Kirby’s 3DS debut is one of the best displays of the 3DS hardware. Kirby can traverse between the foreground and background – with enemies and obstacles often switching between spaces – which makes for some of the best 3D effects on the system. Motion controls also come into play, leaving the player to tilt and rotate the system to solve Kirby’s more difficult puzzles. In terms of what Kirby Triple Deluxe does with the 3DS’ capabilities, it may just be the best showcase of the system since Super Mario 3D Land.
But Triple Deluxe isn’t just a display of the 3DS’ bag of tricks, it’s also one of the most fun Kirby games in years. Many argue that Kirby is at his best when he deviates from his own formula (Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Kirby Canvas Curse), but Triple Deluxe proves that, when he wants to, Kirby’s more traditional adventures are just as good.
Kirby once again eats enemies and gains their powers – including returning mainstays like sword and fire, with a couple of new powers such as Circus and Bell joining the lineup – but now Kirby has an extra trick up his sleeve: Hypernova Kirby. Besides sounding like a Digimon’s special attack, Hypernova provides a unique twist on traditional Kirby mechanics.
Hypernova Kirby sees the pink hero turned into a super-powered version of himself, where his inhaling ability turns into an all-out vortex. Kirby can eat enemies by the dozens, suck up trees and other chunks of the environment, and can even manipulate the stages themselves. Hypernova Kirby only appears on a handful of stages, but each instance is used intelligently, making these segments among the highlights of the game.
The stage design, although lacking in the intricacy and challenge of Mario or Donkey Kong, is a step up from some of Kirby’s more recent offerings. Finding hidden ‘Sun Stones’ helps Kirby progress further into the adventure, while collectible keychains give the game an obsessive-compulsive replayability.
Aside from the primary story mode, two additional mini-games are included: Kirby Fighters works like a simplified, Kirby-centric Super Smash Bros., where players can select different copy abilities and duke it out with other Kirbys. Meanwhile, King Dedede’s Drum Dash works as a rhythm-based platformer where players take control of King Dedede, where they jump on drums, collect coins and avoid enemies to the beat of classic Kirby music.
Both of the side games are fun, but they do have a few drawbacks. Kirby Fighters is fun in small doses, and even gives the game a multiplayer option, but Kirby’s copy abilities are not as refined as the fighters of Super Smash Bros. Some powers have a lot more to offer than others, meaning that it isn’t exactly a balanced fighter. It’s definitely a fun concept – and the stages play off Kirby’s history, including retro music and some forgotten characters making a comeback in some levels – but hopefully one that can be better elaborated in future Kirby titles.
King Dedede’s Drum Dash, while certainly an entertaining diversion from the main adventure, only has a handful of stages, and they can be surprisingly difficult, especially considering the more easygoing nature of the main game.
But none of these complaints are so strong as to take away from the whole package. Kirby Triple Deluxe is brimming with the series’ trademark charm and sense of fun. It’s packed with content, and it understands its hardware better than the majority of its 3DS brethren.