Kirby: Star Allies Review for Switch

Kirby: Star Allies Review for Switch

Kirby Teams Up with the Switch for Smiles

There is a comfort that accompanies Kirby. He is a stalwart companion. Throughout the years, he has been there on every Nintendo system. No matter where you go, at least one of his games is there to show you a good time. Now that the Switch has turned one, it is its time. Kirby: Star Allies has appeared as a trusted friend to provide backup as we wait for larger games like Super Smash Bros. and Pokemon . And boy, are we happy to see him.

As with every one of Kirby’s game, Kirby: Star Allies starts with bright, colorful, and peaceful worlds pushed to the brink of disaster. This time, an explosion on the planet Jambastion has contaminated plenty of other places. Fractured, tainted Jamba hearts turn everyone but Kirby evil. With Kirby, the heart is apparently purified and gives him the ability to share more hearts and bring people who were formerly corrupted to his side. With this new skill, he heads out to face unspeakable evil again.

Kirby: Star Allies mostly sticks to the series’ tried and true formula. Each world has a number of stages, with a few that happen to have mini-bosses at the end. There is also one major boss at the end of each planet. Levels are relatively straightforward, but having certain powers or combinations of abilities due to companions can sometimes unlock additional paths that provide puzzle pieces, food to restore health, extra lives, or switches to unlock Dream Palaces or switches. It is, for the most part, relatively simple, though some later stages and bosses can actually require a bit of thought, dexterity, and proper power acquisition.

Plenty of copy abilities are available in Kirby: Star Allies , meaning lots of options for dealing with enemies and solving simple puzzles. There are 28, as well as five different elements that can sometimes be combined with them to alter their effects. Of these three are entirely new. Artist and Spider are permanent abilities that, when equipped, allow Kirby to create paintings and attack with a brush or create webbing and bind up enemies. The latter is especially interesting, since its special skill allows you to create a trampoline for friends that reaches new places. There is also a new limited use skill, Festival, that is more powerful the more friends you have and basically spawns a damaging dance party.

Kirby: Star Allies Screenshot

What is especially lovely is having up to three allies with you. The AI is rather good in Kirby: Star Allies . While they will occasionally take damage, they are rather good about staying alive, using their special skills in appropriate situations to solve puzzles or open new areas, and damaging enemies. The real boon here is being prepared for any situation. Many of the optional rooms, which can lead to switches, beneficial items, or cosmetic collectibles, tend to require at least two or three abilities. (As an example, one room with two waterfalls and a fuse requires one character with a fire element ability and two characters with parasol.) This means a little extra planning, which can provide incentive to return to a stage.

Kirby: Star Allies Screenshot

Friends also means Team-Up Attacks and Friend Actions. The former can come into play whenever you happen to have two compatible abilities on a team. When these combine, a special skill can be triggered to provide some sort of otherwise extraordinary skill. Geokinesis lets one person with ESP lift another using stone to get past blocked areas. Cook Potluck creates food and boosts attack. The various fighting abilities lets one friend throw another to remove blockades. Friend Actions take place at different platforms to perform actions like Friend Bridge to help get a character to a door, Friend Circle to steamroll through areas, or Friend Train to run along walls or destroy enemies. Each one involves a sort of teamwork.

While many of these elements are borrowed or enhanced from previous Kirby games, like Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards , the use of multiplayer in Kirby: Star Allies is its crowning glory. This is a game that is best enjoyed with friends, even though it is quite wonderful on its own. The simplicity in joining and leaving a game is key to its success, since it is as simple as passing a Joy-Con or controller and pressing a button. And its design, which is beautiful, but not too difficult or busy, means it functions well in TV or Tabletop mode with a group. It is even more perfect for people who have younger or beginner gamers on hand, since it is easy for a more experienced player to revive fallen allies, share health, and carry them (both figuratively or literally) through stages.

Should someone be alone, I feel like playing Kirby: Star Allies in Handheld mode is the way to go. While some Switch games take notable framerate or resolution hits when they go portable, this is not one of them. It is one that I felt looked and felt as good undocked as it did when docked. It is delightful to play. In fact, I almost felt like it was better in Handheld mode sometimes, because it is easier to pay attention to adorable animations when Kirby is attacking or interacting with his friends.

Kirby: Star Allies Screenshot

Then, there are the optional modes. Kirby games are known for their sub-games that unlock as you play the game and offer additional opportunities to enjoy minigame experiences. The first two are rather dull multiplayer games. Chop Champs has you chopping trees while avoiding enemies, hopefully knocking down more than the other players. Star Slam Heroes has you saving a planet by using a baseball bat to knock a meteor farther than anyone else. Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go! is a time attack mode with 27 playable characters who aren’t Kirby and are locked into one ability. The Ultimate Choice is an arena mode, where players choose Kirby and his allies, one of eight difficulty levels, and attempt to survive between four and fourteen battles depending on the difficulty. The latter two are the best and most substantial, but all give you a reason to return and hone your skills.

Kirby: Star Allies is an all-together pleasant game. Which is especially needed, both in the Nintendo Switch library and in the current climate of 2018. We need something simple and enjoyable that brings a smile to our faces. We need a game we can play with anyone we know, without worrying about possible barriers. It is a delight, and Switch owners will definitely appreciate adventuring with their buddy again.

It is not the most lavish Switch game, but Kirby looks better than ever. 5.0 Control
Kirby: Star Allies is incredibly easy to play, with pause menus explaining all attack options and extra players able to immediately hop in. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Kirby: Star Allies is one of the best sounding games, with multiple styles. Plus, if you go underwater, the music is muffled! 4.7 Play Value
Kirby: Star Allies is not one of the longest Kirby games, but it is a lot of fun and offers two enjoyable sub-games. 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • The newest Kirby title comes to the Nintendo Switch console in HD.
  • Imbue copy abilities with different elements, such as wind, water, fire and electricity, by borrowing or giving them to helpers to add more attack power, unleash powerful attacks, or solve puzzles.
  • Up to 4 players can join in with the horizontal Joy-Con™ controller configuration, or 8 Joy-Con with 4 Joy-Con Grips.

  • To top