Kirby: Star Allies review.
Kirby: Star Allies is the latest title in Nintendo’s illustrious Kirby series. Spanning over 25 years, Star Allies is the first Kirby title to be released on Nintendo Switch, as well as the first mainline title to be featured in HD. Boasting beautiful graphics and the fun, platforming action the series is known for, Kirby: Star Allies delivers on nearly every front. However, while it’s a beautiful piece of cake, it could use a bit more filling. Read on for more in our Kirby: Star Allies review.
The story of Star Allies.
In typical Kirby titles, the story begins with alien species invading Planet Popstar, threatening to take over the land. In this case, Star Allies continues the storyline tradition. Invaders from another land (the Jambastion) have set forth to awaken the Dark Hearts. Led by Lord Hyness, the three sisters – Francisca, Flamberge, and Zan Partizanne – set forth to collect the hearts and awaken a terrible, destructive evil known only as Void Termina.
Kirby sets forth to save his homeworld, but not without his new allies. In Kirby: Star Allies, the titular pink pluff now uses the ability known as Friend Hearts. Using Friend Hearts allows Kirby to befriend enemy types. The last time you could befriend enemy allies was in Kirby Super Star, and its DS remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra. Much like in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, you can befriend multiple allies, allowing four players to save the world. And much like past Kirby games, much of the game’s story and lore is written within the pause screen descriptions of each boss.
Visuals from Dream Land.
As the first HD title in the mainline series, Kirby: Star Allies seems to take a technical overhaul. The art style resonates from the style used in Return to Dream Land and the 3DS titles – Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot. However, Kirby: Star Allies boasts some of the prettiest colors and lighting effects ever seen in the series. While you’re greeted to lush greenery, water areas, and pretty ice areas in the stages, some of the maps in the late game boast a cosmic beauty that looks better than anything done in the series so far.
The animations are as cute and colorful as ever. Your first time throwing a Friend Heart to an enemy greets you with a small scene where the enemy character and Kirby rub cheeks together in friendship. Hearts are everywhere in this game, so if you love hearts, you’re going to love this game. They’re used for the special abilities, Plus the elemental effects are a treat for the eyes. What also caught my attention was the attention to detail on textures. King Dedede’s robe, for instance, has visible textures. It’s more than just plain colour now.
In Kirby: Star Allies, you’ll guide Kirby and his friends across Planet Popstar and beyond. While Kirby maintains his traditional ability to swallow enemies and copying their powers, he’ll also be able to recruit them. Accompanying Kirby are his four allies. This includes many of the traditional Kirby enemies, such as Burning Leo, Blade Knight, Sir Kibble, as well as sub-boss characters, like Bonkers, Mr. Frosty, and even Chef Kawasaki!
It’s possible to gain Dream Friends from the game as well. Progressing through the game unlocks Dream Palaces. This allows you to place Bandanna Waddle Dee, Meta-Knight, or King Dedede in your team. At the time of writing, these are the only characters available. However, coming with the March 28th update, Marx from Kirby Super Star will be playable. In addition, Gooey, Rick, Kine, and Coo – from Kirby’s Dream Land 2 – will also make appearances as playable allies!
The Significance of the Allies.
In addition to being A.I. controlled boss killers, your friends can activate puzzle switches for you. The game knows where to place them or even to trigger their powerups. Need ice removed? Your fire friend melts the ice. Want to get a fuse lit without it being doused with water? Get two Parasol Waddle Dees and open up the Chumbrella!
The game’s new partner system allows the ability to combine powerups or utilize new ones. Chumbrella covers allies in a large Umbrella, while Fighter, Suplex, and Beetle Kirby can fling his allies with Friend Throw. If you have a melee-type attack, such as Sword, Hammer, Cutter, or Stone, let your partner combine it with Fire, Ice, Water, Wind, or Electricity, and you’ll gain a new powerup! These infused-elemental powers allow you to clear puzzles to collect the Puzzle Pieces required for full completion. They’re also extremely helpful in battle, adding an Attack Boost to your strikes. Also, you’ll unlock modes after clearing the Story Mode!
Kirby: Star Allies allows you to unlock two modes. In Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go, you play as an enemy character. Select the one you want to use and recruit other enemies to become allies. What separates this from the traditional story mode is its speedrunning aspect. You’ll boost through levels quickly, gaining stat points along the way. Whenever you change levels, they’ll be divided mainly by doors and pathways instead of a stage select screen. Getting to the end of the mode, a secret boss awaits you.
The Ultimate Choice is the second mode you unlock. While a name change from “The Arena” or “The True Arena,” it is the same boss rush in all but its name. Select Kirby and three allies to help fight your way through a gauntlet of battles. There are three modes that cover various difficulties, each with a different boss waiting at the end. Clearing the first two unlocks the Level S challenge, which features the secret boss from before as well as a new form of the final boss. Kirby aficionados recognize this as the “Soul” form, which harbours additional lore in the pause screen. Be sure to check the boss’ info to learn the final piece of this story!
Loads of Fun
Some of the things I loved about Kirby: Star Allies include the new friendship abilities. You have Friend Circle to roll through obstacles and jump across platforms while smashing enemies along the way. The Friend Train changes the music to a new tune. The four of you will conduct a fast-paced expedition through the stage. If you’re familiar with Yoshi’s Island, remember Baby Mario’s power-up? You’ll run through the walls in all directions. Finally, the Friend Star is the new “power up” in this game. Akin to Super Copy Ability, Hypernova, and Robobot Armor from previous titles, this one lets you fly around and fire off your power abilities!
Kirby: Star Allies also features various mini-games. In Chop Challenge, race your friends to be the first to clear a tree and chop the most wood. Avoid Gordos and worms along the way! And in Star Slam Heroes, you must time your swing to launch a meteor away that’s threatening Popstar. Similar to Megaton Punch from Kirby Super Star, timing is involved using a meter and how far you can go. Lastly, you’ll unlock various illustrations based on the series’ history. Similar to past games, collecting these is required for 100% completion, but feels incredibly rewarding once you do. The art pieces in question range from cute drawings to iconic callbacks seen in a new light.
Now, where’s the filling?
Kirby: Star Allies boasts a ton of fun. There’s never a dull moment. Unfortunately, it ends before you can ever appreciate it. Whereas games, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey boast over 60 hours of content, Star Allies boasts 20 hours for 100%. Now, as a Kirby game, they’ve never been historically long titles. Unfortunately, even veteran players will quickly notice the short amount of worlds. Once you’re in the space world, you’re already nearing the end. There’s five worlds total, compared to the 6-7 featured in most games.
Another plaguing issue is the game runs at 30 FPS. While this is a harmless issue for the most part, past Kirby games ran at 60 FPS. While it’s an artistic beauty, it’s one that runs slower than past titles on the 3DS and Wii. But the real issue is that there are framerate dips every so often. This causes the game to end up looking choppy at times. While it’s not so common that it becomes a major burden, it’s still quite noticeable and jarring, and under the standards most Kirby games strive for.
The issue with the game’s extras.
Amiibo support is used in Kirby: Star Allies. This nets you puzzle pieces and can be used seven times per stage. The Kirby-themed ones net you two puzzle pieces per use. However, I find this to be a weak aspect of the game. One, the amiibo use is a major step down from Planet Robobot. In Planet Robobot, the amiibo you used gave Kirby a new power. Ike could give you Sword Kirby, Mario gave you Fire Kirby, Bowser gave you Rock Kirby, and Dr. Mario gave you Doctor Kirby, just to name a few. The selection is far weaker in comparison.
The other issue is the amount of grinding you’ll do to unlock all the puzzle pieces. Even when you finish all the Extra stages and collect each stage’s piece, all the rest of them will take roughly two hours of grinding to complete. That’s two hours of repeating a stage, using seven amiibos, and spending three minutes to clear the stage before rinse and repeat. Even compared to the keychain grinding in Triple Deluxe, I found this to be considerably tedious.
Kirby: Star Allies review – Final Thoughts.
With everything said, Kirby: Star Allies is a fine game. It’s a pretty little game that’s excellent for children. Veteran players won’t find much challenge outside of The Ultimate Choice. But if you’re looking to wind down and relax with Kirby, all the staples, from beautiful, catchy music, to throwbacks galore, are in this game. It’s not perfect, but it’s Kirby. If you get the chance to play it, the game’s charming gameplay will certainly be worth your time!
Thank you for reading our Kirby: Star Allies review! Have you played the game or considered playing it yet? Let us know in the comments below! You can use this link to order a copy of this game Kirby Star Allies – Nintendo Switch – Amazon Purchase Page. Do check out the list of Top Nintendo Switch games to look forward to in 2018.