(GBA / Game Boy Advance)

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (GBA / Game Boy Advance)

Game Review

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn


For the most part, not much has changed about the Kirby series — many of its titles are fairly straightforward platformers in which your main ability is to suck up enemies and acquire their powers. It's not until somewhat recently that the development teams started trying different things, and one can certainly make a case saying that Kirby & The Amazing Mirror was one of the first games to truly do so.

At its core, this is still quite similar to a traditional Kirby game. The pink fluffball still has the power to steal enemies' moves, after which he can use them against their original owners, and he has his usual move set that includes slide attacks, the power of flight and more. However, the rest of the game is a bit different from its predecessors — this time, you don't go through relatively short levels one by one, rather, you explore one giant, interconnected world divided into several areas, not unlike a certain other Nintendo series which features a female bounty hunter.

The game's many areas are not simply a collection of small, easy rooms you can quickly run through — each of them features several puzzles, alternate paths and secrets to discover; there are many times where you will need a particular ability to progress, which can lead to frequent backtracking. Each area also has several mini-bosses, but you'll have to find and defeat the main boss in each area to truly clear it and get one step closer to unlocking the grand finale.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work as well as you might imagine. Although there is a hub world which is connected to many of the other areas, it's not actually connected to all of them — you'll have to take unnecessarily long, confusing paths through other areas when it could've been as simple as having a locked door in the hub open upon defeating a boss.

Backtracking can also be quite frustrating, as many of the rooms tend to blend together; they don't have particularly interesting features and can thus be hard to find your way back to. There is a map which should make this easier, but in practice it's not particularly useful, as it resembles nothing more than a bunch of squares connected with lines.

On top of the Metroid-esque gameplay, there are also a few other additions. An expected — though ultimately minor — inclusion is the addition of a few new abilities; making their début here are Cupid, Missile, and Smash, which all, regretfully, have since barely made any appearances. The Smash ability is particularly cool, as it gives Kirby his Super Smash Bros. move set and can be acquired from an enemy that might be familiar.

Another addition which is — or at least was — more important is the cell phone, which Kirby can pull out any time to call some friends over; these make their appearance in the form of differently coloured Kirby clones. Unfortunately, this feature is practically completely useless in the Wii U Virtual Console release, as it was largely intended for local multiplayer with other GBA owners.

Originally, when playing multiplayer, each player would get to control a Kirby, and all of them could either work together or go off their own way and do whatever they wanted, even being able to go to completely opposite ends of the game world. You can still summon some AI-controlled Kirbys, but it's just not the same — they're as dumb as a bag of bricks and will rarely, if ever, do what you want them to, which can lead to much frustration. Similarly to Kirby Super Star, this game also includes a few simple minigames, but just like the cell phone these were largely intended for multiplayer, meaning you won't get a whole lot out of them.

One area which Kirby games almost always excel in is graphics and music, and Amazing Mirror is no exception, with the expected cute, colourful characters, locales and catchy tunes. It is largely in part to this usual Kirby charm that this game is still decently enjoyable.


While the Metroid-esque gameplay is a refreshing change of pace for the Kirby series and works well in some parts, it also fails in others. The Metroid games have backtracking as well, yes, but it's not nearly as frequent and annoying as it is here. While the multiplayer features of the original release were optional, it can't be denied that the game was at least somewhat built around the multiple Kirby aspect, making it an absolutely shame that none of those features can really be enjoyed in this release. As it stands, this is still a moderately enjoyable Kirby title, but there are plenty of other, better alternatives out there.

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User Comments (51)



Warruz said:

I also did not care for the "find the right door to advance" system in that kirby because you had to simply do the level over again then just turn around.



PikminWorld said:

@Warruz Ikr? I haven't played it in a while due to the fact that I have no idea where to go, I've gone through every main door at least once again and found nothing to help advance.



ManateeBlubber said:

Since I love Kirby, I'm getting it anyway. Also, am I weird because I see some Kirby games as really difficult?



ueI said:

I consider this game better than Dream Land 3, but your review admittedly justifies a 6/10.



cornishlee said:

Nintendo should release Kirby's Return To Dream Land for Wii U. That game's as rare as anything in the West so most people, myself included, still haven't had a chance to play it.



NintyMan said:

I played this on the 3DS as an Ambassador gift, but I honestly wasn't impressed. Sure, it looks and sounds nice, but the backtracking was tedious and confusing, which is not a good combination. Not that it was a major minus, but it's a little disappointing that King Dedede doesn't appear at all in this game, which is surprising considering he's been in every other Kirby game, while Meta Knight plays a major role. It's not a bad game, but it does have notable flaws.



Kirby_Girl said:

Haha, I like Amazing Mirror. I love games I can get totally lost in and explore. I actually really enjoyed Great Cave Offensive and Sub Space Emissary, too. My favorite Kirby game is Super Star but this was a nice break that still felt connected. I actually didn't even realize there was a map for this game until I fiddled with it later on. Of course by then I just needed about 2 more pieces for the mirror. The Final Boss is a fun fight too.



bezerker99 said:

I've had it for two years now as an Ambassador on my 3ds but have yet to play it once.



blackknight77 said:

I got very confused with this game. I love the graphics but I still prefer Kirby's Adventure and Superstar



Volmun said:

@Swiket same here its still one of my all time Favourites defiantly my Favourite Portable Kirby game (sofar) and id say Kirby Adventurer Wii (Return to Dreamland for the US) is my Favourite home consul game



luke88 said:

@PikminWorld I got it as an ambassador game and thought I was being dense; glad to know it is really is confusing and it wasn't just me missing something.



TruenoGT said:

@luke88 Thirded, same boat here. It was confusing in a frustrating way, not a fun, exploration way and I just couldn't get into it.



Geonjaha said:

While this game can get a little irritating if you attempt to complete every path I'll still not understand why this game gets bashed so much. It's one of my favourite Kirby games and one of the only ones that doesn't bore me to death. The multiplayer back in the day was awesome as well (A shame as always that it isn't on the VC version though).



sketchturner said:

I love Nintendo Life with a passion but there are two game reviews I strongly disagree with and this is one of them. (The other is JFG). After your GBA review of this game rated it so lowly, I was hoping you would rectify yourselves by having a new appreciation for the game on WiiU. Oh well...



paburrows said:

So why is this review released, but we haven't gotten the Thurday releases article yet?



AG_Awesome said:

A great concept with TERRIBLE implementation. The thing that was great about Metroid is that as you progress you get new items to use so that backtracking made sense. This game just has arbitrary maps and pick ups filled with bland environments and terrible trial and error back tracking. 4/10 from me. Worst Kirby Ever



Volmun said:

@sketchturner every time I tryed they refused to in-hail on the huge blocks so = no 100% it was very rare they would actually do it when I often used the phone to get them they would try fir a split second then run off (this is on Both GBA and 3DS) *there is about 5 or 6 places you need them to help you move a giant rock to get to the Chest = 100%



pukka-pie said:

You know what gets me, and still gets me... Any game with ANY backtracking anywhere at all and critics come down on it like a hammer... but Metroid Prime has the absolute most back tracking of any game in the history of video gaming and no-one ever mentions it... ever! A bit off topic maybe but it is total hypocrisy!



Kid_A said:

I could never quite get into this one, but I know it has a following. Kirby, for being so cute and "safe," probably has the most divisive games of any of Nintendo's franchises. Kirby Air Ride, Epic Yarn and 64 are all either the worst or best games ever depending who you ask.
I probably need to give Mirror another shot, is what I'm saying.



SparkOfSpirit said:

This is one of my least favorite Kirby games and I'm a fan of both Kirby games and Metroidvania style games. This one has never quite worked for me.



Auracle said:

Gee, I didn't think Amazing Mirror was that bad. I love it, personally. I remember playing this game for hours as a kid. It was always so thrilling to discover a new mirror and find a new place.
Granted, I did get lost more than a few times, but that's because I didn't understand the map very well back then. Besides, I still got 100% in the end.



FriedSquid said:

Said it before, I'll say it again. Worst Kirby game ever. Definitely one of the most disappointing choices they could make for the VC, as having no multiplayer makes the game even less enjoyable.



Anguspuss said:

itsssssssss kirby so cute nooooooooo please stop me hitting the purchess icon.
To late now have some annoying catchy tune running around my head all weekend.
Damn you Kirby



RR529 said:

Ooh, that's too bad, as I really liked this one.

I have it on my 3DS, and while I couldn't get into it at first (even deleted it), the second time I tried it I really enjoyed it.

Yeah, the map is pretty lame & not all that helpful, so it's not perfect, but I honestly didn't find exploring the world to be all that difficult, and I became addicted to finding all the alternate paths. Also, the backtracking isn't nearly as bad as the review made it out to be, because there are mirrors scattered throughout the world (2 in each area) that directly connect to the main hub room (a fact conveniently ignored in the review). Also, other than the first area, you can complete all the areas in any order you desire, making it one of the most non-linear games I've ever played (even moreso than some Metroid games), which is really cool.



FJOJR said:

Nintendo's complete lack of effort to include multiplayer neutered this one. They were able to do it with the Four Swords Anniversary Edition, why not do the same with all these other games? Makes me wary of the DS VC that's coming up.



unrandomsam said:

@FJOJR Even more so because there is no way M2 couldn't do it the only possible answer is Nintendo specifically didn't want it. (3 players / 3 cores / 2 gamepad's and the TV). If they can do it for Gamegear with 2 3DS's they can do it.



AkinaChan said:

This game is hit and miss for me. Sometimes I get into it, and sometimes I get bored and move on to something else. Looking forward to seeing this on the Gamepad though :3



HappyHappyist said:

never liked kirby, getting this as an ambassador did not impress me. i just am not a fan of the series, nothing i can do about what i like and don't like.



SecondServing said:

Wow, this is Kirby blasphemy. This game was amazing I guess, even funner with the 4 player co-op though. Can't wait for Kirby Triple Deluxe!



Jeremyx7 said:

One of the superior kirby games by far! Played every single kirby game except for the latest one on wii and this is by far one of the most creative, intricate, fun, and vast kirby games to date. There are more than enough portals, shortcuts, and multiple pathways to take that makes the game feel more interconnected than the review is making it seem here.

The amount of content of enemies, secrets, rooms, pathways, power-ups, worlds, and surprises is what makes this game incredibly fun to explore & replay in different ways. Strongly disagree with this review as every supposed negative that I read was never apparent in my experience with this game. Not even once. There is no hand holding in this game which is why some probably can't get into it as much but that is why I absolutely love it! It allows me to explore on my own terms.

Personally I would give this game a 9.7/10. It's that good to me!!



Jeremyx7 said:

@allav866 You should definitely try this game out for yourself. Don't let this one reviewer's opinion discourage you. This game has received generally positive reviews by most critics and even higher reviews by everyone else.

If you like Zelda, Metroid, and Kirby games you cannot go wrong with this game!



Action51 said:

I always felt Kirby was a bit too easy and geared to a younger set where Mario was fun for all ages and Donkey Kong Country was the "hardcore" plat former from Nintendo.



Uberchu said:

1/10 for being Wii U VC and not 3DS VC!

And I love this game too much. D: (Sorry old friend!)



Mikes said:

I also have this game on my 3DS as an Ambassador. I never really got into it.



garfreek said:

First time I really don't agree with a review from N-life!
The exploration was a lot of fun and the game was really chalenging. There is so much to unlock, but the map shows you where to find those treasures so the emphasis is how do I get to those treasures.

I traded the game for my warioware copy back then (it wasn't worth the 50+ bucks I had to smooch over for it). I never regretted it, the game kept me comming back for months!



Plasma_3 said:

I was going to get this, saw it was on the 3DS as well, and then saw that apparently the review says the game isn't that good, and the 3DS was for ambassadors. I still wish I had got my 3DS in time for that program.

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