Oh, Kirby. For being a short guy with stubby arms he sure does make some quality games. His latest adventure, Kirby Mass Attack, ensures that the Nintendo DS goes into retirement right. I’ve gotten about halfway through the game and am already liking the adventure into Dreamland. This Kirby has a lot to offer that his other game’s don’t, so read on and find out…
So did you know there’s actually an entire Kirby Wiki, full of all things related to the pink puffball? Yeah, me neither, but you should look at all the crazy information they’ve got there. It makes me feel like I know nothing about games and just leaves me gawking like a boy seeing his first pair of boobs.
So Dreamland is threatened by the villainous Necrodeus, who splits Kirby into ten pieces, each weaker than the entire collective Kirby. Necrodeus and his minions are threatening to plunge Dreamland into a state of permanent darkness and it’s up to Kirby (Kirbys) to stop him. Being split into ten smaller Kirbys isn’t as bad as it sounds, and looking back, it’s probably an easily avoidable mistake by Necrodeus. Seriously, when has splitting up a hero into smaller parts ever been a better choice than just killing them? Okay, anyway…
The first thing that I liked about Mass Attack is the control. There are No buttons to use, just the stylus and touchscreen. This sounds like it might be bad, but on the contrary. The style controls are fun, fresh, and an effective way to play the game. When you drag the stylus on the touchscreen a star will appear that the Kirbys will follow. You can make them run, jump, swim, and attack enemies by moving the star/stylus around. You can also place the star on the Kirbys to guid them directly, similar to the controls in Kirby: Canvas Curse also for the DS. It’ll take some getting used to, but the controls are intuitive and fun. This game executes fantastic use out of touchscreen controls.
The Kirby series is sort of all over the place in terms of genre, and this game combines a few into one package. At the foremost, Mass Attack is a platformer. You’ll do plenty of jumping, climbing, and attacking enemies. But after that the game is more of a puzzler. Each stage has a few hidden medals that you can find to unlock mini-games and rewards, but obtaining these medals can sometimes be tricky. Puzzles might have you pulling down the correct vines from the ceiling, or playing tug-of-war with a giant vegetable to unearth it to claim your reward. Things never get too hard to figure out, but they make the gameplay stay fresh and keep you from feeling like you’re in auto-pilot. The mini-games you can unlock are pretty fun too, and not just throw-away extras. A wack-a-mole style game, a throwback to one of my childhood favorite games Kirby Pinball Land makes an appearance, and there’s even a boss rush mode for good measure. The variety here makes up for some of the glaring omissions, like the absence of Kirby’s ability to copy skills from enemies, or to swallow enemies for that matter. I have to praise the series though for not resting on it’s laurels: each and every Kirby game is good because it dares to do something different, and Mass Attack does it again.
As with every Kirby game, I feel this title is on the easy side. There’s some levels that you have to replay to get every medal, but nothing is over difficult. It doesn’t mean the game is for kids, it just lets you enjoy the game and not worry about failing around every corner. I also wish there were some variety in levels and puzzles. I’m only halfway done so far, so I can still have this wish fulfilled, but I’ve been beating up the same enemies and solving ultimately the same puzzles for about 15 levels now. That being said, I’ve yet to have fun going through each level. I actually had to stop playing yesterday only because my arm starting to ache holding up the DS and the stylus (which surprisingly hasn’t happened yet to any other DS title for me…).
Bottom line here: Kirby Mass Attack is a premiere DS title, and a game that will appease not only Kirby fans, but fans of fun, simple, and addictive games. I know Gears of War 3 came out the same time, but my money right now is on Kirby. Who needs COGs and Lancers when you’ve got pink cuteness overflowing from the palm of your hands?