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First Impressions: Kirby: Triple Deluxe Is Three Times More Fun Than Most Other 3DS Games

Posted by Kerry Brunskill

Definitely doesn’t suck

It’s obvious from the moment you start that Kirby Triple Deluxe is Nintendo and HAL Laboratory at the height of their collective powers — software and hardware coming together to create a game as games should be: good fun, embracing all of the the 3DS’s unique features without ever reducing them to mere gimmicks. We got chance to sit down with the Japanese edition of the game, and feel that it could well be one of 2014's most enjoyable handheld releases — and we're still only in January.

There are three modes available at the start. Kirby Fighters is a very enjoyable “Smash Bros.-lite” multiplayer diversion with plenty of nods to older games in the series for long-time fans, and Dedede's Drum Dash is a pleasant take on the rhythm-action genre — with perhaps some unintended extra nostalgia for those familiar with the drum-bouncing in Genesis / Mega Drive classic Ristar’s Round 4-2. But most of your time will be spent in Triple Deluxe’s main story mode, grinning like an idiot at the detailed animations and wondering what new tricks the next level will have up its sleeve.

Story mode is broken up in the usual way; Kirby unlocks a new area, completes all the levels, beats the boss and then moves on to do it all again somewhere else. What makes Triple Deluxe stand out from the typical platforming crowd is the inventive use of his new and old abilities as well as the sheer charm and attention to detail that’s been poured into absolutely everything. Each level has a foreground and background layer, with Kirby switching between the two at fixed (and often optional) points.

More than mere decoration, this alternative plane will often flaunt a Sunstone or a shiny keyring just out of reach, a sure sign that there’s a secret doorway lurking in the area or a hidden switch to keep an eye out for. There are many times when Kirby gets to directly interact with the other layer too; firing missiles to clear debris, checking a not-quite perfect reflection for ghostly enemies and false walls and sometimes racing against another enemy to grab their precious key before they run off with it.

Kirby himself has a major new ability this time around. “Big Ban” Kirby mode — used only in specific areas — increases Kirby’s signature sucking skill to new levels and lets him catch huge rockets in his mouth or clear an entire room full of enemies. This wanton destruction is balanced out by a few spots where Kirby needs to pull giant objects (ranging from plain old block moving to rolling snowman heads back onto their bodies) in a certain way to complete puzzles and hopefully gain a precious Sunstone as a reward.

Sunstones are one of two collectables in Triple Deluxe, and a certain amount are needed in each area to unlock the boss battle and proceed. A few are hidden in plain sight, but more often than not they’re tucked away in a secret room and will require some light puzzling, quick reflexes, or a combination of the two to earn. There’s usually three or four per stage and as you only ever need to find about half of them to unlock the boss, it’s not a huge problem if you miss a few first time around and reinforces the great flexibility seen in all the best Nintendo games – the challenge is as tough as you, right now, want to make it.

The other collectable objects are an expansive set of key-chains; every one of which is a piece of pixel art from a previous Kirby title going all the way back to the original Game Boy adventure, mercifully named and properly labelled to save you from spending all day Googling old Kirby enemies. These come in both golden (rare) and standard varieties and are all pinned to a virtual board once acquired so you can gaze at the holes in your collection at leisure. The main game is over pretty quickly even for the most casual of gamer, so thankfully HAL saw fit to include two further bonus modes as a “thank you” note for players — but we won’t spoil the surprise for you just yet.

As mentioned at the beginning, Kirby: Triple Deluxe is a perfect example of what Nintendo does best. It takes things that in the hands of too many other developers would feel like tacked-on frustrations and turn them into seamless flourishes that elevate an already polished platformer into something truly special. Everything – from the genuinely useful 3D effects to the tilt-sensitive gondola rides — has been created with the sort of care and detail that most other companies can only dream of, and Triple Deluxe is all the better for their inclusion. There’s no official English release date yet, but you can be sure that’ll you’ll hear all about it on Nintendo Life as soon as it’s announced. This could well be one of the stand-out 3DS titles of the year.

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User Comments (71)

ChimeraKnight

#4

ChimeraKnight said:

This game looks like it will be fantastic, can't wait. I thought it was "Big Man" Kirby not "Big Ban"?

TeeJay

#6

TeeJay said:

Maybe it's "Big Bang" Kirby. In any case I really really hope you guys were playing fighter mode on easy or something, because the AI seems pretty much brain dead in that video.

KimimiStaff

#7

Kimimi said:

"Big Bang" Kirby makes sense, but that's not what it says. I'm sure it'll be something along those lines once it gets translated, but the Japanese version says "Big Ban". shrugs

LittleIrves

#8

LittleIrves said:

Anticipating this more and more with every impression I read. Come on, NOA, bring this out soon-ish. And an interesting trend, this pixel-stamp collectible thing. Between 3D World, NES Remix, and this, Nintendo's mining their art portfolio pretty hardcore. A nice way to bridge old and new.

Dpullam

#11

Dpullam said:

This is probably the first Kirby game in a long time that I am genuinely interested in playing. It looks like good fun, and I can imagine spending quite a few hours messing around with the extra modes this game includes. Especially the Super Smash Bros style fighting mode.

RetroRider

#12

RetroRider said:

Hmm... This game is certainly starting to get tempting. But I'm not going to be waiting much for the game but rather with a full review. There is still a lot of other games on my list

KimimiStaff

#14

Kimimi said:

Hold the presses! A lovely chap on Twitter has kindly informed that it does mean "Big Bang", even though it's written "Big Ban". My problem was that as I understood the "Big" part I only looked up "Ban" in dictionaries, when I should have checked the complete term - my fault, and mystery solved! :D

Rin-go

#16

Rin-go said:

@Kimimi
It is Japanese for Big Bang, though, is what I wanted to write, but someone else told you, so just ignore my comment. ^^;

Nice avatar, by the way. May I ask where it's from?

KimimiStaff

#18

Kimimi said:

@Rin-go Like I said - it's my fault for going "Big?" I know "Big" - so what's "Ban?" and then never thinking to search for the whole term XD

My avatar's a character from the Chinese PC RPG Gu Jian Qi Tan 2 :)

GuSolarFlare

#19

GuSolarFlare said:

why there's no release date YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!
can't wait, it's Kirby!!!!!!!!!!!!! my first game ever was Kirby 64! but with or without nostalgia Kirby is No.1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(especially because Pokémon catches me on nostalgia far more than Kirby, even before having the game I used to watch the cartoon)

LexKitteh

#20

LexKitteh said:

Lol. Yes, in Japanese his new ability is pronounced and written as "Big Ban", but it actually does mean "Big Bang". An English trailer had revealed the localized version of the ability will be called "Hypernova" instead.

Yosher

#21

Yosher said:

As a Yoshi fan, it kind of saddens me that Kirby gets such great platformers, yet the moment Yoshi finally gets another, it just seems way too mediocre.

Of course that won't stop me from having fun with Kirby's games, though!

Artwark

#23

Artwark said:

@Warruz hold on man! Whatever makes you think that this game won't do well? And even if it does due to some nostalgia reasons or whatnot, Its still waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy better than Lost World on 3DS (Sorry Sonic but that's the truth. :()

brandonbwii

#24

brandonbwii said:

It's amazing how many people are dissing Yoshi's New Island before playing it (I'm looking at you @Yosher)

At first I wasn't too excited for the new Kirby game as Return to Dreamland was merely okay. Then I watched The Bit Block on GoNintendo now I'm all hype.

Rin-go

#26

Rin-go said:

@Kimimi
It's fine. ^^ I mean, biggu ban is kinda weird, because one would likely expect it to be biggu bangu instead.

I don't game on PC, but I might look into it. The picture looks nice, at least.
Thank you. ^^

AdanVC

#27

AdanVC said:

I'm so sad knowing how long we have to wait till we can finally play this. Dat vague 2014 release date makes me think we would have it at least on summer or later :'( Looks so awesome and fun.

Undead_terror

#29

Undead_terror said:

The kirby smash bros looks really fun, the Dedede dash on the other hand wouldn't be the game seller to me.

64supermario

#30

64supermario said:

For some reason I have never been excited for Kirby games. Don't get me wrong when I play them I usually love them...but for some reason I just can't get hyped up. I plan on buying this though, maybe my no hype will let me go into it and enjoy it even more :P

Kirk

#31

Kirk said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again; Nintendo seems to be putting more effort into polishing and fully realizing every area of it's last few Kirby games than it's last few Mario games, clearly because Kirby is Iwata's baby and he runs the company, and I just wish it would do the same with it's Mario games.

The latest New Super Mario Bros and even Super Mario 3D World games, while definitely great fun, simply haven't got levels and indeed overall game designs that are as well realized OVERALL as this 3DS game (I mean there's not even proper 3D backgrounds in Super Mario 3D World. Everything is just basically obstacle courses floating in mostly empty space). It was the same with the quality of execution and level or overall polish in Kirby's Epic Yarn too, irrespective of what you thought of that particular game (personally, I loved it).

I still prefer the actual controls and fundamental gameplay design of the Mario games, there's just something more satisfying about the fundamental gameplay in those games, but I wish they'd put this level of polish and all-round realization into them.

I want the next New Mario Bros game at the very least to look basically just like this, with fully 3D graphics in a perfectly realized 2.5D design and traditional 2D gameplay, camera and controls.

Yosher

#32

Yosher said:

@brandonbwii Believe me, I'm probably one of those who'll get super excited for a Yoshi game before anyone else. Yoshi is my favourite character, I loved most of his previous games, but Yoshi's New Island just looks unfinished from what I've seen. It doesn't look nearly as solid as the previous two Yoshi's Island games. I do hope I'll be wrong when I actually play the game though, because the game is still on top of my radar, and I really want Yoshi to get another game that's at the level of the original, or at least close to it!

Kirk

#33

Kirk said:

@Yosher

Yoshi's New Island looks like a shopped-out, hastily thrown together, C-Team effort to me. I don't have high hopes for it in the slightest.

TruenoGT

#34

TruenoGT said:

Every time I see this game I pine for Virtual Boy Wario Land! The 3D level mechanic in that was so great, and makes me really anticipate the new Kirby. Mutant Mudds didn't do much for me, so hopefully this game finally capitalizes on multi-depth levels for 3DS.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#36

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

I'm really excited for this. Partly because Nintendo kept it secret for so long and then sprung it on us out of nowhere, and partly because the gameplay mechanics in Kirby games have always been some of my favorite in all games. What they do with the 3D in this game looks truly amazing as well!

Gioku

#37

Gioku said:

I am pumped for Kirby fighters! My body is ready, Nintendo!

Bring me the Kirby!

PvtOttobot

#38

PvtOttobot said:

OMGosh!!!! I just saw an add 4 da XBONE!!!! 4 games?!? 2 on X-box 360?!?! A compulsory camera that spys on you 24/7?!!?? Only £430 w/out games?!?!?!? Screw Nintendo.
NB: This isn't random, I saw this in the bottom video on this article!

unrandomsam

#43

unrandomsam said:

At 50% of the required framerate. (I like Kirby's Adventure quite a lot much more than I expected to.) Nintendo proved with A Link Between Worlds they can do 60fps so they now have no excuse not to. Premium price deserves a premium product.

Kirk

#48

Kirk said:

@Gioku @GuSilverFlame

Kirby was created at HAL Laboratory where Iwata was the former president, as well as software producer before that, and he was directly involved with the creation of the Kirby games long before he ever moved to Nintendo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoru_Iwata

Kirby is definitely his baby (as are any HAL games that were made when he was part of the company), far more so than any Nintendo first party games, because it's from the first company he worked for, presided over and it is a game project he was directly involved in the creation of.

Kirby, one of the most all-round highly polished games on the 3DS and now with a Smash Bros inspired bonus fighting mode too (Smash Bros was also created by HAL Laboratory). Just think about that for a second...

It's absolutely clear to me that Iwata is making sure Kirby has been given a major push at Nintendo into the position of one of it's main/lead franchise characters ever since he took on the role of president there. The consistent extremely high production quality and level of polish on the recent Kirby games is clearly a reflection of him making sure the team gets all the Nintendo resources it needs to create the best Kirby games it possibly can and to turn Kirby into the key Nintendo character he obviously wants him to be (and at this point probably is).

Personally, I think Iwata sees the Kirby games as being as high a priority as any other franchise in Nintendo's library, certainly in terms of the resources he's clearly assigning to the teams creating these recent Kirby games, even though they've clearly never sold anywhere near as many units as most of Nintendo's other big characters and franchise games.

Gioku

#51

Gioku said:

Oh, and apparently, rather than Big Bang, it's Hypernova in the English translation. Just a heads up. ;)

NintyMan

#52

NintyMan said:

Triple Deluxe does look like a lot of fun, and maybe even better than Return to Dreamland, which is one of my favorite Kirby games. A release date is one of my biggest requests for the next Nintendo Direct!

HandheldGuru97

#53

HandheldGuru97 said:

Looks AMAZING not the biggest fan of Kirby, but I do love the games I have played. If Yoshi's New Island isn't to hot I might look into this sooner. If Yoshi is good then this may have to wait a while...:(

eLarkos

#54

eLarkos said:

@Kirk This doesn't take away from your point but kirby is most certainly Sakurai's baby -
"...include Masahiro Sakurai, who created the Kirby character and the Super Smash Bros. franchise".

Thats taken from the HAL wiki

JaxonH

#55

JaxonH said:

@brandonbwii

I know right? Yoshi's New Island has already been rejected by half the fanbase and it's not even out, nor are there any reviews out either. Reminds me of Super Mario 3D World all over again.

I'm buying Yoshi's New Island AND Kirby's Triple Deluxe day one. I actually think YNI looks great from what I've seen so far. I see nothing bland about it. It actually looks very vibrant and colorful, and most importantly, fun.

Gioku

#56

Gioku said:

@JaxonH I'm (planning on hopefully) getting Yoshi's New Island and Kirby: Triple Deluxe on launch day, too! :D

...I'm kinda obligated to get Kirby: Triple Deluxe 'cause of the work I do at the Kirby Wiki, but I'm excited for Yoshi, too! :D

King_Johobo

#57

King_Johobo said:

DAYMMM Kirby you lookin good! This'll be great in 3D :) Btw I wish it WAS "Big Man" because that's an excellent way to describe Kirby's (a pink ball with eyes..I'm still not sure what he is?) persona haha xD

Kirk

#60

Kirk said:

@unrandomsam

Possibly but I'm still convinced it's because Iwata is properly checking in on these Kirby games on a personal level and making sure they are done right and to the highest level of overall polish and realization they possibly can be.

He clearly respects the Mario games too, as I'm sure he does all Nintendo's games, but Mario is not his baby and whoever is making these Mario games clearly doesn't have quite same high standards when it comes to overall polish and realization as the Kirby guys do, under the watchful eye of Iwata imo.

Kirk

#62

Kirk said:

@eLarkos

Yeah but my point is that the highest up man in the company obviously has a personal invested interests in making sure these Kirby games are getting all the resources available to make them the most polished games possible and imo to the point that they are now ending up more all-round polished and well realized than even the new Mario games.

MAYBE even at a slight cost to the overall level of polish and realization of those Mario games because clearly some of Nintendo's very best talent is now on the Kirby games rather than Nintendo's flagship titles (although obviously the Mario games also have some of the other best talent in the company working on them too)...

It's certainly not a bad thing that these new Kirby games are so highly polished and well realized all-round. I simply wish the new Mario games were too.

Kirby is most definitely Iwata's baby though. Regardless of who else thinks of Kirby as their baby too. More than one person can think of a creation as their baby.

Nomad

#63

Nomad said:

Wow, three times more fun. That sounds really really fun. I mean I've played some fun games on the 3DS, but this just sounds like the funnest fun game to ever have fun with.

Zodiak13

#64

Zodiak13 said:

I have sadly never really got into the Kirby games, but its not because they're bad games by any means. Guess its just not my thing. My son does enjoy the Kirby series, so I will likely get this at some point and give it a try. From what the preview states, all you Kirby fanatics should have a great time, and that makes me look forward to the US/Europe relase for you folks alone.

WaveyChristmas

#65

WaveyChristmas said:

This will no doubt refresh the kirby series, seeing as how this is in stereoscopic 3D and all. I'm actually really looking forward to this and this is coming from somebody who typically wouldn't give traditional kirby the time of day, well...that's only half true! :P Visuals and texture/lighting look amazing and are actually a tep up from those found in the Wii's RTDL. :o

Yosher

#68

Yosher said:

@64supermario We haven't seen much of that one yet, though I still feel more excited about that one and as things are now, I'm really much more hopeful for that one over Yoshi's New island. I look forward to both games, but from what we've seen Yarn Yoshi is higher on my list.

Nintendo_Ninja

#70

Nintendo_Ninja said:

The Kirby series is a fantastic series. I'll probably either pick this up myself, or my sister will get it and I'll borrow it.

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