Game Review: Kirby – Planet Robobot (3DS)

The small little snowman didn’t know what to think, the air around him started to pull at his frosty form, and before he knew it, he had been swallowed up by the pink menace known as Kirby. Kirby’s round pink form shifted, with segments of ice forming on his forehead, for he now had the power of cold. Kirby’s eye shifted over and saw another enemy nearby, with equally as cool abilities, and he moved in slowly and began to inhale.

There is a particular charm to the Kirby games, one that I am very new to. Planet Robobot is the first Kirby game that I have actually played through, and upon completing it, I immediately purchased Triple Deluxe, the 3DS title that came before it. Planet Robobot is without question, one of the best platforming games I have ever played, with incredibly well designed levels, mechanics and puzzles that never got old, repetitive or too complex.

There is so much shared between Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot that playing them right after one another feels like a natural progression for the series, providing you started with Triple Deluxe as Planet Robobot enhances and improves upon elements present in Triple Deluxe. Abilities and collectibles are almost identical except for collectibles where you swap out keychains for stickers this time around. Copy-abilities themselves are mostly shared with a few older ones not reappearing here and replaced with some new ones to show us new sides to the round pink wonder.

As I’ve said, playing through Triple Deluxe I’ve noticed many of the same copy-abilities Kirby has here are present in Planet Robobot. Cutter, Ninja, Fire, Hammer and more all return, and join new abilities like Doctor, Poison, ESP, Jet, Mirror and more. There are a total of 27 copy-abilities with 4 being mostly exclusive to unlocking via the new Kirby Amiibos. Certain

A scene from ‘Kirby: Planet Robobot.’

puzzles can only be completed with a certain ability and most of the time they offer an enemy in the area that has that ability to swallow him up and complete said task. Most boss fights will also offer a few suggestions to use and are conveniently placed just outside the boss fight area.

Kirby has the ability to suck in some objects to spit them out as stars at enemies while also having a dash kick that works really well. I opted for abilities like the Sword, Leaf or Fighter Kirby as they worked just too well not to use. UFO Kirby, which is unlocked right away with the use of the Kirby Amiibo, is so over-powered that most fights can end very quickly with the use of this ability. It also helps that each use of the Amiibo will bring Kirby back to full health, making the game even more easier than it already is.

In Triple Deluxe, you had the Super Nova power that allowed Kirby’s suction skills to magnify as he could then take whole trees and large enemies into his tiny little mouth. This often worked alongside solving puzzles and finding collectibles. This time around, Kirby has a giant robot suit that can digitally copy most enemy abilities, much like Kirby can do out of the suit. The Robot suit is crazy fun and is used to not only solve puzzles in the game, but also used to break apart segments of the bosses in fun and ingenious ways. The robot suit can also transform into a plane and car allowing some levels to become 2D flying or racing games. These levels were some of my favorites and offered some great breaks to the traditional platforming found with running around with Kirby or on foot with the robot.

The levels themselves are a work of art. Many of the levels have certain puzzles that are designed in such a way that you’ll instantly go “I get it!” when looking around at what to do. I was never stumped, but the answer wasn’t always clear. You’ll set fuses that need a path to work towards the switch, or moving a block in the background so that it can help you later on when you get to it. You can move platforms with the robot, and spin them around to grant you access to a collectible or the goal at the end of the level. The 3D in the game makes the levels pop better than any use of 3D I have seen used on the system before. Usually in 3D games on the 3DS I would limit the use of 3D as my eyes would water or get sore from using the 3D for too long. I never once had this happen and I beat the game without once during the 3D off. Effects, enemies and background and foreground elements all look fantastic in 3D and have the required depth needed for this visual mode to be effective. To say it is the best use of 3D I have ever seen isn’t that far off from being the truth.

While the bright and colorful levels are exactly what you expect out of a Kirby game, even the more metal and sci-fi style to some of the others just fits so well here. While the Kirby series has the cuteness dial always cranked to max, these harder and more darker levels still work and offer some exciting change to the standard Kirby ‘look’.

If you have played Triple Deluxe, then you’ll know what to expect from this title. You’ll visit a half dozen or so levels that each have four to five levels within them. Obtain all the collectibles in the map and unlock a bonus mission. Your progress towards the goal is determined by acquiring enough of the collectibles to unlock the next area. After you have beat each zone’s Boss, you are treated to a cannon shot segment that unfortunately is too similar between the two Kirby games to fully enjoy.

The story is mostly about an invasion by the Haltmann Works Company, led by a little girl named Susie, whom I assume is a robot herself, wanting to unlock a mysterious power. You’ll get in her way a few times and fight variations of Kirby enemies that look like and mimic Meta Knight and King Dedede. I enjoyed the story bits in the game but felt there could have been more to what is present here.

The final fight is beyond amazing and the phrase “This isn’t even my final form” from the Dragonball series, is the best way to sum up this fight. Every time you think it is over, it is not. While the fight does commit the sin of introducing a new mechanic during the final encounter, it is fun, easy to pull off and works so well I wish you could have had that kind of experience during the main game.

Once you complete the story mode, there are several other activities to complete. You can partake in a time trial mode with Meta Knight, which is kind of fun, or two other modes that take around an hour or two to work through. Rumble, which I would say is a puzzle type mode, but without puzzles, where you take down enemies and eventually a boss. It’s easy and is over and done with in about 20 minutes. Team Kirby Clash offers a few fights against some fun bosses with up to 3 computer controller enemies, or your friends via wireless play. This mode is pretty fun, and returns from Triple Deluxe. You can level up your Kirby warriors by gaining experience killing the bosses. There are four different classes to play as that each level up when you play as the other classes.

I originally purchased Kirby: Planet Robobot to have a handheld game to review and play while away from my console systems. What I didn’t expect was for it to be so amazing. There is such a wonderful variety to the levels, abilities and mechanics in this game. While it does repeat a few elements throughout the adventure, it usually shakes it up while doing so. Upon starting up Triple Deluxe I was a bit let down by how much Planet Robobot takes from its predecessor, and while I appreciate the enhancements it has made since Triple Deluxe, it does make Planet Robobot less impressive in regards to its originality. Despite the copy and paste nature of the two titles, Planet Robobot is a huge upgrade from Triple Deluxe and such a fantastic experience. This is the game I sort of expected when I purchase Chibi Robo, but sadly that game wasn’t great. If you are a fan of the Kirby games, or a newcomer like me, then, much like Kirby, there is a lot to suck you in and keep you entertained.

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