Writing a beginner's guide for Kirby Star Allies almost feels like a practical joke. That's how easy it is. But while writing our guides for the special picture piece and big switch locations, we realised that there are some of you that don't like to be walked through everything and just want a few tips on what to look out for so you can find the secrets yourself.

This guide is for you then, as it pretty much covers best practice for finding secrets. We've included a few general tips as well to help give you a smoother ride.

Get to grips with the controls

While most of the controls are pretty straightforward, there are a few techniques that are never really explained. It just so happens that these techniques will actually drastically speed up the experience for you.

Dash it all

The best of these is dash, which you can pull off by pressing the left analog stick twice in the direction you want to move. Not only does this make Kirby move faster, but it often leads to his most devastating moves when using a copy ability.

Sliding kick

You'd be forgiven for thinking naked (?) Kirby's only defence against enemies is to inhale and spit them out. Wrong! Kirby actually has a sliding kick attack that can kill most grounded enemies. Simply press down on the left analog and then A to pull it off.

Piggyback

Did you know you can take control of a CPU friend by jumping on top of them and pressing down on the left analog? Well, you do now! This allows you to take control of them completely, using their full retinue of abilities.

Team attacks

Team attacks only seem to work with a real life friend, rather than the AI. You have to first piggyback your friend, then both hold down L and R. Then, if you release at exactly the same time you'll pull off a powerful team attack.

Flappy Kirby

Kirby diehards will know this one already, but for newcomers you can hold the jump button while flying to continuously flap upwards. This isn't Flappy Bird – you don't have to hammer the jump button to stay airborne.

Actually, on that note, you actually do have to do just that if you end up riding on certain friend's backs. Meta Knight, for example, uses the Flappy Bird method to stay in the air. Be careful you don't accidentally fall off the edge of the level by holding A. 

We totally never did that. Honest!

The environment reacts to you

You'll probably figure this out yourself eventually, but keep an eye on the environment as it reacts to you. See a patch of grass? Try cutting it with a bladed weapon. Pile of leaves? Use the broom to clean them up! It's worth doing this, as there are usually goodies to find hiding inside them like lives, stars, and fruit.

Elemental effects also work. You can burn grass with fire, put out fires with water, or clear up leaves with wind. You can even use it in smarter ways, like using electric attacks on water for a much wider radius. Mess about with it. If you think something will work, chances are it will and you'll get rewarded for it. 

Don't ignore the Dream Fortress

Seriously, if you're a diehard Kirby fan the Dream Fortress is by far the best feature of the game. Here, you can recruit a Dream Friend to help you out. These are particularly powerful allies that you'll recognise from the franchise. That's all we'll say right now, because we want you to enjoy the surprise for yourself!

How to find special picture pieces and big switches

If you don't just want to follow our walkthroughs, here are a few tips on how to find the secret stuff in Kirby Star Allies.

Obstacles

There are two important things to bear in mind when looking for a secret item. The first is the enemies and environmental obstacles littered through each level. You'll quickly spot a running theme and, in most cases, finding the secret item requires mastery of it.

As an example, you might find a level with a bunch of fire enemies. Then, you'll start coming across enemies with shields made of pure ice. If you've been paying attention, you'll already have the fire attacks ready to deal with them when you come across the secret area hidden behind a block of ice.

Later, things will get an awful lot more elaborate, but if you pay close attention to the simple solutions dotted throughout the levels, you should be prepared for the bigger challenge waiting later.

Hiding in plain sight

The second is a more obvious suggestion, and that's to keep an eye out on the scenery for anything that could be hiding a secret. Maybe there's a secret door you can't quite reach, a broken section of wall you need to break, or environmental obstacles like burning wood or blocks of ice.

Big switches or secret picture pieces are usually hiding in plain sight, inside a secret door or behind stuff you can break. Occasionally, there's even a secret door behind a thing you can break! Just explore every single nook and cranny and you should have no trouble finding everything.

Did you find our Kirby Star Allies guide helpful? Be sure to leave comments with feedback, and your thoughts on the game itself, below...