Review: Kirby: Triple Deluxe is hands-down the best in the series

Nintendo prides itself on developing pick-up-and-play titles that are inviting and successful at putting dorky smiles on people's faces. Perhaps no series in the company's long line of franchises is more accessible thank Kirby. Overflowing with charm, filled with fun platforming, and dripping with awesome action bits, the Kirby games are among Nintendo's most entertaining titles. Kirby: Triple Deluxe takes everything that's made past installments so much fun and crams even more jovial goodness into it, delivering one of the finest platformers you'll find on the 3DS — or on any platform — right now.

Superb Platforming Across Excellently Designed Levels

Kirby Triple Deluxe - 3DS - 2Kirby games have never been especially challenging, but they've always offered some truly wonderful platforming. The same holds true with Triple Deluxe, and part of the reason the game is so much fun is due to just how magnificent the level design is. It's a sheer delight exploring the lengthy levels and discovering secrets.

Surprisingly, Triple Deluxe offers up more of a challenge than past Kirby titles. This is in no way a punishing platformer, but there are a number of tricky sequences. You'll come across cleverly designed obstacles and perils that drain Kirby's life meter. It's nothing you can't handle after your first try, but you'll be surprised by dangers quite often, which is a bit refreshing for this otherwise lighthearted and easygoing series.

A 3D Delight

This time around, Kirby can travel through both the foreground and background of the game's many levels. Though we previously saw this in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the stereoscopic features of the 3DS really make the game shine. Simply put, the visual tricks that Triple Deluxe proudly pulls off look stellar. This is exactly the type of game that the 3DS was built for, and if you play it you should definitely have that 3D effect cranked all the way up.

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Several mechanics have been specifically utilized to make the backgrounds feel like an organic part of the experience rather than just a tacked-on feature. Kirby can harness cannons that shoot toward the background or foreground depending on where he's located. Additionally, sometimes you'll be tasked with racing against characters that are on the opposite plane with the purpose of beating them to snag a key or other item. There are also various projectiles that are shot toward the screen in an attempt to take out Kirby. All of these elements take advantage of the system's 3D features in superb fashion.

The outstanding use of 3D is only accentuated further by the great visuals of Triple Deluxe. Though it's on a handheld screen, the game's a delight to look at, with bold and bright colors, brilliant flashes of light, and marvelous aesthetics. Simply put, this is the best-looking Kirby game yet, delivering a solid dose of both impressive stereoscopic visuals and eye-catching art.

Copy Abilities Galore

Being able to suck enemies up and steal their abilities has always been the selling point for the Kirby series. Kirby's got even more abilities at his disposal now, and experimenting with each one is a blast. In the past I tended to stick with my favorite copy abilities for long stretches of time, but with Triple Deluxe, I couldn't help but suck up every enemy I came across just to try out the various abilities.

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Part of what makes testing out each of the copy abilities so much fun is how multifaceted they are. If you become Stone Kirby, for example, you're not just relegated to becoming a rock impervious to damage. Pressing up on the D-pad or analog nub lets you deliver an upward punch, too. The inclusion of new abilities such as Circus Kirby, which lets you perform cool acrobatics through fire rings to deal damage, and Hypernova, the big new move that allows you to suck up anything in sight no matter how massive, makes for an even more joyous time.

Kirby's Got His Hands Full

Triple Deluxe features a nicely paced campaign that will take you about six or seven hours to complete if you're just following the main set of levels to get to the end. Each level contains collectible Sun Stones, most of which are hidden and require you to perform certain tasks or utilize specific copy abilities to discover. Finding all of the Sun Stones in any given world unlocks a special extra level within that world, giving you an incentive to actually collect the shiny trinkets.

 

In addition to the Sun Stones, Triple Deluxe also loads up the collectibles list with keychains. These are modeled after different characters from throughout the series' history. There are over 250 of them, many of which are special, hard-to-find keychains, and you can come across them by scouring every last corner of the game's stages. You can also use 3DS Play Coins to buy keychains, putting Nintendo's digital currency to use.

Aside from the hundreds of collectibles, Triple Deluxe also includes some additional modes for you to sink some time into. Kirby Fighters lets up to four players duke it out wirelessly in what feels like simplified Smash Bros.-esque bouts. There's also the rhythm-based Dedede's Drum Dash, which challenges you to tap the touchscreen in time with musical prompts. You can also take on the game's bosses in Arena mode. Rounding out the package is Dededetour, a variation of the series' classic Extra Mode that lets you play the entire game as the sinister yet quirky King Dedede.

My View

Here are the criteria I consider most important for judging Kirby: Triple Deluxe:

Gameplay – 10/10

This is some of the most entertaining platforming you'll find on the 3DS or any platform, for that matter. Kirby's copy abilities are back, and this time they're better than ever. The newer abilities are great additions, giving you more to experiment with.

Presentation – 9/10

Triple Deluxe is very easily the best-looking Kirby game to date. The art design is simply outstanding, dripping with bright colors at every turn and gushing with pure, unadulterated charm. The music is also a lot of fun and fits that classic Kirby sound that fans have come to appreciate.

3D Effects – 9/10

The 3DS hardware is put to great use here. It's not enough that you can run around the game's backgrounds. Instead, developer Hal Laboratory ensured that each environment was tailored specifically to create an interactive setting that lets you pull off some cool moves. Not to mention it's just really awesome seeing cannonballs and other projectiles being shot right at the screen.

Fun factor – 10/10

Kirby platformers are consistently enjoyable, but Triple Deluxe possibly tops its predecessors. Though I thoroughly loved Kirby's Return to Dream Land on the Wii, the implementation of 3D elements and new copy abilities makes this arguably the best Kirby yet. If you own a 3DS and don't despise the very concept of fun, Triple Deluxe is a must-play.

Overall score – 9.5/10

Kirby platformers haven't evolved much over the years, but that's never kept these games from being a heck of a good time. Triple Deluxe delivers everything that's made the series so good, but it adds some nuances such as stereoscopic 3D environments, new abilities, and more content than ever. The game is deliciously colorful and blissfully loud — it's the sort of thing that's so crazy and exaggerated that it'll send you into total sensory overload. More than anything, though, Triple Deluxe is just an immensely satisfying game that's a ton of fun to play from start to finish.

GameCrate reviews represent the opinions of the GameCrate writer who wrote them, and not necessarily those of Newegg.