Kirby Star Allies Review | When the Stars Align

Kirby Star Allies is a cooperative take on the familiar Kirby formula that fans know and love. A small addition that brings a plethora of adorable possibilities. This is not only a great platformer, but one of the best Kirby games ever.

Calling All Allies

We are all too familiar with Kirby’s abilities. How he can copy the powers of the enemy that he eats. This has presented players with tons of memorable gameplay experiences over the years. A novel and kid-friendly wrinkle to platforming goodness.

As the title implies, Kirby Star Allies newest change is getting friends. By pressing a button, Kirby can throw a friendship heart at almost any enemy in the game, turning them into an ally. It sounds like a pain at first, but the allies’ AI is great, attacking enemies and helping you solve puzzles. This makes for some really great strategizing when battling tougher enemies and makes for some hilarious antics throughout the wide variety of levels in the game.

The camera can notoriously be an enemy in cooperative platformers and there were occasions where the zoomed in camera angles felt a bit crowded with all the players on the screen. When I was playing with real people, and someone didn’t quite know what they were doing, it made for a bit of a troubling experience. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it did present some frustrating cooperative moments from time to time.

Many allies can fulfill specific elemental purposes, and some just have interesting attacks. My personal favorite ally would be very difficult to choose simply because each of them have their advantages in certain levels. The water levels have some very interesting puzzles dealing with electricity and fire. There was a puzzle that forced me to use an umbrella to block a waterfall and allow for a lit fuse to carry through and open a hidden area. This was intriguing and forced me to put some thought into my approach for each of the puzzles. There were some occasions where I would approach a boss fight and wish I had chosen a different ability or ally combination, and while this isn’t a big deal at the start of the game, being smart and resourceful becomes progressively more important as you get further in the game.

Kirby Star Allies is exploding with creativity and fun. After finishing each level I was just so excited to jump into the next one, knowing that there would be some new take on the Kirby formula hiding behind every corner.

Beating Down the Competition

Kirby Star Allies is a bit different from other games in the series. While previous Kirby games focused on creative platforming mechanics above all else, Kirby Star Allies feels more like a classic brawler. The game presents players with a wide variety of enemies with different abilities. Everything from large scale boss battles to smaller waves of enemies can be approached in a variety of different ways. Throughout the game you will be presented the opportunity to get creative with your party, take down foes, and look good doing it.

The game has spectacular level design and the stages look really great on handheld and the big screen. Planet Popstar is a personal favorite. The way the environments visually pop, and the energetic backgrounds makes everything so lively. Also, if you take the first letter of each levels title in this world, it spells “friends”. That is just a taste of how wholesome this game can really be.

The boss battles are creative. Not only are they a threat, they’re also built to be challenging to be a challenge to a full team of players, human or otherwise.

The game really starts to ramp up in difficulty toward the end and starts to present some really creative challenges with some of the boss battles. The final world is filled with interesting puzzles and scenarios that will really shine a light on how the allies are used in your party. For example, there are areas that will split the party in two and had each member of the party solving different puzzles, defeating enemies, and collecting goodies simultaneously. The AI handles this really well, but it’s great fun getting through these challenges with real players. There are also several hidden areas in the final world that had some truly challenging puzzles.

Outside of these pitched battles, the game can be quite easy and forgiving. If players are familiar with the Kirby formula, then they could fly through many of these levels with ease during the first playthrough. Although, veteran platformer fans like myself may wish for more of a challenging gameplay experience. There are boss rush modes that are unlocked when the game is completed and this should scratch the itch for the talented platformer advocates trying to go for 100% completion.

 

The Verdict

Kirby Star Allies is a great addition to the franchise that presents cooperative gameplay in a way that’s comprehensive and fluid. The level design is some of the best I’ve experienced in a Kirby game and realizes the potential of a cooperative platformer. It’s an utter delight that will have me coming back time and again.

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