Why Kirby’s be­lated 3DS de­but has Ja­pan tick­led pink


T3D ef­fects also help HAL to craft more in­ven­tive lev­els than we’ve be­come used to in Kirby’s past ad­ven­tures, with stars car­ry­ing the ro­tund hero be­tween dif­fer­ent planes, while mir­rored back­grounds re­veal in­vis­i­ble en­e­mies and high­light haz­ards and pit­falls hid­den in the fore­ground. Later on you’ll race a Wad­dle Dee car­ry­ing a key to the end of a plat­form and grab a star to in­ter­cept him be­fore he sprints off the edge.

HAL seems pos­i­tively in­vig­o­rated by the pos­si­bil­i­ties, and nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than the first boss fight. Whispy Woods, usu­ally the dullest and most static of end-of-level guardians, has had a tech­ni­colour makeover and a di­rect in­jec­tion of en­ergy. Halve his health bar and he up­roots him­self, he pi­o­neers of 3D cin­ema rev­elled in the form’s nov­elty, keenly demon­strat­ing its pos­si­bil­i­ties by bom­bard­ing au­di­ences with ob­jects that ap­peared to fly out of the screen. HAL Lab­o­ra­tory’s mas­cot is a late ar­rival to 3DS, and it shows: the de­vel­oper uses sim­i­lar tricks with un­re­strained glee, as if it has only just dis­cov­ered au­tostere­oscopy.

Ev­ery level of Triple Deluxe fea­tures some kind of 3D ef­fect, of­ten ob­jects or en­e­mies fly­ing from back­ground to fore­ground. Spiked bars push their way out of your 3DS and rail­road tracks carry lo­co­mo­tives that rum­ble to­ward your eyes. Gi­ant hands at­tempt to squash you against the screen, while well­timed spe­cial at­tacks al­low you to do the same to en­e­mies. Bosses leap be­tween planes and daub thick splashes of paint across the screen to hide be­hind. Reach the end of the level and, in a 3D twist on the post-stage cloud jump, a can­non shoots Kirby into the hand­held’s depths. It may be a gim­mick, but you can’t help but be swept along by the ex­per­tise and cre­ative ex­u­ber­ance with which these tricks are em­ployed. It’s one of the few games to truly de­mand that you move the 3D slider to its max­i­mum set­ting; 2DS own­ers are un­doubt­edly get­ting a lesser ex­pe­ri­ence. fir­ing ob­jects from a po­si­tion of safety at the back of the screen be­fore ex­tend­ing whip-like ten­drils across it to trip you up.

The in­ven­tion continues with the Hypernova abil­ity, an oc­ca­sional power-up that al­lows Kirby to vac­uum up larger ob­jects. With it, he’ll in­hale rock­ets from a tow­er­ing ma­chine to spit back at its sup­ports, and un­earth turnips that arc grace­fully into the flight path of feath­ered foes. It’s used to bring snow­men to life as you drag their heads back to their tor­sos, while a blast of suc­tion power is enough to shift large rocks, un­lock­ing new routes. The puz­zles rarely ex­tend be­yond trans­port­ing an item from one place to an­other, but the aes­thetic joy of the re­sults com­pen­sates for the sim­plic­ity of the task.

And this is one of the plat­form’s pret­ti­est games. Epic Yarn’s home­spun aes­thetic may be more strik­ing, but Kirby’s world has rarely buzzed with quite so much life and de­tail. The 3D helps, but the an­i­ma­tion is splen­did, while fresh copy abil­i­ties of­fer fur­ther flour­ishes. As a rhi­noc­eros bee­tle, Kirby can turn en­e­mies into a squishy ke­bab. Cir­cus Kirby bounces for­ward and back like a ca­reen­ing clown, the at­tack but­ton used to pro­duce bal­loon sculp­tures, a ball to bal­ance on and jug­gling skit­tles to at­tack air­borne en­e­mies.

It’s less in­ven­tive than Power Paint­brush, but that’s hardly anoma­lous among fir­stand sec­ond­party soft­ware on 3DS, since Nin­tendo’s ap­par­ently con­tent to con­tinue of­fer­ing ex­cel­lent takes on tested for­mu­lae. But with Mario, Zelda and Poké­mon hav­ing come and gone, Nin­tendo will be hop­ing its sec­ond-tier fran­chises can raise their game. If the rest can match this for vi­brancy, 2014 prom­ises to be an­other good year for 3DS.

Triple trou­ble

Two modes help fill out a gen­er­ous pack­age. One is a mu­si­cal plat­former star­ring King Ded­ede in which you guide Kirby’s some­time neme­sis across a se­ries of drum skins, dodg­ing haz­ards and gath­er­ing coins to the rhythms of fa­mil­iar themes. It’s fleet­ingly en­joy­able, but in con­trol­ling both the di­rec­tion and height of Ded­ede’s leaps, it can feel clumsy, lack­ing the el­e­gant sim­plic­ity of Game Freak’s Har­moKnight. Hap­pily, it’s joined by an ac­com­plished Smash Bros clone that’s dubbed Kirby Fighters. This of­fers a se­ries of in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing bat­tles against Kir­bys with other copy abil­i­ties as well as a lo­cal mul­ti­player bat­tle mode that’s as fran­tic and ac­ces­si­ble as the real Smash Bros.

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