Kirby has been a little low on Nintendo’s priority list over the last few years, but with E3 2010, they brought the pink puffball back from relative obscurity–compared to his more popular sword, mustache, and gun-wielding days–with Kirby’s Epic Yarn.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Kirby game without the little guy swallowing his foes and stealing their powers. At this year’s E3, Nintendo brought forth two new Kirby games, a long-awaited traditional platformer for the Wii and a brand new DS game that once again reinvents the character’s skill set.
Kirby Wii is a special game. Unlike Kirby games of late, in which the titular star has special abilities or new skills, Kirby Wii goes back to the puffball’s beginnings. Nope, he’s not a ball of yarn, he isn’t a stylus-controlled ball, and he certainly isn’t riding any stars in a race course. This is a Kirby game where he explores environments that look like better versions of the stages in Kirby 64, and he can suck and steal the powers of his enemies. Announced back in 2005, this Kirby game is finally making an appearance, even though Nintendo has made no major announcements.
What is new, however, is the addition of a few friends for co-op play. King Dedede, Meta Knight, and a Waddle Dee are all options for friends to jump in and play as alongside Kirby. They can’t steal powers like Kirby, but they do have their own unique abilities. Like New Super Mario Bros. Wii, up to four players can hop around a stage together and try to make it to the end. Players can assist each other by grabbing onto each other’s backs, and unlike the trolling of New Super Mario Bros., the movement of this game is much slower and forgiving. It’s obvious that the levels are simpler than in other games, and it looks like a good training ground for less experienced gamers. It’s fun, though!
Kirby Mass Attack is a new portable game that goes in a completely different direction. Being released for the DS (not the 3DS), this game takes a Lemmings approach to Kirby. Players tap out areas of the screen where they want Kirby to go, and he’ll waddle his way there. Levels become more difficult when players have to swipe Kirby to get him to bounce around the stage and off walls. By collecting fruit he can fill up a gauge, which will split him into an extra Kirby. Up to ten Kirbys can be controlled, and players need to work hard to get as many as possible. Like a version of Pikmin, a certain number is required to do tasks like pulling up tree roots or defeating enemies, so the real challenge here is to manage the Kirbys and their foes.
It feels like a pretty cool game. This seems like an early period DS game, as it’s definitely unique to the console, but I think fans of the franchise who are looking for something unique and special to the world of Kirby will be more than pleased.