Kirby Super Star Ultra (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 01.01.2010

Review for Kirby Super Star Ultra on Nintendo DS

From Kirby's Dream Land on the Game Boy, way back in August 1992, through to Kirby Mouse Attack in 2006, Nintendo and HAL Laboratory's little, pink ball of a character has had what many would describe as an illustrious career, spanning all sorts of genre, from standard platform outings, puzzle efforts, golfing shenanigans and even pinball and racing. The common denominator, though, is that whatever game Kirby features in, the quality is nearly always of the highest calibre. Now he is back in a special collection package that ties together some of his finest adventures, as well as mixing in a bunch of new features on top to increase its value for money further.

Nintendo has certainly not just lumped together a batch of old Kirby games for this new package, instead taking the originals and spicing things up by throwing in a bunch of extra content to make this feel fresh even for those that bought Kirby Fun Pack on the SNES over a decade ago. For instance, gone are the 2D introductory sequences, with them all being replaced by new 3D versions, as well as a healthy dose of completely new cut-scenes that were not included the first time around. Also, a few touch-screen games have been added to make this feel more of a DS game as opposed to an emulated SNES one. Two of these are mini-games, both testing reactions, as players must choose the card that correctly matches the image shown at the top of the screen in one of them ('Kirby on the Draw'), whilst having to flick bombs and worms away from their conveyor belt to allow Kirby to swallow as much food as possible before the timer runs out in the other ('Snack Tracks'). There is also an adventure where gamers can play as Meta Knight that makes use of the touch-screen. Whereas Kirby can wander around, sucking up enemies and swallowing them to obtain their powers, for Meta Knight it is a case of despatching opposing monsters to store up points on the touch-screen, then once enough have been accrued simply tapping on one of the skills shown to power him up, increase his speed, call another Knight to help out, heal wounds or unleash a devastating Mach Tornado.

For the traditional 2D side-scrolling adventures included, such as Spring Breeze and Dyna-Blade, Kirby can go about his business of sauntering through levels (running when double-tapping on the direction pad), breathing in air to fly around, sucking up enemies and blowing them back out as stars to harm others, or consuming them to take control of their powers (hammer flinging, fire breathing, sword wielding, bike riding, and many more - sucking in two enemies at the same time lets the player choose a random power or create a special new one) all on his own. Or, alternatively, pressing X will turn the current ability he has into a separate side-kick with that power (a 'Helper') so that you have a little extra back-up for the fights ahead. Unlike past Kirby outings, some of the games included here really do pack a punch. Sure, there is still the option to 'cheat' by flying high above everything, but since that saps all enjoyment out of the adventure, clearly it is not advised. Certain games are a walk in the park, but as the player progresses, each new game they come across picks up in the difficulty stakes to ensure there is a decent enough challenge for even veteran gamers.

Screenshot for Kirby Super Star Ultra on Nintendo DS

There is even a little twist where sucking up enemies does not grant Kirby the use of their abilities, in Milky Way Wishes where Kirby must save Pop Star using something called the 'Copy Essence Deluxe', which lets the pink ball-shaped protagonist gather many powers that can then simply be chosen from the touch-screen at the player's will, and there is no fear of being hit and losing the ability as in the other adventures. There are also modes where Kirby must take on each of the game's bosses in a row, or do so as one of the Helper characters, or even take part in a treasure hunt where sixty chests hidden around stages must be uncovered. The range of delights thrown in by Nintendo certainly helps to make this the best Kirby game in terms of value for money, yet on top of that it oozes fun from every pore, delivering a treat for everyone.

HAL has also brought back the multiplayer play-through feature where a friend can jump in to take control of the Helper that follows Kirby across a level. The beauty of it is that only one DS game card is required, making it as simple as having a friend with a DS unit to come along for the ride. Up to four players can also take part in any of the mini-games, so when dedicated solo players have worked their way through every inch of the game, uncovering all of its secrets and achieving the 100% mark, there is indeed still fun to be had with friends. There is just cause for this to be the best-selling Kirby game in Japan for many years (selling over 1.2 million copies so far), so it would be a real shame for Western gamers to miss out on what their Far Eastern counterparts have been sampling in their masses.

Screenshot for Kirby Super Star Ultra on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Kirby Fun Pack on the Super Nintendo was seen to be the pinnacle of platforming goodness back in the mid-1990s. Now Nintendo has taken that template and jazzed it up considerably to ensure that Kirby Super Star Ultra is one of the best Nintendo DS experiences, full stop. Kirby fans and lovers of the platform genre in general should certainly not miss out.


HAL Laboratory




2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (24 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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