Kirby Super Star (SNES) review
"Kirby rocks. He's a pink fluffball that sucks you in, spits you out, steals your weapons, and flies over your head before turning into a rock and crushing you. How can you not love such a cool guy? Besides, his games are generally great too, particularly Kirby's Adventure on the NES. So really, how can one resist the promise of 6 new games in one little cartridge, all starring our favorite cream puff? Well, if it wasn't for the fact that most of these games are so generic, this could have b..."
Kirby rocks. He's a pink fluffball that sucks you in, spits you out, steals your weapons, and flies over your head before turning into a rock and crushing you. How can you not love such a cool guy? Besides, his games are generally great too, particularly Kirby's Adventure on the NES. So really, how can one resist the promise of 6 new games in one little cartridge, all starring our favorite cream puff? Well, if it wasn't for the fact that most of these games are so generic, this could have been fantastic. But as it stands, we're left only with a pretty decent game that could have been so much more.
I have to admit, the concept behind the game is interesting. You see, instead of one big game, we get six little ones. When you start out, you can choose one of four different scenarios, with two more being unlockable. Three of these are your standard Kirby platformers: go through the stage, suck in enemies, smack the boss around, do the cool Kirby dance, move on. There's another platformer in which you gain you skills from statues rather than sucking up your enemies, providing a small twist to the concept. You also race against King Dedede collecting food along the way, and finally a massive treasure hunt awaits you. And if none of those tickle your fancy, there's always a few minigames available, such as smashing a brick or being a samurai.
Neat idea yes, but it's a bit lacking. The first two games, Spring Breeze and Dynablade, are extremely short and easy. They play exactly like miniature Kirby games - same bosses as usual, same enemies as usual, same landscapes as usual, and so forth. It's just that because the levels are so short and simple, you never really get into the game. It's hard to get excited about the games when you never get concerned about your health or which weapon to pick up. After all, the game's over in about 10 minutes anyway, ending just when it starts to get good. It's like an intro to Kirby; you touch all the bases but never get the full experience. Even Revenge of the Meta-Knight, although much faster and harder, is still kind of underwhelming. Besides the pointless blabbering going on in the background, it's still nothing that you haven't seen before. And the race is even more pathetic. You merely race along three short courses, a rather pointless endeavor for a simplistic platformer like this. The minigames will keep you excited for all of 2 seconds, as they are both nothing more than pressing a button at the right time.
On the other hand, there's also the massive treasure hunt. Now this had some serious promise: find 60 different items (ranging from a worthless little dime to the sacred Triforce) across a giant world. There were multiple regions, such as an underwater area or a giant castle, with multiple entrances and exits and all sorts of interconnected levels. You could easily get lost and turned around, but because there were plenty of landmarks you could always find your way out and always know when you're moving forward. Yes, despite the maze-like elements, it's still pretty linear. But really, that's a good thing, as it gave you a definite goal (and the treasures tended to get cooler as you moved on). And the treasures themselves were well hidden, with a nice balance between easy to find items, ones hidden away, and a few puzzles you have to solve. Unfortunately, the big down side here is that some of these puzzles require the second player, which is a major pain for those of us with no one to play with. I don't think it's too much to ask that a game that's primarily a single player experience should be able to be completed by a single player, don't you? Sadly, that's not the case here, and it made me rather upset. But really, that's the only major downer of the game's longest and most unique segment.
The last minigame is Milky Way Wishes. Here, you cannot steal enemy powers; you can only get them in specific areas. That was a bit upsetting at first, as it chips away at some of the strategy and experimentation that Kirby games are known for. On the other hand, it's a new twist to the game, and makes this one actually interesting to play. It's also much longer than the other standard Kirby games here, as well as more difficult. You can also choose what order you want to play the stages, which is a nice touch.
There's also the massive boss fight, which you unlock after beating everything. You face about 20 or so bosses and minibosses from the Kirby series in a row, with no rest in between. It's a long marathon, but quite fun. Kirby's bosses have always been unique and interesting to fight (even if they use them in every single game), and the different abilities you can have really changes the feel of them. Sure, they're easy on their own, but when you're on the 12th boss fight it can start to get a bit tough. It was a nice addition, and fun to play. I'm glad they threw it in there.
So it's not like I didn't have fun with it. But in the end, I just got an empty feeling from the whole thing. Yes, the treasure hunt was cool. Yes, it had a bunch of cool ideas (particularly a parody of an RPG boss fight). But where were these ideas in the rest of the games? Why bother with the rest of the games at all? With the unique idea of the treasure hunt, as well as the different concepts in Milky Way Wishes, we could have had an entirely new Kirby game. Instead of rehashing past Kirby games (only shorter and easier), we could have had a brand new title with an entirely different direction than before. Instead of only touching on various concepts, HAL could have delved deeper and fully fleshed out one idea. And so, as I was merely going through the motions for half the game and intrigued during the other half, I found myself wondering what it was HAL was trying to accomplish here. Because whatever the reason for throwing in all these worthless games in and thus shrinking the good ones, I don't see it.
On the other hand, it appears that I'm not exactly in the majority with my view here. So by all means, try this game out. If you've never played a Kirby game before, you'll love it. After all, the basic concept is still there, and the basic concept of Kirby is pure fun. And if you have played Kirby games, maybe you'll enjoy it too. Maybe you don't mind playing Kirby Lite, simply going through the motions in a stripped down version of several other awesome games. Maybe the fact that only two out of the six main games are truly great won't bother you. So try it out if you want. At the very least, it's not a bad game. Don't think about it too much, and it's actually pretty fun. It's just not all that it should be.
Community review by mariner (July 24, 2005)
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