From Friend Hearts to all-powerful demons, Kirby has it all in his most recent game, Kirby Star Allies. Kirby Star Allies is the most recent installment in the Kirby franchise, published by HAL Laboratory, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
If you’re unaware of what Kirby is, it is a series of platformer games in which the main protagonist, who is a pink ball with a face and feet. He inhales things, and depending on what he inhaled, he will gain a special ability, such as being able to spray fire out of his mouth. (The titular hero and some friends he can make with Friends Heart in Kirby Star Allies.)
Kirby has a serious track record of fantastic games, with his games at worst being mediocre. Does this game break that streak, or will it continue it for even longer?
The plot is simple, as with most Kirby games. There is a cloaked priest and his servants trying to get Jamba Heart fragments to restore the full Jamba Heart. This is full of “dark energy” and will summon the dark lord said priest worships.
I think this plot is very simple, and that is perfectly fine. Kirby does not need a complex plot to be good whatsoever, as it is about a fat ball saving the universe.
As for gameplay, it is solid. It follows the same formula the last few recent Kirby titles has, such as giving every copy ability multiple moves as opposed to one like older titles, along with some new abilities like Spider & Festival.
The main mechanic of the game is friend hearts. You have the ability to throw hearts made from thin air at enemies. If they are just a normal enemy that you would be able to get a copy ability from, they will instantly turn into your ally with a slightly different appearance.
There are also Dream Friends, which are characters with more significance in the Kirby universe. You have to go to a palace and randomly select one of the currently six in-game.
I believe Star Allies falls flat in comparison to the last Kirby title, Planet Robobot. Planet Robobot had several more abilities, along with the new ones being more fun to use and more unique. Star Allies only has 28 copy abilities, along with not having some of the most iconic abilities such as Wheel and Tornado.
(Some of Kirby’s most iconic abilities. Tornado in Kirby Battle Royale, Wheel in Kirby Triple Deluxe, and Mirror in Kirby Planet Robobot. None are in Star Allies.)
A lot of newer abilities were cut after one or two games as well, such as Bell, Doctor and Circus. The new abilities in Star Allies are generally not as fun as Triple Deluxe or Planet Robobot’s.
Star Allies’ level design also falls short in comparison to Planet Robobot. This was more than likely to compensate for the addition of multiplayer, and having three AIs following you most of the time if you’re playing single player.
The music is fantastic. It has both callbacks to older titles ripped directly from said titles, and great new orchestral & metal tracks.
Unfortunately, the game generally lacks content. There are three main modes, consisting of the story mode, Guest Star ????, a mode where you play as a helper instead of Kirby through story mode, and The Ultimate Choice, a boss endurance mode.
I spent half my play time in Guest Star ???? and The Ultimate Choice playing them as different characters. Story mode simply isn’t that long.
There are also two sub-games. Star Slam Heroes is a timing based mini-game in which you press the button when a gauge is full, and then when a circle lines up with a second circle to bat a meteor back into space. Chop Champs is about hacking down a tree as fast as you can without running into worms or spikes.
These have very little longevity. They’re fun for about 10 minutes, and then you never touch them again.
Overall, I give Kirby Star Allies a 7.5/10. It is an absolute blast to play with friends, as friends make the average level design a lot better. The lack of popular copy abilities and general content makes me think its not worth the $60 price tag. I got this game because I am a Kirby fanatic, and while it didn’t disappoint, it didn’t last me long either.