After 2014’s Kirby: Triple Deluxe I was impressed with the little pink puffball. Kirby had always been a generally childish game, with simple gameplay, bright visuals, and an easy to follow storyline. For his second 3DS outing, much has stayed the same. Normally I’d call foul, but it’s what I’ve come to expect from a Kirby game. It’s very much like the Super Mario series: new games come out with slight alterations to the base formula, and we all seem to love them regardless. Planet Robobot is no exception.
The essence of every Kirby game has been platforming. Jumping to areas, defeating enemies, and watching out for the occasional projectiles is what the game is all about. Kirby has always been a lot more floaty than his Italian counterpart, and thus can inflate himself and reach higher places, escape from danger, and essentially never have to worry about dying from falling into something. Also core to the gameplay is Kirby’s ability to copy enemy abilities. Many, myself included, consider this the biggest aspect of the Kirby franchise, and with good reason: sucking up enemies and stealing their abilities and finding out what they all do is exciting, and, most of all, really fun! So basically if you’ve played a previous Kirby game you know what to expect.
The biggest change to gameplay is the introduction of the Robobot Armor. Kirby can enter one of these giant mechs and wreak havoc on his foes. These mobile suits are also handy when exploring, giving you the ability to push larger objects and destroy others to open up new routes. Even more interesting is the enhancements the suits get when gobbling up enemies and copying their abilities. For example, copying the Jet ability turns the Robobot Armor into a flying jetplane, which then morphs the general gameplay to a side scrolling shooter. The Wheel power makes your armor zoom around a lot faster than usual. While not all the copy abilities in the Robobot Armor are as cool as others, it is a nice addition to gameplay. And, unlike the Hypernova ability in Triple Deluxe which is usually saved for the end of a stage, the Robobot Armor comes up throughout the level, sometimes at the very beginning!
My biggest gripe with the game is its ease. Don’t get me wrong, I know this series caters towards a more general, casual audience, but I’ve always felt these games were incredibly easy for no good reason. It’s a shame really, because the mechanics and gameplay present in the game can easily be utilized in much more creative and challenging ways. You can see this in the game’s bonus challenge stage, which unlocks after picking up every robot cube in the main levels. These levels feature much more devious puzzles, usually requiring you to move past a door before going in to find a hidden collectible. I liked these stages much more than the main game, and wished there were more of them.
Nintendo’s amiibo figures can be used in the game as well, and they give Kirby a special copy ability when scanned. Interestingly, if you have a Kirby, Meta Knight, or King Dedede amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. line, you’ll grant Kirby the exclusive Smash Bros ability in the game. This ability is pretty sweet, as it unlocks all of Kirby’s moves in the Super Smash Bros. series to use in Planet Robobot! But, if you happen to scan a Kirby amiibo from the newly released Kirby series, such as Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight, or Waddle Dee, you’ll unlock a random ability or a special skin and ability to use. Lastly, scanning a non-Kirby amiibo brings in a random ability or sometimes a healing item. Amiibo aren’t incredibly exciting, but they do at least give you something to use your toys for!
Ever since Kirby Superstar on the Super Nintendo there has been a tradition to include mini-games and bonus modes in each Kirby title. The tradition continues here with Team Kirby Clash and Kirby 3D Rumble. Team Kirby Clash is an RPG with up to 4 players playing via Download Play taking on a handful of bosses. You can level up and perform team attacks, but overall it’s pretty shallow compared to full-fledged RPGs. In fact, it makes me really wish there were a Kirby RPG! Kirby 3D Rumble take the perspective and shifts it to a 3D plane, allowing Kirby to swallow and attack enemies in multiple dimensions. Completing the main story will unlock a Meta Knight mode which lets you play through the game as the series bad guy, as well as a boss rush mode. While the offerings aren’t as substantial as previous games, they do offer a great variety of gameplay which adds a few mores hours into the experience.
Every Kirby game I’ve played has been solid, and Planet Robobot keeps up the trend. If you’re looking for something greatly different from the Kirby franchise you’ll be disappointed to see mostly the same stuff from past games. That being said, what is here is a fun game with enough to offer veteran players to return to Dreamland and have a great time, as well as an approachable curve for newbies to get into the series. Despite all of this, I still find myself wanting more from the franchise. Give me a Kirby game that takes one of those side games and blows it up into a fully playable adventure. Give me a game that is nothing but those side games, but have a dozen or so packed into the cartridge. And let’s not forget about that Kirby RPG!
What are your thoughts on the newest Kirby? Have you been enjoying the Kirby x Gundam game as much as me? Let me know down below!