Newspaper article The Canadian Press

The Popular Pink Puffball Returns in "Kirby Star Allies," and He's Brought Friends

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

The Popular Pink Puffball Returns in "Kirby Star Allies," and He's Brought Friends

Article excerpt

Kirby's charm offensive comes to Switch

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Kirby, the protean pink puffball who has charmed video gamers for over 25 years, is making his debut on the Nintendo Switch -- and he's brought some frenemies along for the journey.

"Kirby Star Allies" is a side-scrolling platformer that allows up to four players to team up and battle baddies and combine powers to solve puzzles. The key mechanic introduced this time around is Kirby's ability to turn foe into friend that becomes a member of his adventuring party, opening up a wealth of combinations for players to experiment with.

The "Kirby" series, a Nintendo staple franchise going back to the Game Boy, has never been one to tax the skills of experienced gamers, and "Star Allies" is no different. But what the game lacks in difficulty it makes up for in charm, and this multiplayer romp works well as an entry-level experience for those new to video games or as a fun, low-stakes co-op adventure.

The game's plot, such as it is, sees Kirby use his unique abilities to save his home world of Dream Land from the corrupting influence of a mysterious heart-shaped rock.

Seemingly alone against a host of enemies, Kirby can inhale a foe and take on its abilities. For example, devouring a fire-based fiend will give Kirby the ability to belch a stream of flame.

Kirby can also turn certain enemies into allies by hitting them with heart-shaped projectiles. The fun comes in forming a party that can combine abilities. If a fire-based Kirby has a wind-based ally on his team, they can team up to send torrents of fire across the screen. Kirby also shows his chops as a championship-calibre skip, as stone-based allies can be turned into curling rocks and used to bowl over a multitude of enemies in one throw.

Abilities can also be combined to solve simple puzzles, which often reveal secret rooms or collectibles. Fire abilities can be used to light fuses that destroy walls, or fire a cannon that will send Kirby and his friends flying to areas that would be otherwise impossible to reach.

The game's artificial intelligence controls Kirby's allies in single-player mode, and does so with a reasonable degree of effectiveness. …

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