Kirby Triple Deluxe Review
Story - 6.1
Gameplay - 8.5
Presentation - 9.2
Lifespan - 7.3
Kirby Triple Deluxe is a solid addition to the series but needs to work on fine-tuning its mechanics. A weak storyline and strong presentation balance each other out.
Kirby Triple Deluxe plays off a familiar formula but does it well. With classic Kirby platforming and a few new tricks, the game manages to satisfy those looking for their latest Kirby fix and still keep skeptics coming back for more. New gameplay mechanics, new game modes, and tons of collectibles make Triple Deluxe a worthy addition to the series.
Only a few parts of the game manage to work against it, most notably the 2.5 dimension perspective. The game tries to reach a bit too far and is only able to pull off a few good moments involving this new game system.
As usual, don’t expect too much from this Kirby title insofar as story. The first cutscene shows a flying, bug-like creature capturing King Dedede in a floating sphere while a giant beanstalk shoots up from underneath Dream Land. The giant plant carries Kirby’s house and King Dedede’s castle into the sky and Kirby wakes up to finds himself in a new, cloud-covered land named Floralia.
As you play through each area, the only story that you really get is that the bug-like creature—whom we now know is called Taranza—is instructing the bosses to attack you. Of course, after defeating each boss, Taranza gets away with Dedede in tow.
Frankly, good story is not why anyone plays Kirby games; it’s the gameplay that’s attractive. That being said, there was definitely a lot more the developers could have done with the story, especially considering how thematically varied the areas that you visit are. “Sorry, the princess is in another castle” is getting a little old in this day and age.
With such a small story component to the game, I was left to focus on the game itself, which turns out to be a good thing. The gameplay kept me interested, especially with the addition of the Miracle Fruit powerup that supercharges Kirby’s inhale ability to the point of being able to suck up trees, giant enemies, even pieces of the terrain.
On top of all the floaty platforming you’d expect from a Kirby game, the Miracle Fruit introduces a new element that makes the game much more satisfying, if a bit predictable. Dragging around the heads of gigantic snowmen in order to reunite them with their bodies is fun and makes you feel like a superhero but it doesn’t exactly provide you with any kind of actual challenge.
The most difficult sections in Triple Deluxe center around finding hidden items that are, for the most part, off the beaten path. Finding the rooms that they’re hiding in can be quite a challenge, but actually reaching them usually only involved pushing a few obvious pieces of scenery or tilting the 3DS to the left to pour some water out of a bowl.
There were a number of novel mechanics like tilting the console that had a lot of potential to be challenging elements of the game but weren’t fully fleshed out. One of the worst was the use of the 2.5-dimension level design.
“Hypernova Kirby is a multicolored mess that makes him look like a bucket of yellow paint that someone accidentally dumped some green and red into.”
Throughout each level, there are two planes: one in the foreground and one in the background. There are stars at certain points in the level that will transport you from one plane to the next, usually for no good reason. Almost every situation where Kirby has to interact with one plane while standing on the opposite one could have replaced with a single-plane puzzle, although there were a few exceptions.
The best use of the two planes was in the Haunted Mansion level. In this level, the background plane is actually a mirror of the foreground plane, only there are things in the mirror that don’t show up on the foreground plane. As you walk forward, you quickly find out that you need to be watching the mirror as well as where you’re actually walking or you’re in for a nasty death.
There was also a level where you had to activate switches in the foreground that would let you move through the level fast enough to catch the items that were moving forwards in the background. Unfortunately, these were never key items and didn’t prove to be much of a challenge.
Overall, the gameplay is a great reason to buy this game, despite the low difficulty level. While it only took me a few hours to beat, I enjoyed bouncing through the levels and trying out the new abilities like Beatle Kirby and Bell Kirby. There are also a number of collectibles that kept me on the lookout for secret passages, of which there were plenty.
Kirby Triple Deluxe looks great on the 3DS: the characters are all crisp, the levels are designed to not all look the same (even if a lot of them have very similar paths) and the suits that Kirby dons with each new ability is quirky and refreshing.
My only complaint about the visual design of the game would have to be the color scheme for Hypernova Kirby, the power you get for sucking up the supercharged Miracle Fruit. Instead of the tasteful style that the other costumes show off, Hypernova Kirby is a multicolored mess that makes him look like a bucket of yellow paint that someone accidentally dumped some green and red into.
Still, that’s a minor complaint when compared to the rest of the game. What’s more, the 3D functionality of the 3D actually serves some purpose. With the two different planes, turning the 3DS on actually gives you a constant reminder of the depth of field involved in traveling between planes. Unfortunately, the game never makes use of that depth in any puzzles or level designs.
The music in the game is as good as ever. Upbeat and cheerful, the game never lets you forget that despite the stakes involved, nothing is meant to be taken too seriously. The enemies are round and fluffy like you and so is the music. There aren’t a whole lot of surprising tunes in this instalment of Kirby, but the quality is as high as ever.
Triple Deluxe has a lot of modes outside of the main storyline, although only a few actually make the game more expansive. The new game plus mode, Dedede’s Tour, involves playing through each level in an area in one go as King Dedede. There’s also two new modes: a Super Smash Bros clone, Kirby Fighters, and a rhythm game called Dedede’s Drum Dash.
Out of everything, Kirby Fighters was the mode that had me coming back for more again and again. Armed with one of the 26 available powerups, you have to fight off up to three other Kirbys, each with their own powerup. Kirby Fighters feels very much like Super Smash Bros but still has its own charm, especially when you try to play through it with a powerup that wouldn’t necessarily be your ability of choice in the main game.
Dedede’s Drum Dash was entertaining, although it didn’t provide as much fun as Kirby Fighters. This mode has you bouncing on drums to the beat of a classic Kirby song playing in the background. It is a bit tricky to master, but once you get the hang of the rhythm, it isn’t hard to keep up. The levels do get progressively more difficult though, forcing you to jump to different heights in order to avoid enemies and collect coins.
Add together Dedede’s Tour, the two new game modes, Arena mode (fight every boss in a row), and all the collectibles in the game and you could potentially play this game for a long time. Even though the different modes of play don’t offer a whole lot of surprising content, if you love Kirby you’ll love blasting through each difficulty level in these other modes.
Kirby Triple Deluxe doesn’t introduce anything particularly innovative to the series, but it does do a good job of being a solid platformer. The levels look quirky and original and the gameplay is everything you’d expect from a Kirby game. Also, if you’re looking for something to keep you going in the world of Kirby, the extra modes provide a nice break from the platforming. Anyone looking for a good way to spend a few hours sucking up baddies and solving puzzles will love Triple Deluxe.