Kirby, the pink, floaty, fluffy, ball of dangerous cuteness is back once again on Nintendo 3DS. This time, Pop Star is under attack by a new mechanical threat, but even if Kirby looks cute on the outside, we all know that if you even accidentally knock him down, it’ll come right back at ya! Absorb abilities, save Pop Star, and kick butt in the new robot armour in Kirby: Planet Robobot for 3DS.
Will Kirby: Planet Robobot shine for Pop Star, or does it come with a rusted exterior. Find out in our review, after the break!
Kirby: Planet Robobbot
Nintendo 3DS Family Systems
Developed by HAL Laboratory
Published by Nintendo
Released: 10th June 2016 (EU/NA)
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Screenshots/Art Courtesy of Nintendo
While Kirby is taking a snooze under his favourite tree, a planet size spaceship, known as the Access Arc, towers over Pop Star, anchoring onto the planet with its robust legs. Both King Dedede and Meta Knight attempt to overthrow this unknown threat, however both are thwarted fairly quickly. When Kirby wakes up from his seemingly deep sleep, he realises that the whole of Pop Star has become mechanised, even several enemies from past adventures have brand new robotic egos. It is up to Kirby to find out why Pop Star is being invaded, who is behind it, and stop them once and for all.
The gameplay is very similar to that of Kirby: Triple Deluxe, so those who enjoyed Kirby’s 3DS debut will be pleased that Plante Robobot has the same solid gameplay. Planet Robobot lets you utilise over 25 different transformations to blast through various foes throughout your adventure, most of which are abilities which you may have seen in the past, such as Sword Kirby, Stone Kirby, and Circus Kirby. There are also three brand new abilities: Doctor, Poison, and ESP.
The Doctor ability turns Kirby into a qualified GP where he can prescribe pain in the form of little pills. If the prescription is too weak, you could also mix up a brew of your own medicine which is sure to freeze the hottest action, or warm up the nastiest frostbite, and if all else fails, you could just whack ’em with your trusty clipboard. The Poison ability grants you the power of the most toxic substances. Create a slimy toxic trail in an instant, or you could even puff out a toxic cloud of toxicness! Finally, the ESP ability may give you a serious case of deja vu. Much like Ness, Kirby now can harness the power of ESP. Disappear in an instant to get out of a sticky situation. Levitate for a long period of time to catch some air. You even create balls of concentrated power, to hit enemies and switches from afar.
The range of abilities adds great variety to the gameplay, it also adds some new possibilities for the many mini-puzzles you encounter throughout your journey. Speaking of puzzles, though there really isn’t anything that you are likely to get really stumped on, there may be times where you will scratch your head for a moment to figure out how to compose yourself, especially the puzzles which require a certain ability to be used. Sometimes you’ll even have to control a little robot in the background at the same time as controlling Kirby to get certain collectables.
What really separates Planet Robobot from Triple Deluxe is how Kirby can now enter a robotic armour to gain more powerful attacks and to affect the environment around him. Quite often you’ll find bolts and screws which you can twist and turn with your in-built screwdriver and wrench. These can cause various effects such as dissembling platforms, rotating platforms, and moving platforms between the foreground and background. One puzzle has you dissembling platforms at the right timings to direct a spark on a wire to get from one end to the other. There are also several mini-bosses which require the robot suit too. One has you unscrewing his hands and his head; I always knew he was a screwball!
That’s not all! Kirby’s robot armour can also scan several enemies to add more abilities to your arsenal. You can give yourself a giant chainsaw, a flamethrower, and even a massive parasol drill! Try scanning a wheel or jet enemy, and your robot armour will transform into a giant wheel and a jet plane respectively. The wheel hand you control over some high speed action where you can transition between the background and foreground at will, whereas the jet places you into a auto-scrolling shoot-em-up gameplay. Both transformations add a breath of fresh air with the new gameplay options, it’s just a shame that only a couple areas take advantage of this, it would be nice if there were one or two more levels with the jet and wheel robot armour transformations.
Planet Robobot spans six unique worlds, as per usual, the first world is mostly the basic grassland area, but after that there are some fantastic and unique themes. There are levels which take place on a wind train ride, other levels place you on moonlit roads with springy musical notes, some will have you skating on lollies, and there are even levels which take place entirely in, what seems to be, an electronic security system! Unfortunately, you shouldn’t expect much of a challenge getting through the main story until the last two worlds, but the vibrant aesthetics, cute charm, and fantastic level design almost make up for that. The boss fights are definitely some to remember too, especially the long yet satisfying finale… but I won’t spoil it for you!
Code Cubes replace the Sun Stones from Triple Deluxe in Planet Robobot. Each regular stage will contain three code cubes, and a small amount is needed to take the road to the boss of the area. These usually aren’t the hardest to find, though later on in the game it may require you to become more vigilant. Once you have collected all the cubes from a world, you then unlock and extra level to test your skills further. What can be difficult to find however are the stickers, which replace the keychains from Triple Deluxe. The regular stickers can be easier difficult to find, though you will have to really explore levels to find the rare stickers. The stickers are a throwback to previous games as they often denote the various characters and enemies you have encountered in the past. What is pretty cool is the fact that you can stick two stickers onto your robot armour, though this is just for looks and don’t add anything special. It would be pretty cool if the stickers could add new abilities and powers, but perhaps that will come in a future game.
Planet Robobot also introduces Amiibo support to Kirby games. Tapping the Kirby Amiibo (either from the Smash Bros. or Kirby collection) will give you the rare Smash ability. This ability allows you to use almost all attacks you can use as Kirby from Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS. Tapping any other Amiibo will either grant you an ability based on that character (for example, the Mario Amiibo will grant you the fire ability), or a random ability. you can use almost all available Amiibo in Planet Robobot.
There are several other things to do if you need a break from the story mode as there are two smaller modes that are unlocked from the get-go: Kirby 3D Rumble, and Team Kirby Clash. Kirby 3D Rumble transports you into a isometric 3D environment where you are tasked with defeating hordes of enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible to get the highest score. You are scored on combos (how many enemies you can defeat before getting hurt or missing an enemy with a Bullet Star), and how quickly you defeat all the enemies. Though there are only three levels, you may find yourself spending quite a bit of time perfecting your score, especially in the last stage.
Team Kirby Clash is a mini game that adds a dash of RPG elements to the fray. The mode pits you (and up to there other friends or AI players) against several bosses, which are essentially beefed up versions of the regular enemies scattered around the Robobot Pop Star. There are four different classes of kirby you can choose to be: Sword Hero, Hammer Lord, Dr. Healmore, or Beam Mage. Each class has their own abilities (much like the transformations from the main game) and they can also be levelled up the more you fight. Though you could easily fly through the five stages in less than an hour, it can still be fun to try and beat your best time, it’s also useful to repeat previous stages to make future ones easier to tackle. Best of all, the multiplayer can take place through both local and download play, so you don’t all need a copy of the game to play!
There are two other modes which are unlocked after you have completed the main mode: Meta Knightmare Returns, and The Arena. Meta Knightmare Returns is probably one of the more enjoyable extra modes of Planet Robobot. During this mode, Kirby is resting up after his long adventure while Meta Knight takes his place to repeat it, though this time there are several changes. All the levels are intertwined together, meaning you literally have to tackle each level one after the other, though there are several rest stops to take a break. There are very few recovery items to be picked up, so you have to be extra careful on how you progress through the worlds. Collecting power orbs will fill a meter on the bottom screen, depending on how many you have collected will allow you to touch an icon to perform a powerful attack or to heal yourself. Finally, you are unable to absorb any enemies or obtain any abilities, and each boss is twice as powerful as their story mode counterpart. This is a great mode as it can really ramp up the difficulty of the game, and it also makes you tackle the game in a different way. Instead of being focused on exploring and finding every nook and cranny, you’ll have to try and get from A to B as quickly as possible, try to beat your best time and compare them on Miiverse and through StreetPass!
Finally, the Arena acts as the game’s boss rush mode. You get to choose any of the 27 abilities from the beginning and then you are tasked to off every boss from story mode, including the mini-bosses. You have to defeat each boss after the other, and between each battle you are rewarded with a small recovery item and a random ability, for if you want to use a different set of attacks or if you lost your last ability in battle. You may even receive a sticker. This can especially become thought towards the end, but do your best to defeat them all in the least amount of time, then you can compare the times with people on Miiverse and StreePass.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and it is clear that HAL had this in mind while developing Kirby: Planet Robobot. Planet Robobot builds on the same great gameplay and charm from Triple Deluxe with plenty more scoops of goodness on top. The new abilities are great fun to play around with it, and the robot armour adds plenty more depth to the gameplay. The brilliant level design returns, and perfectly fits the mechanised theme. Not only is the game fun to play, but it is also very fun to look at with its bright visuals. If you have finished the story mode, then there is still plenty more to offer, such as the extra modes and trying to find each and every sticker to get that shiny 100% on your save file!
If you are looking for a far deeper game that offers far more challenges, or if platforms just aren’t your things, then maybe give the game a skip. But if you love Kirby games, or are just looking for a fun 3DS title with loads to offer, then we fully recommend Kiry: Planet Robobot!
Kirby: Planet Robobot is available exclusively for Nintendo 3DS Family Systems from the 10th June 2016 in both Europe and North America!
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