Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 17.08.2004

Review for Kirby & The Amazing Mirror on Game Boy Advance

Many people love Kirby and many others loathe him. He is just simply one of those characters that are either adored or hated. However, it is very difficult to undermine his gaming presence as over the past fifteen-plus years he has starred in nearly as many top quality titles as Nintendo's mascot, Mario. Rather than resting on its laurels after The Pink One's creator left the company, though, HAL Labs has instead teamed up with Capcom's Flagship studio to produce a special piece of platform action on the GBA. Do the two manage to combine to create the ultimate Kirby game or not? Find out more by reading on...

Kirby games, just like most Nintendo platform titles, have a rather shaky storyline that ties all of the action together The Amazing Mirror is not about to break that chain. High above Dream Land, where Kirby, amongst others resides, lays a place known as the mirror world. Now, unfortunately, this world is being devastated by a shadowy figure and this is having a knock-on effect, troubling the dreams of those in the land below. Therefore Meta Knight sets off to rectify matters. However, circumstances lead to a Dark Meta Knight causing problems, the mirror shattering into ten pieces and Kirby, who was merely taking a nice walk out in the sunshine, being spliced into four separate Kirbies! And then there is the matter of a shadow Kirby...Hmm, it is hardly Shakespearean stuff, but it rates marginally higher that most platform plots!

Screenshot for Kirby & The Amazing Mirror on Game Boy Advance

There is one aspect of Kirby games that has run all the way through the series, be it the platform games or the various Kirby spin-offs, and that is the fact that they are all blessed with vibrant, luscious graphics. Guess what? The Amazing Mirror is more of the same, only far better this time round. Many belittle the Game Boy Advance for merely being a SNES with a few minor additions, but comparing The Amazing Mirror to the gorgeous Kirby's Dream Land 3 on the Super Nintendo reveals that the GBA has far more power to push around many enemies on-screen at one time, four Kirbies floating about, create magical effects that amaze the gamer's eye and include great detail for the different abilities that Kirby can obtain, all the while managing to prevent any slowdown from ever occurring and remaining superbly rich and colourful. Now come on, but that to me impresses greatly...

Fans may despair at the fact that Flagship has not re-used the traditional Kirby tunes, with the exception of the one on the menu screen, but let me placate you by revealing that all of the new creations are totally and utterly within the bounds of the usual Kirby Universe. Yes, Flagship has managed to produce to some chirpy tunes that fit in absolutely seamlessly and actually have you reaching for your stereo headphones at times. All of the usual types of sound effects are firmly in place, too, and can be accessed from the options screen once you have collected hidden items within the playing field. But Flagship truly must be commended on starting from scratch and still ensuring that you really do feel at home whilst playing.

Screenshot for Kirby & The Amazing Mirror on Game Boy Advance

Flagship is one development team that Nintendo really should give a major pat on the back. Not only has it produced some absolutely splendid handheld Zelda games, but has now managed to draw from its Four Swords games and Nintendo's very own Metroid series to produce the ultimate Kirby game. Your basic aim is to find and collect eight shards of The Amazing Mirror and uncover the route of all the recent evil-doings. To do this you shoot off, controlling your Kirby as normal in the series. However, this time around things are ever so slightly different.

First of all the world layout is not of a linear nature. No, not by any means is this like a normal Kirby game. In fact, change Kirby to Samus Aran and you are indeed playing the latest Metroid adventure. You see the nine various worlds do not come one after another, with them all being accessed initially via World One: Rainbow Route. Eventually, though, you will uncover hidden access points and switches that open new doorways and link the different worlds together. This gives the player a huge sense of freedom as you can flit between worlds, searching all over until you reach a particular road block that requires a particular ability, switch to have been hit, or the help of other Kirbies.

Yes, 'other Kirbies'. This can be played through with three of your friends or with the computer controlling the other three coloured-Kirbies. The four characters go through the game on their own separate paths, but should one require help, a simple press of the 'R' button accesses your personal mobile phone and warps them to your aid. Then you can hit far off switches or simply overpower a tiresome boss. But care must be taken as your battery power dies down very quickly upon using the phone. Therefore a new element of skill comes into play. It is all extremely clever and a marvellously realised idea that goes hand-in-hand with the usual Kirby Copy Ability (whereby Kirby sucks up an enemy and, upon pressing in the down direction, adopts its power).

On the abilities front, HAL/Flagship has included some very nice new ones such as Magic, Missile and Gift, as well as favourites such as Fighter, Sword and Parasol, clever one-timers like Cook and Crash, and the almighty Smash Bros ability that gives you access to the whole range of moves that Kirby has in the vastly popular N64/GC melee fighter classic! These are not simply for aesthetic value, though, as many will help you solve puzzles and gain access to areas previously unreachable – like turning into a stone that can pound wooden stakes, using a laser beam to blast through blocks, or becoming very tiny to slip through very small passageways. Everything is first class and makes you wish the game never had to end!

There are also three sub-games that you can turn your hand to if you ever need a break from the general play. Below is a quick run-through of each one, as they should not be overlooked:

Speed Eaters – The premise of this and all the subsequent mini-games is ‘Test Your Reflexes’. This one will drive you crazy as you must either beat the computer or your friends to the punch. The four Kirbies are sat around a table with some food hidden under a metal lid. Once the lid rises and two large exclamation marks appear on the screen you must hastily bash that ‘A’ button to be the first to suck in the delicious goods. Such a basic idea and yet so crazily addictive when trying to beat your friends…

Screenshot for Kirby & The Amazing Mirror on Game Boy Advance

Crackity Hack – The scene starts with the four coloured Kirbies all lined up next to their large boulders and then the challenge begins. A meter will appear in the corner, which upon filling completely you must press ‘A’, at which time another meter will appear for you to do the same thing over again. Once done a couple of times, your power will have been built up enough and a special white target appears on-screen. It quickly moves down and you have to time your button press so that you stop it as it goes over another white target on the boulder itself. Hey presto, you are the winner, creating the largest crack and leaving the others shame-faced…

Kirby Wave Ride – The four Kirbies ride along the water automatically and you must time your jumps so that you launch yourself off the top of waves, which thus gives you a nice little boost. If you time a jump perfectly and land straight onto another wave and manage to time your jump from that accurately as well, then you will get a combination boost which obviously gives you a huge advantage over your competitors. It is all simple fun, but actually far better and more enjoyable than the GameCube’s Kirby Air Ride!

You heard me perfectly well. People might be used to the usual final section of Kirby reviews where it simply states that whilst the game is extremely enjoyable, it is a great shame that it all ends far too promptly. Well, time for a shock as Kirby & The Amazing Mirror goes on and on, longer than that annoying Duracell Bunny. Flagship has incorporated such a massive, intricate and diverse world into this new Kirby game that you will be wondering just how on Earth it is actually possible to achieve that elusive 100% rating.

With many taxing bosses to overcome, a multitude of major and minor items to collect, various differing routes to be traversed, plus the option of playing through with three of your friends, you are looking at a lifespan far longer than your average platform game. Maybe even in the region of twenty-five hours if you are desperate to reach the ultimate level of perfection. However, let us not forget the engaging sub-games that are not only addictive fun with your friends, but certainly worthy of passing some time alone against the computer AI…All-in-all, this Kirby game proves that it is well worth the monetary investment!

Screenshot for Kirby & The Amazing Mirror on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

You will be absolutely amazed by this game. Kirby aficionados will snap it up whatever the case, but for those doubting Thomas's out there I have to inform you that overlook this title and you will be missing out on one of not only the best games of 2004, but one of the most delightful titles on the GBA to date. Fusing a wonderful mixture of Metroid, Zelda Four Swords and classic Kirby platforming action together, this is possibly the pink puffster's most impressive title so far. Do not bother renting - buy it now!

Developer

Flagship

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (4 Votes)

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

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