Style: 1 to 4-Player Platforming
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Release: May 2
The Bottom Line: 8.5/10
Concept: Kirby gets pulled into another platforming adventure, but this time he can move between planes and his sucking powers have received a huge upgrade
Graphics: Kirby is cute, his enemies are cute, and his world is cute. Plus, everything looks like delicious candy
Sound: Remixes of classic Kirby music fill the game with nostalgic charm
Playability: Slower than most modern platformer, but finding a rhythm doesn’t take long. Motion controlled elements are used sparingly, but work well
Entertainment: The single-player campaign is the main attraction, offering a fun experience that plays with Kirby’s typical mechanics in interesting ways
Replay value: High
An upward slope of charm and challenge
Kirby has always moved at a slower pace compared to the platforming members of his extended Nintendo family like Donkey Kong and Mario. The difficulty level in Kirby’s outings remains consistently low, creating a relaxed breed of enjoyable (but predictable) action. Triple Deluxe doesn’t change the Kirby formula drastically, but it improves the difficulty curve and several fun mechanics.
The big draw of Triple Deluxe is the way it plays with action in the foreground and background of each level. Kirby moves between the two planes, but the most interesting use of this mechanic is the way elements from one plane affect the other. Trees fall from the background into the foreground, threatening to crush Kirby. Walls tip forward, forcing Kirby to position himself in front of an opening – like Buster Keaton narrowly avoiding death from a collapsing house. Triple Deluxe is a 2D platformer, but these elements force you observe the level from all directions, as opposed to only the obstacles directly in front of you. This adds to the challenge, and results in some fun spectacles.
Triple Deluxe gives Kirby a handful of new powers, each changing the way you approach traversal and enemies, but the most memorable of the bunch is the Hypernova plant. Gaining this power allows Kirby to leverage an incredible amount of sucking power to dismantle and consume trains, weapons, and groups of enemies all at once. Levels are specifically designed around the use of the Hypernova ability, and I was always excited to come across these areas. The Hypernova plant is used especially well during the final ramp-up, when Kirby must re-defeat the bosses he had to tackle earlier in the game.
Along with the single-player campaign come two extra modes (hence the name Triple Deluxe) offering decent-but-limited distractions. One casts players as King Dedede in a rhythm platforming game. Only three levels are available, but perfecting them is a challenge. Kirby Fighters lets local 3DS players duke it out against one another, each playing as Kirby with their choice of power. After playing a handful of rounds on each of the available stages, I didn’t feel compelled to revisit it, but it did get me excited for the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros., as Kirby feels similar here as he does in Nintendo’s mascot fighting franchise. Additional modes are also unlocked after beating the campaign, one of which lets you speed-run through the single-player campaign as King Dedede, whose alternate abilities make for a distinct and equally fun experience worth exploring.
Triple Deluxe does a better job than most Kirby games at retaining a consistent upward slope of challenge throughout. During the last few worlds and final boss, I was surprised to see my lives dwindle, and began to play much more carefully – something I’ve never done in previous Kirby titles. I was excited to embrace this challenge. The game isn’t hard, but I needed to improve my abilities as I made my way to the end boss. This made for a Kirby experience that remained engaging up to the final boss and beyond.