Too good for this world

I missed out on Kirby’s Adventure when it came out. This was not because I thought I was too cool to play a game featuring a pudgy pink ball with a big mouth and red shoes or anything like that. I was ten years old at the time and not nearly that self-conscious. I even recall longingly looking at images of the beautiful spritework in Kirby’s Adventure in an issue of Nintendo Power. But, alas, it was a late-generation NES game, and my parents got rid of that system at the same time they gave me a Super Nintendo. In retrospect, I think this was good parenting, but at the time, I was frustrated that they didn’t understand just how important I thought it was to play all those amazing-looking late NES games. Now, thanks to the wonders of Virtual Console, I was finally able to play it myself.

[[image:cg_kirbyadv.jpg:You got Big Hammer!:center:0]]
I am still not totally sold on the Kirby series after this, but there was a lot that impressed me about this game beyond just the visuals that intrigued me so much fifteen years ago. What surprised me most of all was Kirby’s move set, which is quite versatile for an 8-bit character. While I went into the game knowing about the central premise of absorbing enemy abilities, I was happy to find that even his most basic abilities were impressively varied. In addition to standard ducking and jumping, he can dash, suck, spit, fly freely, and puff out a mid-range air projectile. If anything, his move set is too expansive. The level designs seemed to be struggling to keep up with Kirby’s wide range of actions. For example, it often seemed possible to breeze through most stages just by flying leisurely above or around all the obstacles.

Now, I certainly don’t wish this game was frustratingly difficult. I enjoyed my relaxing stroll through the world of this game and the opportunities it provided me to experiment with Kirby’s many possibilities. At the same time, the final two worlds of the game increased the challenge just enough to force me to think a little about how to get through the stages rather than simply barrelling through them. It made me want more levels like those that might force me to get creative with the wide range of all that Kirby can do. I enjoyed the last few levels in the game so much that I now feel a bit retroactively disappointed about the the game overall.

On the other hand, I’m excited to get my hands on the DS remake of Kirby Super Star sometime. I hear it has a Metroidvania-style segment, which seems like exactly the right kind of game environment for a character as versatile and just plain fun to control as Kirby.

6 thoughts on “Too good for this world

  1. Kirby & the Amazing Mirror was a Metroidvania game, but I honestly kept getting lost. Its world design didn’t feel intuitive or logical. But I love Kirby!

  2. Kirby Super Star is a fun, varied game, but I don’t think it is particularly challenging. I cleared the original after a rental or two.

  3. The miniboss powers is KA were just great. Specifically Mike and Suplex. It was also the first appearance of the totally badass UFO power.

  4. I came across this at a garage sale I randomly went to a few weeks ago. I am a complete Kirby newb, but my trial time with the game so far has impressed me. Sure, it’s a bit easy, but it’s fun all the while. Now I am also eyeing the ‘new’ DS game. Thanks, garage sale!

  5. The Kirby series is designed for young kids and people who aren’t gamers. So I think the idea is if you finish one and find yourself craving a tougher challenge you can then move on to the Super Mario Bros series or whatever. I only started playing them in the last year and I find them refreshing. Jell-O can’t hold a candle to a good tiramisu but there’s always room for it.

  6. If you’re hoping for the Metroidvania experience, Kirby Super Star will disappoint you. Sort of. All Kirby games are generally easy, and it’s only the boss arenas in super star that present significant challenge. Kirby games are more like a playground, to enjoy the variety of things you can do in a low stress environment.

    Now, two of the games in Super Star are pretty much open worlds. The Great Cave Offensive is basically a giant maze with optional puzzles riddled throughout. Some can be kind of tricky, but the real fun comes simply from the sheer size and variety of things in the game.

    Milky Way Wishes has more of the “collecting power ups” aspect, but it’s no metroidvania. Its climax is generally one of the better experiences.

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