Kirby Mass Attack (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 27.07.2011 5

Review for Kirby Mass Attack (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Nintendo has been having great success with the Kirby series on DS so far, despite a stuttering start when it tried something different for Kirby Power Paintbrush (Canvas Curse in the US) early in the system's life, which focused solely on touch-screen controlled gameplay. The more traditional Kirby Mouse Attack (Squeak Squad) turned into a smash hit in both Japan and the US, though, and the remake of SNES compilation Kirby's Fun Pak, Kirby Super Star Ultra, followed suit, selling even more. Now, with a fantastically strong fan-base on DS, Nintendo and HAL are trying a different approach once more. Will Kirby Mass Attack be well received, though?

Kirby Mass Attack is no normal platform entry into the long-running Kirby series, and is instead harking back to the days when the little round, jovial character was used in numerous experimentations to get other genres successfully into homes, such as Kirby’s Dream Course (golf), Kirby’s Star Stacker (block puzzler), and Kirby’s Pinball Land (...guess...), all of which were roaring hits. After seeing one test project underperform, though, and there being a reported cancellation of the proposed DS update of Kirby’s pinball shenanigans by UK outfit FUSE Games/Silverball Studios, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory had to play it a little safer. Following two traditional platform releases that both saw huge sales across the world, it is time for HAL to dip it toe into the water once more and try something a little bit different.

This latest Nintendo DS project is all about controlling a maximum of ten Kirby characters around the colourful world simply by using the stylus. Rather than being a copycat Power Paintbrush, though, it takes an almost real-time strategy approach, except placed with a two-dimensional environment that sees players having to tap on the screen to get Kirby’s attention so that he follows the directional command. As stated, movement is not D-pad controlled, with the stylus being placed on the screen and Kirby following its lead. The aim is to collect plenty of fruit throughout each stage in order to fill up a special meter that permits another Kirby to enter the fray. Once more little pink critters have joined the ranks, the real fun can begin.

Screenshot for Kirby Mass Attack (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

The lure of Kirby Mass Attack is definitely the variety included, from being able to get the group of Kirby characters to follow touch-screen directions, to being able to cluster them together into a special ball and draw a limited on-screen path for the newly formed protective bubble to follow, right through to flinging the little fellows into blocks to break them, onto destructible objects around a level, and even onto enemies to start bashing away at them. New pathways can be opened up, as well, plus the chance to obtain extra fruit (which imbue more points and, eventually, extra Kirby characters) by piling several little pink balls into an area or onto an obstacle at once in an effort to use the collective brute force to pull items from the ceiling, knock down trees, and even smash through otherwise impenetrable blocks. There are indeed times when the whole experience has a Pikmin feel to it, mixed in with some general RTS aspects.

Should one of your Kirby Klan (sorry…) receive too much damage during its various exploits, it changes from pink to a pale shade of blue, and if hit again starts to fly off, complete with cute little fluffy wings and a grey halo above its head. However, there are two ways to protect even a dying Kirby. First of all, should one start flying away, flinging a healthy Kirby at it drags the soul back to Earth for resurrection. The alternative is to launch Kirby through healing rings that can be found at certain points, avoiding potential death-filled situations by keeping the group in a safe bundle, smashing through enemies with a flick of the stylus whenever their protective shielding is down, or even hiding in the right spot so that rolling obstacles do not leave the whole group squashed, with the objective being to slot under the tumbling boulder’s imperfection; its large hole.

Screenshot for Kirby Mass Attack (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

There is a heck of a lot of variety pouring through the veins of Kirby Mass Attack, with its different enemies requiring a certain amount of Kirby characters to weigh them down, as well as pound away at them successfully, plus a whole host of extras that must be collected throughout each stage to increase longevity. With a wide range of characters from past entries, some fantastic use of the touch-screen controls, and a general feeling of charm that flows from the game in general, Kirby Mass Attack is another example of the strong end to the Nintendo DS’s lifespan.

Developer

HAL Laboratory

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Strategy

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Jimmy (guest) 28.07.2011#1

Sounds a bit like they've tried to re-use bits of Canvas Curse for this. Certainly no bad thing! Has my interest, that's for sure.

Guest 29.07.2011#2

I like everything I'm reading. This sounds really interesting and fun!

AdamC3 (guest) 29.07.2011#3

There was a smart section where there is a boulder rolling back and forth, with a small chunk missing. Players had to hold the stylus down to group all the Kirby characters together and gently draw a path that kept them safely in a position that meant as the boulder rolled towards them, they were safe in the missing chunk!

Clever game. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rob64 (guest) 06.08.2011#4

OMG - this sounds amazing! When's it out in Japan? Might have to import this asap. Surprised there hasn't been much attention directed towards this, tbh.

It's out now in Japan - came out last Thursday and should be in this week's Media Create chart Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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