpose of review.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It’s an adage that the Kirby series has stood by for more than two decades. Whether on a Nintendo console or handheld, this franchise never disappoints and each game brings something new while having the same familiar style. One year after the release of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo brings us a new Kirby game onto the new console: Kirby Star Allies. Does this game still follow the adage or does it decide to try something different to set it apart?
Let’s get the plot underway. The story involves a ritual gone bad, sending strange dark fragments, Jamba Hearts all over the cosmos. Some end up on Planet Popstar, affecting many of its inhabitants such as King Dedede & Meta Knight. It affects Kirby but in a different way. Sensing trouble, he heads off, making friends along the way. Eventually they learn that Popstar isn’t the only place that was affected by Jamba Hearts. Kirby and his friends travel from planet to planet, taking on anything that’s in their way, as they must fight to save the universe against a dark force that threatens everything.
Kirby games aren’t always best known for their stories and it’s no exception. It’s pretty much a good vs. evil plot. Evil force threatens the world and it’s people, good guys go on a journey, they take down the bad guys and save the day. Not much to say on it. Compared to previous Kirby games, this story is a bit tame and traditional. Power of friendship huh?
If you have played a Kirby game, then the gameplay for it is straight to the point. For anyone who hasn’t, this is a platforming game where you take control as Kirby and you go from start to finish completing stages while dodging enemies, solving puzzles and taking on bosses. Kirby plays as you expect as he can run, slide or float. He can suck in enemies and acquire their powers to provide versatility, giving him access to 28 different abilities. New ones are introduced such as Water, Artist, Spider and Festival. He also has access to the game’s nifty gimmick. The gimmick is of course Allies and by throwing a Friend Heart at an enemy, they become their ally. It’s similar to Kirby Superstar where with a button press, Kirby can create an ally to join him. Here, you can have up to 3 allies at your disposal with each enemy having different advantages & disadvantages. Not only that but depending on what allies you have, with a simple press of the Up button, Kirby can also change whatever power he has and enhances it, boosting attack and its properties. It’s not limited to Kirby as certain allies can also access this as well. This offers players a lot of options to choose from and having the best set of characters can help make some parts of the game a cakewalk. You can even jump on allies to do team-up attacks that can really hammer it home.
In addition to regular friends, you have access to Dream Friends. They are special allies that can be unlocked as you progress through the game such as King Dedede, Metaknight and Bandana Waddle Dee. You can obtain one by entering a Dream Palace and using a Dream Rod. Of course you can have Kirby form a party of all Dream Friends. How you go about it is up to you. With the release of the 2.0 update, new Dream Friends are added, offering players even more allies to choose from. Characters such as Marx, Gooey, Rick, Coo and Kine add more to the overall game and pay tribute to the franchise that still goes strong.
Kirby Star Allies isn’t a long game. It’s story mode will take roughly 4-5 hours but it goes up to a minimum of 6 if you plan to complete it 100%. The game has a lot of unlockables in the form of paintings. You find puzzle pieces scattered in each level with the big pieces ranging from 1-4 pieces. Completing the puzzle unlocks the picture for you to see in the game’s Gallery. This raises the length to a couple hours more since there are many ways to acquire pieces. In addition to the story mode, there are mini games as well such as Chop Champs & Star Slam Heroes. They’re mostly fun short games and they include different control options. Guest Star Allies lets you choose an ally and complete it all while facing off against familiar and new bosses. With over 20 different characters, including the Dream Allies, this adds a lot of replay value especially if doing it with friends. The Ultimate Choice is this game’s version of The Arena, a boss rush mode and it has multiple difficulties with the hardest being like The True Arena in every other Kirby game. For a $60 game, the game offers a lot.
Presentation-wise, the game is well done. For a Kirby game on the Switch, it’s great. However it runs at about 30 frames per second. Not that it’s a bad thing. Whether you play this game solo or with friends, it’s still enjoyable. Although you can play the game by yourself, up to four players can play all this game has to offer. Not only that but it’s easy for a friend to jump into a game without interrupting. The AI for the allies is very good and responsive and they can handle situations fine. But personally if you plan on playing this game, do so with friends to get the most fun out of it. The music is good. Most of the game uses music from previous games on certain occasions, but it does have original tracks that are nice.
Although this game is fun, there are some flaws. The game is too easy. You can get extra lives rather easily meaning a game over is just pointless. Skilled players can fly through the game in one sitting. Having the right combination of allies and powers can even make the game be a joke. Most of the bosses you face aren’t as hard but there’ll be that one who can take you out. Personally there should be an added hard mode to give players a challenge. Hopefully in the future Nintendo adds it in.
For Kirby’s first outing on the Switch, Nintendo decided to play it safe. That’s not a bad thing mind you. This game is enjoyable and does provide much to do. It’s presentation is solid and charming, the gameplay has a familiar feel and it does give players much to do. But its flaws kind of hinder it a bit from being a great game. Kirby Star Allies is really fun and with friends is a blast but do expect this to be a cakewalk if you go in alone. The power of friendship truly triumphs over all.
I give Kirby Star Allies a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good game and I do recommend it.