Once again, Planet Pop Star is under threat, and it’s up to that puffy pink ball, Kirby, to save the day. This time however, Kirby may need some help from friends he’s least expect in Kirby Star Allies for Nintendo Switch.
Does Kirby Star Allies have your perfect buddy, or is it more depressing than a deflated Kirby? Find out in our review after the break!
Kirby Star Allies
Developed by HAL Laboratory
Published by Nintendo
Released: 16th March 2018
Review copy provided by Nintendo
Something has run amok on Planet Pop Star, dark hearts are raining down, and enemies are acting more feisty than usual, especially King Dedede and Meta Knight. As per usual, Kirby is disturbed from his nap, but this time by one of these dark hearts. Who’s responsible for this plague of hearts? What are there plans? Why is Bonkers so bonking affectionate?! These questions can only be answered through exploration.
Just like previous Kirby games, you control that cute, pink puffball through a range of different 2.5D side-scrolling levels. Suck up enemies and you can even copy their abilities. Kirby Star Allies introduces three new abilities to the series: wrap your foes in a sticky web with the Spider ability, throw a party to overwhelm your enemies with the Festival ability, and whip up a piece of modern art to impress your adversaries!
What sets Kirby Star Allies apart from previous games is the sweet new ability that dark heart from earlier has given you, the ability to make friends… I wish I had that! Just throw your heart at an ability enemy, such as Burning Leo, and they’ll fight alongside you, controlled by the CPU. You may even be able to get the likes of King Dedede and Meta Knight on your team, with more old characters coming in future free updates. You can have up to three other allies on your team at a time. Though this can be fairly useful, sometimes the CPU can be a bit silly at times, luckily you can hand one of your real-life friends a JoyCon to play alongside you.
What is particularly cool about having friends on your team are the Friend Abilities. Certain abilities/friends will be able to mix their abilities together, for example, if Burning Leo strikes your sword as Sword Kirby, your sword will gain the power of flame. Try sweeping away Rocky as Cleaning Kirby… it’s a hoot!
It’s quite fun being up to play Kirby Star Allies with up to three other people, and can often get quite chaotic, sometimes too chaotic. Though it is very fun, I felt that sometimes having four players (real of computer controlled) can become too much. Even though it is clearly displayed who’s who, there is still too much happening on the screen at once sometimes, and it is easy to get lost in the action.
The levels in Star Allies are all very beautiful and charming, the levels look pretty stunning while playing in docked mode. Playing through the levels however left me a bit disappointed. The majority of the levels are pretty easy to complete and require little effort, even the puzzle rooms felt pretty easier compared to previous entries. There were also hardly any levels which truly felt unique, unlike Planet Robobot, which was full of unique levels. The bosses also lacked that uniqueness, though some did separate players from each other temporarily which was pretty cool, other than that they were all pretty easy. I will say though that the final boss was a really fun battle! I’m not saying that the levels were horrible, they were quite fun to play through, it’s just that the majority weren’t that memorable. Luckily, there are puzzle pieces to collect in each level which are used to unlock some pretty cool pieces of art.
If you need a little break from saving Pop Star, for the n-teenth time, there are a few side games which you can choose to play, two competitive games, and two co-operative. In Chop Champs, you are tasked with chopping as much wood as possible while also avoiding bugs and Gordos. You can choose to use the JoyCon’s motion controls or traditional controls. In Star Slam Heroes, a meteor is threatening the destruction of Pop Star, so you’ll have to power up your bat and time your swing correctly to try and sling that meteor as far as possible. Both of these competitive games can be played with computer players or with up to three other friends. Though these games are quite fun with three different difficulties, it is unlikely you will come back to them multiple times.
Alternatively, you can decide to work together with your buds (or CPUs) in The Ultimate Choice, and Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go! The Ultimate Choice is essentially a boss rush mode, a pretty cool one at that. Choose your difficulty level (the higher the difficulty, the more battles you’ll relive, though with more picture pieces), choose what ability Kirby will have (or go as regular Kirby if you think you’re hard enough), then choose your allies. Once the setup is complete, you may face your previously fought bosses.
The other cooperative mode is Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go, which essentially acts as a time attack mode… once again a pretty neat one. The aim of this mode is to essentially play through all the story levels consecutively, however not as Kirby, but as his allies he made in the main campaign. This means that your character can only stick with one ability throughout the entire mode, however you can still befriend enemies as per usual to help you on your way. You can also collect stat boosts to help you blast through the levels more quickly. Both of these modes are definitely a highlight as they really add on to the replay value of Star Allies. They are especially fun while playing with other people too.
Overall, Kirby Star Allies is a pretty neat game which add some fantastic new features to the Kirby series; it definitely is a laugh to play through the game with a few friends. Unfortunately the overall difficulty of the levels is where the game pulls back. If the levels were more difficult, or at the very least more inspiring, then Kirby Star Allies would definitely be a lot more fun playing through. Luckily though, the inclusion of both cooperative modes attracts more play time with Star Allies, letting you enjoy the game a bit longer.
If you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, it may be best to skip this title, however if you a big fan of Kirby, or are just looking for a charming platformer to play with your friends, then I’d fully recommend Kirby Star Allies!
Final Rating – 3 out of 5
Kirby Star Allies is out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.