As much as I love Kirby, it should go without saying that not all of his games have been successful. For every Super Star, there’s usually one or two gimmicky titles like Dream Course or Tilt n’ Tumble. The most recent Kirby game, Kirby: Mass Attack isn’t necessarily bad but its fickle controls make me long for another traditional Kirby title. Still, it’s hard to be mad at Kirby. I mean, come on, look at that face!
Actually, yeah. That. Let’s talk about Kirby’s darling face. Kirby: Mass Attack is one of the best looking games that the DS has. The beautiful, painted world has more color than a rainbow, and to top it off, there is a plethora of stunning animation. During the game, you’ll be controlling up to ten Kirbys. Each one will be running, standing, dancing, or jumping differently from each other. The graphics are quite adorable, as expected from a Kirby game. Some of you (well, probably only one of you but I’m being optimistic) might be questioning whether or not Kirby is voiced in this version. Indeed he (they) is (are) and it’s as precious as expected. Kirby: Mass Attack features plenty of original tunes and some remixed versions of the classic ones, giving the sound track a nice variety. There is no doubt that Kirby: Mass Attack has the looks and sounds of a Kirby title.
But that’s about it. I’m not sure what it is about Kirby, but for some reason he’s always the one getting thrown into experimental titles. There are plenty of other Nintendo mascots that could do well in a game like this. Yet, it’s Kirby who once again gets the short end of the stylus and has to endure spikes, bombs and giant rocks. The premise of Kirby: Mass Attack is that Kirby has been split into 10 by some monsters called the Skullies. Ermm…wait, that’s not right. He was split into 10 by Necrodias? I think that’s his name. He runs the Skullies. I think. Well, the point is 10 Kirbys have been created and now you have to put them back together. Players will be using the stylus to control these Kirbys through obstacles, enemies and some of the most creative stages the pink hero has ever seen. Granted, creative doesn’t necessarily mean good. I’ll give Hal credit because there is some imagination to the stages, but they’re hard to enjoy when you’re trying to handle up to 10 Kirbys at a time. The further into the game you get, the more treacherous they become.
Folks who played Canvas Curse will have a bit more of an advantage than those who decided to not break their DS’ the day they got them due to Canvas Curse’s difficulty. At the start of the first stage you will have only one Kirby. By tapping around the screen, you direct him to move around. Holding the stylus will gather Kirby into a small area that you can move freely for a short amount of time. As you venture through the levels, you’ll find fruit. As you eat fruit, a meter will build up in the top screen. Once it reaches 100, another Kirby will join the fray. As mentioned, you’ll get up to 10 Kirbys. Needless to say, it’s madness. Like, I can’t even begin to describe how many times I started shouting at my game. Despite me flicking, throwing or gathering all of my Kirbys, they somehow managed to get stomped. There are loads of obstacles to break that can only be done by flicking a Kirby at them. It can get tricky if you’re not careful. If a Kirby gets hit, it’ll turn from pink to blue. If a blue Kirby gets hit, it’ll turn white and float towards the top of the screen. You have to use a Kirby to retrieve this white Kirby so you don’t lose it. If you lose all of your Kirbys, the game ends. Since the multiple stages don’t have checkpoints, it can get maddening to go back to the start of a tricky stage where you have to -CONSTANTLY- be on your toes. Boss battles are especially troublesome when they are so massive and can take out a chunk of your Kirbys with one hit.
A final thing to point out is that each stage will have up to 5 medals that you can collect. These will unlock mini-games that are, surprisingly, worth your time because they are quite fun. Also, each stage can only be accessed if you have the right number of Kirbys available to you. You don’t have to complete each stage because the path to the final boss of the area will open when you conquer enough stages. I think I speak for everyone when I say that Kirby: Mass Attack is almost -TOO- far removed from a traditional video game that it’ll take lots of patience and perseverance to master. Is it fun? It can be when things go your way. However, more often than not, things will not go your way. While I managed to get all of the medals, it took a lot of effort. Oh, and why is that Kirby was always able to swim underwater without the need to come up for air until Mass Attack came around? I mean, come on. He’s Kirby, after all. He can do just about anything.
*sigh* If only that were so. I know Kirby isn’t a super-powerful entity in the video game world, but dammit he’s a great character. Thus, I feel he deserves better than games like this. Kirby: Mass Attack does have some shining moments and can be fun if you’re not worried about collecting everything. However, for true-blue fans of Kirby like myself I think he deserves better.