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Kirby Triple Deluxe – 3DS

Kirby Triple Deluxe – 3DS

Kirby Triple DeluxePlatform:  Nintendo 3DS

Release Date (NA):  May 2nd, 2014

Developer:  HAL Laboratory

Publisher:  Nintendo

Genre:  Platformer

Nerd Rating:  8.5 out of 10



The latest Kirby installment is another in the long line of fine releases for the 3DS.  With so much gameplay packed into Kirby Triple Deluxe, it’s sure to keep anyone busy for quite a while.  Triple Deluxe utilizes “classic” Kirby mechanics and throws them into a beautiful and complex world, with some of the most outlandish and fantasy-oriented visuals I’ve ever seen in a video game.  It might be a little too easy for some gamers, but for most, the gameplay will prove addictive and almost impossible to put down.

Kirby Triple Deluxe includes 24 of the titular character’s “copy abilities,” 20 lifted from previous games and 4 all-new ones.  Also new is the “Hypernova Kirby,” gained from eating a special seed at certain points throughout the levels.  The new Hypernova ability adds a unique spin on gameplay where Kirby can inhale almost anything, eating several enemies at once (even minor bosses late in the game), and moving large objects in the environment to traverse levels.  Many of the other copy abilities, both old and new, are required to move through and access certain parts of levels; one of the great questions is whether or not to stick with Kirby’s current ability or take a chance on the seemingly out-of-place enemy in the hopes of getting closer to 100% completion.

Kirby Triple Deluxe


Kirby Triple Deluxe

The “Wheel” ability allows Kirby to access specialized areas.

Going over all 24 would be tedious and unnecessary, but rest assured the copy abilities cover a huge spectrum of possibility.  Some allow for projectile combat (Archer, Spear), others allow for close and mid-ranged attacks (Fighter, Circus), a few focus on defense (Stone), and some of the most interesting completely alter Kirby’s movement, most notably the new Wheel ability.  Those who’ve kept up with the series through recent years will recognize a lot of this stuff, but if it’s been a while since you’ve had a go with Kirby, you’ll be able to derive a great deal of fun just from trying out all the abilities. The Pause menu contains a movelist of sorts for each ability, showing off just how many different actions are available within each powerup.  The amount of possibilities contained within are nearly overwhelming, and while you won’t need to master all 24 of them to complete the game, it’s clear that the developers wanted to offer up a great deal of freedom to the individual player.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Using “Fire Kirby” to get to a sunstone.

Apart from the areas played as Hypernova Kirby, gameplay retains the same flavor as even the earliest Kirby games.  What really stands out in Kirby Triple Deluxe is the ingenious level design.  As usual, levels can go up and down, sideways, or other novel permutations, and this time they can even take place in the background of the 2.5D playing environment.  It’s not all spitting and floating; most levels have several “moving parts” that are worked into the environment where timing is crucial.  One particularly memorable sequences sees Kirby having to alternate between the Ice and Fire copy abilities to destroy Fire and Ice blocks, respectively, all while the background threatens to smash our amorphous hero.  All sorts of crevices and keys are cleverly hidden throughout, usually containing one of the stage’s “sunstones.”  Making progress may be easy, but it never gets dull.  So many different platforming elements are thrown in that it never feels monotonous.

Each level is divided into 6 or more stages, and each stage contains at least one “sunstone.”  At times, such as after boss battles, sunstones are given freely, but most of the time 2 to 4 of them remain thoroughly tucked away in the expansive and divergent levels.  Getting the sunstones isn’t usually difficult, but finding them can be.  It’s worth it though, because once all the sunstones in a particular level have been collected, a whole new stage is revealed.  And why does this matter?  Because it moves the player that much closer to 100% completion, and it gives one a reason to replay levels and spend time exploring.  It also helps the game appeal to both kids and adults; kids can whiz through the levels and enjoy a satisfying experience, while adults can tinker around with the level design and copy abilities in order to uncover secrets.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

One of my favorite key chains.

Much like the sunstones, various keychains are also dotted around the game, and “rare” ones are hidden just as well as (if not better than) sunstones.  Acting similar to the trophies in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, each one is designed after a character or item from a previous (or current, in some cases) Kirby game.  Keychains don’t really do anything, but they are part of the 100%, and getting them all is a tough job, mostly because there are so many.  Replaying levels will yield different ones from those first found except in the case of rare ones.  The player can also use his or her “play coins” on the 3DS to buy a keychain for a small cost, and this’ll probably be the best way to round out your collection.

Like I said, Kirby Triple Deluxe isn’t that difficult of a game.  It’s lengthy and at times immersive, but I doubt that the patient gamer will ever get stalled at any point.  However, it does kick up a notch near the end, with a grueling set of boss battles, followed by one final showdown against the game’s weird plant Queen thing.  Although going into boss fights with your favorite powerup may seem like the smart option, Kirby’s copy abilities do little damage, and it’s best to methodically wait for the weak points in the bosses’ patterns and spit stars at them for a much less hectic and random victory.  Once they’ve all been defeated, including 2 versions of King Dedede and 2 iterations of the Queen, 2 other game modes will unlock (in addition to the 3 already available), and it’s time to embark on the 100% quest.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

It’s one boss after another near the end.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

“Kirby Fighters” is a great way to explore each of Kirby’s abilities.

For anyone who found their initial playthrough just a little too easy, they’re bound to face a challenge when trying to reach 100%.  Getting the full percentage includes mastering various aspects of all 5 game modes.  In the regular Story Mode, sunstones and keychains are integral.  An additional mode called “Kirby’s Fighters” involves a Super Smash Bros.-style fighter between various Kirbys with different powerups.  What seems a little trite at first quickly turns a whole new way to put the multitude of “special moves” for each copy ability to use.  It gets even more interesting as 3+ combatants join in.

Kirby Triple Deluxe“Arena Mode” is a straightforward “boss rush” game that would be a breeze if not for the final Queen thrown in.  “Dedede’s Tour” is a chance to play through the game as King Dedede.  It’s not as redundant as it sounds; Dedede can float like Kirby, but he can’t inhale, use copy abilities, or consequently spit stars.  Much like Kirby’s “Hammer” ability, Dedede uses his hammer to dispatch enemies and otherwise interact with his surroundings.  The object here is not to sniff out every crack and corner this time around, but rather to make it through each level as quickly as possible.  Moving in a “straight line” will lead Dedede through one stage after another, though there are hidden “warps” scattered around that’ll lead Dedede from one stage to a later stage, thus getting to the end of the actual level sooner.  Not much more than a “time attack,” but an interesting one if nothing else.

Kirby Triple Deluxe

I’ve gotten crazy addicted to getting better and better scores in “Dedede’s Drum Dash.”

Finally we have my favorite of the supplementary games, “Dedede’s Drum Dash.”  Playing out similarly to a music and rhythm game, Dedede bounces along a line of drums, moving forward and collecting coins in the air.  By pressing A just when hitting the drum, Dedede jumps higher; pushing A again will make him jump even higher, and subsequent consecutive presses will sustain this “third height.”  Coins are placed at various heights where they can be reached by one, two, or three jumps.  As the levels progress, there are enemies to dodge, smaller drums, moving drums, and drums that can only be bounced on once or twice.  At the height of his jump, the player can press A again to make Dedede clap on the backbeat.  The whole thing is difficult to get used to at first but ends up being extremely fun and hard to put down.  The object is to get a high score, ideally earning all 4 medals at the end: perfect backbeat, no damage, all coins, and time bonus.  This is one of the best minigames I’ve ever dug into, and my only complaint is that there aren’t more levels to master.

Throughout the entire game and all game modes, the graphics are fantastic.  With wildly vivid level designs and background elements, Triple Deluxe is fully steeped in imagination and creativity.  As always, everything is sharp and clear on the 3DS, and the background portions of some levels is perhaps the best use of the 3D feature I’ve seen so far (though I still had it turned off most of the time).

Kirby Triple Deluxe

Kirby, in the foreground, is shooting objects in the background. Triple Deluxe accounts for some of the best use I’ve seen of the handheld’s 3D graphics.

Kirby Triple Deluxe should be a real treat for kids, casual gamers, and all but the most crotchety, unimaginative players.  Not only is it beautiful and ingeniously designed, but the simplistic gameplay mixed with such a wide variety of mechanics keeps the game fresh and offers up plenty of reasons to come back and come back again.

Reviewed by The Cubist

Written by The Cubist

The Cubist

Co-founder, Head Author, & Site Technician

Find out what these ratings mean and how I rate video games.

I collect as much video gaming paraphernalia as I can get my hands on, especially when it comes to hardware. With over 40 systems including oldies like the ColecoVision and Intellivision, obscurities like the CD-i and 3DO, and the latest and greatest including the Wii U, PS4, Xbox One, 3DS, and PS Vita, I get easily overwhelmed. Most of the time you can find me firmly nestled sometime between 1985 and 1995 when it comes to my games of choice, but I’m also having a great time seeing what the 8th generation has to offer.

Currently in love with: Mortal Kombat

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