Bottom line While playing a classic Nintendo favorite is always nice, Kirby Star Allies seems to be a little too easy. There are elements of this that make it interesting enough to keep playing, but I wouldn't consider it a top choice.
Same cute world Kirby generally offers
Friend hearts add a fun twist to the gameplay
Abilities cycle is clunky
Simple gameplay is almost too easy
Mini-games don't seem to add anything
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The little pink ball Nintendo fans have come to know as Kirby is back with his enemies in the Nintendo Switch game, Kirby Star Allies. As players go about trying to defend Planet Popstar from evil, they will find something new about this Kirby game compared to others. While Kirby is a popular and long time Nintendo name, is this new feature worth picking up? Here's my take.
Kirby Star Allies — A new element
While playing the most recent Kirby adventure, I found myself loving the pieces of Kirby that remained the same as the old games. When it comes to the classic Nintendo titles, I feel like there's a line between making it different enough to be exciting and changing it so much that it's not like playing the franchise. In Kirby's world, even the Bosses are cute. I love this design style and how it's come to evolve over the years. The cute characters and world and Kirby's battle style hold just as much charm as ever. A bonus of getting to know the same old characters in a new way was a great addition.
The name Kirby Star Allies comes from the new concept of the game where you can turn your past enemies into new friends. As you come across characters like Wester and Driblee, you can throw a Friend Heart at them to have up to three new friends that fight alongside you while you hold the powers of a fourth. Alternatively, you could open up a Dream Palace and get a more prominent name, like Meta Knight, to join you.
The coolest part about finding your entourage is that the characters you choose can combine their abilities to make an all-new ability. This happens when you have a mix of elemental allies and weapon-wielding friends. The elements bond to the weapons to give them new abilities! I've gotta say, swinging a sword and setting everything in front of you on fire is kind of a cool effect.
Kirby Star Allies — Almost too cute
Although I love the cute style of the characters and world when it comes to Kirby, the ease of the levels was disappointing. I was hoping for some classic Nintendo challenge, and instead, it was more like a hand-holding. While this may be great for young children playing, it doesn't give much to longtime Kirby fans who are more skilled. You could literally stand in place, and your allies would do the work for you. That being said, the things that should have been easy in this game were made more difficult.
Lack of challenge
As you go through the game, there just isn't much challenge. Having your allies along with you is borderline too effective because you don't have to do much of anything. It feels as though it was made easy to the point where kids may also find it easy, so they won't get too frustrated and give up. If you're looking for a game that allows you to really use your skills and have been playing Kirby for years, you may be disappointed in Kirby Star Allies.
While being able to pair up your allies' abilities with each other and to yourself is a nice touch, I feel like it was done in a very annoying way. To get the abilities to combine, you have to stop wherever you are and hold your joystick up until all the allies are standing at the ready and the elemental characters cycle through all the possible options until you get to the one you want. This is especially irritating because you can't control how it cycles through, which makes you lose whatever pairing you previously had set up. For example, if you swapped out a Driblee for a Burning Leo and wanted to have one fire and one water weapon on your team without having both elemental characters, you may lose your water weapon in Burning Leo's cycle.
As you go to select the story mode on the main menu of the game, you may notice a few other options. One is called Star Slam Heroes; the other is called Chop Champs. In Star Slam Heroes, you and three others, either computer players or other live players, are tasked with hitting a meteor so that it doesn't crash and destroy the world with a baseball bat, and whoever hits it the furthest wins. In Chop Champs, you stand at the base of a tree and try to be the player to get the most pieces of tree chopped in a certain amount of time, avoiding the obstacles on the tree as it comes down piece by piece.
They don't really seem to have anything to do with the game or add anything to it. Although the mini-games offer a competitive way to play with your friends, I'm not sure that's something the game needed and may just take up memory space that's already limited on your Nintendo Switch.
Kirby Star Allies — Is it worth it?
In general, I'd have to say this is not one of the better Nintendo Switch titles. If you're a hardcore Kirby fan or just love the cuteness and feel like you have to pick it up, I would at least recommend getting it on sale or used as it seems to be a bit much at the brand new price tag. It probably won't take you very long to beat it with how simple the gameplay is with your gang of allies, and the mini-games just aren't exciting. But if you can get a good deal on it, it may be worth a little time.
If the game took a little more skill and did a slightly less hand-holding, it may live up to the previous Kirby titles. The main feature of the game and new element is also the biggest annoyance. There isn't an easy way to select which components to combine with which weapons and that can alter your gameplay. The random mini-games seem just to take up space on your Switch. But the characters, world, and story are the same cute Kirby that Nintendo fans have come to love.
Buy on a deal
Know your allies
In this new Kirby adventure, old foes become new friends! Use Friend Hearts to build up your super team of past enemies and unite to save Planet Popstar. Unlock new features along the way!
Alex has been working with iMore as a Freelance Gaming Writer for three years. You can also find a few articles of hers on Android Central and Windows Central. She regularly covers Nintendo Switch games and accessories as well as iOS game apps. In addition to the Nintendo Switch, you may also find her playing on the PlayStation and PC. When she doesn’t have a controller in hand she likes to spend her time with her husband, son, and dogs, exploring new places, or hiding away with a book (or comic book). A few of her favorite games include the Zelda franchise, Little Nightmares, and Animal Crossing.
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