Kirby is one of Nintendo’s staple character, and also probably the cutest. He’s a bubbly pink ball of puff. He lives in a whimsical world filled with whacky creatures… and I couldn’t help but eat them all.
If you’re living in a cave (or just don’t play Nintendo games in general) then here’s something you should know about the titular hero: Kirby sucks. Literally. He sucks everything down his vacuum of a mouth. See a block? He sucks that. See a fruit? He sucks that. See an enemy? He just goes and sucks everything/everyone he sees.
When sucking an enemy, Kirby will then be able to discharge the creature out into star weapons. He can also just choose to devour its whole essence, giving Kirby its powers and abilities.
That’s the whole concept of Kirby.
Kirby Star Allies adds a new element to the whole spitting/swallowing mechanic: sharing. Star Allies lets you summon and throw a Friend Heart into some enemies, turning them into your helpers. Helpers can then be controlled by your real life friends by giving them joycons and pressing the SR/SL button. However, if you don’t have any of these so-called ‘friends’, the helpers can be ai-controlled as well.
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Platforms Available: Nintendo Switch
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Release Date: March 16, 2018
This review is based on a retail copy purchased by the reviewer.
The first time you get any helper, you’ll notice how bloodthirsty they are. As long as you have one AI-controlled ally by your side, have no fret when an enemy comes close. Your ally will kill the creature in the blink of an eye, not even giving you a chance to inhale the poor villain away from their clutches.
Kirby’s friends here just immediately go for the enemies and kill them mercilessly. MERCILESSLY. Enemies aren’t even the only ones to get murdered. Even the grass does, too. No matter how brutal they are, though, they always kiss you when possible to restore your health. You can even kiss them, too. Granted if you have a healing item and their health bars took a hit.
Star Allies really slaps you in the face with the concept of friendship.
Pressing up activates ‘friend abilities’. Friend Abilities is when your allies share their abilities with you. They do this by stabbing/hitting you with their weapons, sharing their elemental powers. Press the up button longer and your helpers will hold their hands up. You can then do the same to them, sharing the element you have.
Friend Abilities matter for every character, though. The beetle friend, Bugzzy, for example, lets him throw everyone, destroying everything in their path. You can even try experimenting different weapon types and elements for great surprises.
Kirby and his little helpers can even join up and be what they call a “Friend Train/Bridge/Circle/Star”. But only when you can find a “Friend Platform”. Each of these transformations can be their own mini-games. It’s a shame they’re rarely used, as they can really spice up the gameplay. Friend Star, for example, turns the game into a shoot-em-up.
Though some may argue that it would take more challenge to play solo as Kirby, going through with three allies gives you the full experience. However, when you get tired of all those little helpers following Kirby, you can quickly evaporate them into thin air by pressing L+R+Y. Sometimes friends can be too much, right?
Kirby Star Allies’ campaign is short. With only four worlds to explore, you can be done with it by eight to ten hours. The replayability though is limitless. After completing the main story, new modes open up, like an insane arena-type mode called Ultimate Choice. Choose the hardest difficulty (Soul Melter) and try to beat everything without throwing your Switch across the room. I dare you.
As sweet as the visuals look, everything else in Star Allies is so easy. How easy? You’d get a one-up during the first few minutes of the game. No worries here, though. Kirby games aren’t known for their difficulty.
There are hidden easter eggs and funny details here and there. The first one I noticed was the way the HD Rumble rumbles when Kirby inhales something/someone. Walking with his mouth full makes you feel the vibrations on Kirby’s tummy. Jumping makes it feel like the enemies inside Kirby are bouncing off his stomach walls.
Just wait until you get to the post-game levels. You’ll be surprised by what the HD Rumble can even do. *wink
Kirby Star Allies is a chill game. Its campaign doesn’t require that much challenge, and it isn’t for everyone. But Star Allies will surely charm its way into your hearts. So when you get the chance to be Kirby, what will you do when you suck your enemy? Spit or swallow?