Kirby Mass Attack (DS) Review
Kirby has always been a franchise that I’ve been quite impressed with, at least on a conceptual level. Despite the game being rather simplistic and easy in nature, the developers over at HAL have not been afraid to experiment with the little pink ball of….errr….stuff. Epic Yarn was something we would not really expect from the series until it was revealed, and the DS iterations of Kirby, particularly Canvas Curse, used the DS functionality perfectly. Now, with Kirby Mass Attack, the tradition continues.
The Kirby games have always had ridiculously simplistic yet cutesy style stories and Mass Attack is really no exception. After exploring the Popopo Islands on a short adventure, Kirby is attacked by the evil leader of the Skull Gang, a wizard named Necrodeus. Using his powers, Necrodeus struck Kirby with his magic wand and split Kirby into ten versions of himself – but retreats after a brief battle with the ten Kirbys. In a desperate bid to make himself whole again, Kirby must follow a star to bring himself back together. As I mentioned – the story is ridiculously simple and acts as a thinly veiled excuse to introduce the new gameplay mechanic Mass Attack follows and in that regard, it does the job right. This is not ever going to be oscar winning material but it really isn’t meant to be.
Kirby Mass Attack continues the series’ tradition by offering up lush and colourful environments that literally look like they’ve been torn out of a child’s dreams. Everything is so cheerful and colourful to the point where most of the enemies don’t even look like enemies either, and all of this animation and colour comes together to create a really likeable environment. Kirby’s animations are, as ever, full of personality and extremely cute and seeing each of the Kirby copies animate separately and independently really is a sight to behold. Commanding a large group of people to bash up an unsuspecting animal has never looked so cute.
Kirby Mass Attack is generally speaking, similar to previous Kirby games. Players choose a level, move through it and get to the end while attempting to collect items along the way. What does change with Mass Attack, however, is the way that the game is handled. Kirby himself can’t do much – he can attempt to attack enemies but by himself he’s pretty weak. So, he must collect fruit to fill a meter. Once the meter is filled, another Kirby is spawned into the mix.
Repeat this process multiple times and you can have up to ten Kirby’s running around frantically. The more Kirbys the player has, generally speaking, the more puzzles that players can solve – all of which are mainly weight based ones. For example, one Kirby cannot rip a huge plant out of the ground and out of the way, but ten Kirbys can make short work of it with little to no effort. This weight system is rather cleverly used throughout the game, and thankfully the game makes sure that you won’t enter a level without enough Kirbys as each of them have certain requirements in order to enter, which is a very good design choice.
The game itself is entirely controlled with the stylus, which works surprisingly well too. Tapping an area on the screen forces the Kirby swarm to head towards that area, while holding the stylus over the group allows you to levitate them in a drawn path, similar to Canvas Curse for those times when standard movement is just not working. Flicking the Kirbys will fling them in any direction to take down enemies or obstacles too. Simply tapping enemies makes the Kirby swarm focus on then enemy, jump on it, and pummel it to death, giving you this very mighty feeling power. The controls for Kirby Mass Attack are surprisingly tight and you will find that the game itself moves at such a breakneck pace that you feel almost like god commanding a huge swarm of pink, decimating everything in your path. It’s great when you actually get this feeling from a game rather than just viewing it and playing it in a “passive” way.
Kirby Mass Attack is actually a pretty substantial package too, with a lot of minigames to unlock and a few collectibles to find here and there. While you’ll easily plough through the game within about 7 to 8 hours, completing the game to 100% will take at least 20 hours to find absolutely everything, although to be honest some players may simply not see the value in doing so. While most Kirby games are easy, some of the boss battles here will provide a notable challenge which is nice.
The music and very minimal voice work is, as always, extremely cutesy and uplifting and this could either be a blessing or a curse depending on how irritable you are, but nothing is too offensive unless you hate colour or fun, or something. Which I would assume you wouldn’t when playing Kirby Mass Attack.
Great animations and very vibrant scenery create a great happy environment.
Great use of the “swarm” mechanic to create some interesting puzzles and a very fast paced game. Sometimes there are some “stray” Kirby copies who dont listen, though, and thats a little frustrating. Controls are great and functional.
The sound effects are, as always, adorable. But some of the music is going to be too saccharine to listen to on subsequent playthroughs.
Quite a lot to do here, with at least 20 hours being required to complete Mass Attack 100%. But, at the same time, the extra content is not compelling to everyone. Without 100% completion, the game shouldnt take more than eight hours to complete but this is still quite good.
I never really know what to expect when going into a new Kirby game and thankfully HAL have once again surprised me with a simple concept that makes this game genuinely enjoyable and rewarding.