During a Nintendo Direct in March, Kirby: Planet Robobot burst onto the scene. Like its first-party peers Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam and Tri Force Heroes, this is definitely one of those games that reuses the engine and assets of the game that came before it, Kirby: Triple Deluxe. Whether it’s something traditional or experimental...I happen to adore Kirby games, almost as much as Pokémon or Yoshi. With all that in mind, plus the fact that reading comprehension isn’t necessarily the heaviest requirement--I decided a ways back that I would import the game, especially since it came out today there & doesn’t arrive until June 10th here. More fun for y’all, since you get to hear me waffle on forever and ever like I did for Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Let’s start with the new modes:
Team Kirby Clash seems like the closest thing we’ll get to an actual Kirby RPG, until they make one. It plays the same as the main game, but a few mechanics are fundamentally different. For starters, you pick from one of four copy abilities to use during the fight: Sword (Knight), Hammer (Warrior), the new Doctor ability (a healer?), and what feels like a different take on the Magic ability (Mage). Whichever you choose, in my opinion, seems to fit a particular RPG combat trope so you can back up your ally--whether they be a real life friend or AI. As you can see from my screen above, enemies take numbered damage. If you win, you’re rewarded experience that eventually leads to leveling up, increasing four different parameters...that I can’t read. I’m going to go ahead and guess one of them is your weapon’s strength, because I certainly took out my foe more easily the second time around. It’s got a few bells and whistles to it. One example: you and your ally can work together to perform a kind of Super Ultra Mega Attack that sends your enemy hurling down like a meteor for 1,000 damage versus the typical 100--my AI partner initiated that, so I couldn’t really tell you how it’s done. I know that I lined up a Kirby face to a cursor, though! You’re given a certain amount of points based on how well you performed during battle, and that qualifies you for Bronze, Silver or Gold Medals. Replay value, ahoy! I’ll be sure to spend more time with this mode before my full review.
3D Kirby Rumble is much quicker to explain. It’s conventional Kirby, but with the added perspective of a fully 3D playing field. I only played through one world of this, so it could get more complex, but--it seemed relatively simple in execution. Earn points when you chomp stuff. Spit stuff out at other stuff to stack points. Do it all quickly to earn incremented time bonuses at the end. And hey, don’t get hurt! While the RPG-based mini-game seems to have a few complex layers to it (as well it should), the other one’s relatively easy to master, in my opinion. Its scoring system works a lot like the Challenge Rooms from Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, if you’re curious.
Both of these minigames have what it takes to become their own separate things, like the two from Kirby Triple Deluxe. Don’t be surprised if that happens...and to be honest, I’m much more a fan of both of these than I was either mini-game in Triple Deluxe. If you’re anticipating either Side Thing--I’d say they’ll meet or exceed your expectations
The Main Game.
There is a definite mechanical theme going on in this game. Machines and high tech stuff are everywhere. Waddle Dees drive cars. Things get screwed and unscrewed. The mechs are prevalent and versatile. I’m a bit into World 2 as we speak, and I haven’t really seen any unfolding story--but in the game’s opening, Dedede and Meta Knight both get pretty trashed by the game’s Big Bad, so I’ll bet I’ll be seeing them eventually.
“It’s more Triple Deluxe.” You knew this, I think. But it does so much better. There’s a level of polish that Triple Deluxe lacked, in my opinion, and it starts with the visual sense. Kirby doesn’t just get his face pressed up against the screen when he’s swatted by a foe towards the front--he’ll pretend-break your system if he happens to be in his Robobot at the time. As you move through the game--either on your own or riding around--you’ll notice a better sense of visual cohesion in levels, like they took the three-dimensional mechanics they learned in Triple Deluxe and stepped things up a level or two for this game. It’s really cool to see.
The new Copy Abilities I’ve seen are pretty great. Mirror makes its return from Super Star (Ultra)--haven’t seen that one in a while. And there’s the one from that screenshot there, where you can float around, teleport, and control a giant ball of energy like Ness’s PK Plus from Smash.
Okay. So in most Kirby games, you’re treated to a Boss at the end of every world. That’s the case here--but it seems like Boss-style challenges are much more prevalent in Robobot than any previous Kirby entry. Rather than face the same boring Copy Enemies [like Boomer] you’ve fought since the days of Kirby’s Adventure, Robobot steps things up a notch and introduces foes with a lot of versatility and a lot of life to chip away at...smack in the middle of an action stage. Absolutely an improvement to the series formula, and something to look forward to.
(This is at the end of a regular level--not a Boss Stage!)
I cannot overstate how satisfying it is to have Kirby riding in a Mech-Thing. Both the Super Abilities and the Hypernova from the two most recent traditional Kirby games felt like gated experiences that were timed and worked more like glorified keys and puzzle-solving mechanisms. The Robobot feels like the natural evolution of Kirby’s Animal Friends from Dream Land 2 & 3--they’re used a lot more, not timed, not treated to some Special Music each time like an Invincibility Star or something--they feel way more natural. If you were hyped about this mechanic before--I can safely say get more hyped. There are several Copy Abilities used in tandum with Robobot control, and I haven’t run into one I don’t like, so far.
I think that’ll about do it for my introductory post & Day One. I’ll be back this time tomorrow with more progress notes and discoveries. While I’m at it: does anyone have any specific questions they want me to address? I’ll come back with some answers, if you do!
Ultimately--my first impressions of Robobot is that it’s everything Triple Deluxe should have been. It’s shaping up to be one of the better Kirby experiences, putting it right up there with Super Star in my eyes. We’ll see if the strong start stays consistent.