Kirby has been around for a fair few years now (since 1992 with Kirby's Dream Land, in fact), and this month marks his return in the form of Kirby Star Allies, developed for Switch and with an emphasis on party play. Yes, Nintendo just can't resist taking the job of one character and making it a merry band of four (just look at games like The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and Super Mario 3D World for instance), so now we have a game that's built all around jolly cooperation, whether that be with your AI recruits or real friends.
The premise will be very familiar for fans of the cute squishy ball, as you still hammer the jump button to slowly float upwards, and you still inhale all that's in sight, with the choice to swallow your enemies and absorb their powers. There's an added twist this time around though, as now you can spread the love by throwing hearts with X, which turns enemies into best friends who join you in your party of four to take on the world. It is in this crew then that you tackle the strange events in Dream Land, since Dark Hearts have fallen from the sky and spread darkness throughout.
It wouldn't be the Switch without some local multiplayer fun, as there's simple hop-in-hop-out co-op available for friends to fill the shoes of different characters, and up to four people can huddle around the TV as cute little figures. If you choose to play alone though, these allies are AI-controlled, following you around in a little train like loyal companions, rather than doing what real people inevitably do and wander into trouble.
What are these allies good for though? Well, they provide extra powers that you can use in combination with each other to solve puzzles. For example, combining the electric character's shocking ability (pun intended) with yourself controlling a hammer-wielder will give you an electric hammer, which not only packs a mightier punch but also lets you activate power buttons to unlock new areas to explore. It's by using these powers together, then, that you can access all of the areas, defeat the enemies (like those holding ice shields), and progress through each level.
There are plenty of enemies included in the game, and although some can't be recruited with your love heart, most of them can, offering different attacks and weapons not to mention abilities like ice, flame, wind, shock, and more. By mixing and matching these you'll not only be able to solve puzzles but also find some really devastating attack combinations, whether that be spinning a flaming yo-yo above your head or becoming a curling puck sliding along and destroying anything in your way.
All of this is pretty easy though, and if you're playing with an AI even more so. In most areas the puzzle you need to solve will have the character you need right there in the same room, so you don't really have to search for the right ability, and the solution isn't that hard either. Sure, it's meant for kids, and we understand that, but just a little bit more challenge in the nooks and crannies of the levels might have been appreciated by those who want some friction when finding all of the hidden collectibles. On top of that, the AI also automatically does what's needed of them when near an appropriate spot, so it's kind of like they're solving these puzzles for you at times.