To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Kirby Triple Deluxe review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £28
inc VAT

Short but sweet, this excellent 3DS platformer has the best stereoscopic 3D effects we've ever seen

Out of all Nintendo’s core franchises, it’s probably fair to say that Kirby is often the one that generates the least amount of excitement. While his games often charm and delight, their pedestrian level design and kid-friendly difficulty rarely make them “must-have” titles and recent efforts such as Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Return to Dream Land on the Wii have done little to redress the balance.

Kirby Triple Deluxe
Like previous games, Kirby can absorb enemy powers by swallowing them whole

But while Kirby Triple Deluxe may mark a rather late debut on 3DS for the pink puffball, this time it’s certainly been worth the wait. Much like how Tearaway couldn’t happen on any other console apart from the PlayStation Vita, Triple Deluxe is hard wired into the 3DS’s DNA and arguably makes much better use of the console’s glasses-free 3D and gyroscope controls than any other title in its extensive back catalogue.

Instead of the action taking place on a single 2D plane, every level gives you two to play with in the form of an active foreground and background. It’s not too dissimilar from the kind of clever layering we’ve seen in other 3DS platformers such as Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, but Triple Deluxe goes one better by making these two playgrounds a crucial part of the game’s overall level design, allowing for some clever visual tricks that demand you to crank up the 3D slider all the way to max so you can fully appreciate its beautiful sense of depth.

Kirby Triple Deluxe
The Wheel power-up helps Kirby sprint away from oncoming enemy fire

Whether it’s enemies flitting between the front and back of the stage, spying a tantalising hidden doorway or collectible keychain sparkling in the distance, or dodging incoming catapult fire from huge machines on the horizon, there’s so much going on that you’ll need to keep a watchful eye on both fields of view as you progress.

Kirby gets to travel between each plane as well thanks to the aid of special star gates, and it’s here where the game’s light puzzling elements really shine. While the puzzles themselves are all familiar ideas we’ve seen in a dozen other 2D platformers, ranging from conveyor belt sprints to rescue runaway treasure chests to lighting fuses in the correct sequence and clearing away obstacles to reveal new pathways, Triple Deluxe uses the 3DS’s unique features to give them a new lease of life as crafty 3D brainteasers.

Kirby Triple Deluxe
Challenges may look simple, but they’re often deceptively difficult and require you to think quickly under pressure

One of our favourites comes later on in the game when Kirby must jump back and forth between the foreground and background of a vertical mineshaft with an automated cannon mounted on his head. The idea is to blast away a series of rocks so a key can drop down and open a locked door at the bottom of the room, but with plenty of enemies getting in your way and only a limited amount of ammo available before the cannon goes kaput, it’s moments like this that help bring a welcome sense of challenge back to the franchise that’s been sorely lacking in previous Kirby games.

We’d even go as far to say that even Super Mario 3D Land didn’t create such a constant and convincing sense of depth as Triple Deluxe does with its level design, but it’s the amount of attention given to the finer aspects of the game that really won us over. While most of Kirby’s power-ups are lifted straight from Return to Dream Land, it’s the sight of a small rubber ring appearing round Kirby’s spherical belly when he floats on water or the gliding ice-skate motion of Kirby’s ice power that makes Triple Deluxe a far more accomplished and delightful game to play than titles such as Yoshi’s New Island could ever be.

Kirby Triple Deluxe
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching Kirby suck up everything in his path with the Hypernova fruit

That’s not to say that Kirby doesn’t get any new power-ups in Triple Deluxe. The Beetle is easily one of the best, as this gives Kirby the horn of a rhinoceros beetle to skewer enemies on or pick them up and carry them around, but there’s also the Bell power-up which lets Kirby wield two bells like clubs, Circus which turns you into an impromptu acrobat clown that jumps through fiery hoops to deal damage and Archer which lets Kirby fire a flurry of arrows to hit enemies and objects from a distance.

Each power-up comes with its own moveset as well, and while you don’t necessarily need to use or master any particular action to beat the game, at least they help bring a little more variety to proceedings than other run-and-jump platformers.

Kirby Triple Deluxe
The Hypernova fruit only appears at certain times, but each appearance is a game highlight

By far the most fun power-up, though, is Hypernova. While all other power-ups are fleeting and can be knocked out of you if you lose too much health, Hypernova is a fixed power that appears at certain puzzle intervals. When Kirby eats a Hypernova fruit, it creates a black hole in his stomach, allowing him to suck up all and sundry in front of him in one giant gulp of whirlwind force.

The wonderfully fluid and comic animations are stunning to behold, and you can’t help but crack a smile when Kirby slurps up a giant wailing snake as it desperately fights to escape the whirling vortex of his insatiable hunger. While these flatter puzzle sections aren’t quite as innovative as the clever 3D to-ing and fro-ing seen elsewhere in the game, the onscreen comedy gold more than makes up for it.

Kirby Triple Deluxe
Dedede’s Drum Dash is a mini rhythm action game that rewards precise button presses with bonus points and extra high jumps

Our only complaint is that the whole game is over in just under seven hours. While extra mini game modes and collectible key chains help provide a little extra padding, Triple Deluxe ultimately left us hungry for more. Still, it’s rare to see a third party developer beat Nintendo at its own game when it comes to utilising the 3DS’s unique features, and HAL Laboratory should be applauded for finally giving Nintendo fans a Kirby game to get excited about again.



Read more