Old 90s games – Published by Nintendo and HAL Laboratory for the snes in 1995 and later in 2010 for the Wii’s Virtual Console, Kirby Super Star had quite a legacy to live up to. The original old 90s games were whimsical treks through dreamland that exemplified a unique brand of platforming which became much beloved over the years. Kirby Super Star, sadly, falls a bit short of its predecessors. All the pieces for a great Kirby game are there, but it is cut into pieces, like an early mini game collection or party game, to the point that it loses the whimsy players fell in love with.
A World Divided
Kirby Super Star was a bold step forward for Nintendo. It was a precursor to the numerous mario retro game party and multiplayer N64 games which would follow in years to come, emphasizing the importance of multiplayer over single player. As such, the old games from the 90s is more enjoyable when played with friends, however is still a divided affair. Kirby Super Star is divided into nine game modes, most of which can be played by 2 players. Each has a smidgen of what made dreamland fun, but sadly does not satisfy as a whole.
The basics of one of the best old 90s games, the Kirby game, permeate seven of the nine game modes, allowing players to run, jump, fly, and copy enemy abilities. A first for this game, is the ability to create a companion for multiplayer or to simply be controlled by the computer, as a meat shield. The controls are a bit dated, but satisfying, however, only when a second player is introduced is the game any fun, when two players work as one to bring down the imaginative bosses. It is not hard alone, just unsatisfying.
The worlds in Kirby vary greatly. From the wispy woods, to kingdoms of clouds, to worlds of ice, water, and fire, but the problem is that each of these worlds are separated into different old 90s games to pad out the time spent on each. It’s not necessarily a bad idea on paper, however it is very flow breaking and lacks the cohesion of other Kirby games. Each feels like a time sink instead of a grand adventure, even the brilliantly choreographed Revenge of Meta Knight, which adds more story and personality to the Kirby universe. The brevity of each game mode begs the question, why could it not have simply been one game, straight through?
Powerful Multiplayer, Barren Single Player
The division of game modes offers very little to entice players. The basic gameplay is the same, with only minor variations. There is a mode which allows Kirby to hunt for treasures, but offers no reward other than an arbitrary score at the end for each of the 60 treasures. Another is a food race against, which seems like a good idea, but the levels speed by so fast, it becomes a blur quickly. Worse still are the mini games which focus on timing of button presses, no real skill or challenge. Despite these annoyances, the game does have some appeal. Multiplayer here is very satisfying.
Since Kirby can create allys, this game is best played with a friend, as they can experience the fun of working in tandem with Kirby, occasionally pulling of devastating combo moves together. A perfect example is one player is a wheel, while the other is Kirby. Kirby can ride it like a unicycle. The division does do at least one thing right. It creates a rising difficulty curve, allowing both players old and new to learn the tricks of the game slowly and get comfortable before the final confrontation, which ends as a boss rush.
Single Player is not entirely without fun either, as this game hold one of the largest libraries of Kirby powers available, ranging from sword master and ninja, to jet, wheel, or even mirror powered. Besides this though, the single player is rather unsatisfying. Metaknights Revenge is the pinacle, where Kirby must destroy his arch enemy’s ship and meet for an epic duel. One of the last modes actually allows players to choose levels, but since some levels require abilities from other worlds to advance, it quickly becomes an exercise in frustration. Other modes are simply too short or merely copy and pasted from previous modes. A perfect example is the Spring Breeze, the starting level. Except for a small change in scenery, it is almost the exact same affair in the next game mode, Dyna Blade,
Only for Friends or Fans
In short, there are better Kirby old 90s games out there. The original Kirby, Kirby 3, and especially Kirby 64 all offer a more satisfying single player experience, while not excluding multiplayer. Even with the advent of snes emulation and the Nintendo Virtual console, Kirby Super Star should only be played by extreme Kirby fans or friends looking to play something new together. Otherwise, it is just a large time sink.
Due in part to its multiplayer component Kirby Super Star was actually remade for the Nintendo DS, titled Kirby Super Star Ultra. It is a fine multiplayer game, but still an unremarkable time sink.
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