Though Kirby made his debut a year prior on the Game Boy, it was 1993’s Kirby’s Adventure on the NES that turned everybody’s favorite pink ball of love into a super-star. Kirby’s Adventure did more than expand on the simple charm of Kirby’s Dream Land — it was a groundbreaking platformer that famously introduced Kirby’s power-stealing ability and his vast environments full of hidden secrets. On its surface it seems like a relatively straight-forward platformer; however, if you dig deeper, you”ll discover a brilliantly layered game with an abundance of hidden rooms, secret exits and numerous side quests outside of the main platforming stages. Kirby’s Adventure is one of those rare late-generation games that’s actually good. In fact, it’s better than good, it’s a late-NES masterpiece that earned Kirby a place as one of Nintendo’s gaming icons. Ever since, Kirby has starred in over 20 games, ranging from action platformers to puzzle to racing, and has been featured as a playable fighter in the Super Smash Bros. series. And now he’s headed to the 3DS family of systems in Kirby: Planet Robobot.
While many will say the highlight of today’s Nintendo Direct was the announcement of Paper Mario: Color Splash, I felt the biggest surprise was the announcement of Kirby: Planet Robobot. As the new game in the long-running Kirby franchise, Planet Robobot does little in the way of innovation but damn does it look great! This time around, the pink puff will travel through stages by jumping back and forth between the foreground and background while using more than 25 of his copy abilities, just one of the many techniques that Kirby is famous for. In addition, Kirby can steal the robot tech from his enemies and use it against them. The Robobot Armour can even destroy a variety of obstacles in his way and much like Kirby, the armour can also copy enemy abilities and even modify these abilities into more powerful weapons. There’s also a separate mode in the game called The Team Kirby Clash which lets up to four players join forces to battle against powerful bosses. Players select one of four roles and participate in a co-op quest to defeat a boss while supporting their team. For the fist time in a Kirby game, players earn experience points to level-up and grow more powerful, and if that isn’t enough, the game is compatible with a large variety of amiibo figures, and by that I mean all the amiibo. Tapping any one of the many figures released so far will give Kirby some sort of new ability or costume. In addition, a new series of Kirby amiibo figures that include Kirby, King Dedede, Meta Knight and my personal favourite, Waddle Dee, will be released. Each of these amiibo gives Kirby attributes specific to each character while tapping the Kirby figure will give Kirby the UFO ability.
Kirby has changed little since his initial conception and the reason is simple. He was perfect from the moment he landed on the NES. While the games have changed over the years, for better of for worse, every Kirby game has pushed the boundaries and tried something new. And much like Kirby, no matter how frustrating some of the puzzle-platforming elements can be, I suck in my frustrations and absorb it with a big smile. As long as the gaming world needs a savior from the shenanigans of mischievous penguins, Kirby will always be waiting for his next adventure!
Kirby: Planet Robobot and new amiibo figures launch June 10.