Yet ever since his debut in 1992, Nintendo has been sending the pink marshmallow off on new adventures. But where Mario and his friends have sidelined into sports stars, role-playing heroes and many more professions besides, Kirby's always stuck to being a platform star.
That said, he's been continually experimenting with new control options, as well as appearances and even, once or twice, a new game type. But in the main, jumping and swallowing enemies have been the franchise's primary mechanics. The result? Not all Kirby adventures have been of equal interest.
Therefore, it's disappointing to see Triple Deluxe sticking with repetition. But while the mechanics may remain, and the difficulty's again set so low that you feel the early onset of boredom, there is something different to the adventure this time. You've just got to dig in for a bit. You realise with some delight that the developers included the first two levels exclusively to play with expectation.
You discover that beyond this initial duo, levels are dual-layered. Paralleling the course you walk as default is another in the background, which you can freely travel to. It's a trick used in titles like Mutant Mudds, but it's equally as brilliant here, and makes each level that more interesting to explore.
A major addition to Kirby's assortment of tricks is his Hypernova ability, which sees Kirby shimmer with a rainbow hue, much like Mario does when he picks up an Invincibility Star. For Kirby, it means increasing his suction, ingesting enemies of all sizes, as well as being able to pull part of the level's background away, revealing new routes, and it also helps solve small puzzles.
The game's fairytale structure is borrowed from the series' last great adventure, Kirby's Adventure on Wii. As with that then, each level contains a set number of Sun Stones, collection of which will unlock the world's boss battle, and allow you to move on to the next world. Finding the Stones becomes a compelling meta-game in its own right. The same can not be said for finding the 250 key rings, representing characters from previous games in the series, which feels like tedium.
For the first time since Kirby's Adventure in 1993, the difficulty has increased. Not by much, but enough to make the experience more entertaining than before. Boss battles especially benefit, and it helps they're all creatively interesting. If the difficulty curve feels bumpy towards the end of the adventure, it's still a pleasure to play a Kirby game when you can actually fail.
The Nintendo 3DS continues to stockpile great first-party titles, and despite his lower tier standing in the pantheon of Nintendo characters, Kirby's still keeping up with the moustached plumbers and tie-wearing simians out there. You'll find solid level design, varied challenges and a fun set of abilities if you decide to join him. We suggest you do.
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