Kirby Mass Attack: updated hands-on

Our earlier hands-on of Kirby Mass Attack explained the basic details of its unique approach to platforming – in short, you use the stylus to guide a horde of Kirby clones through cheerfully colored levels – and today we have a fresh look at the game, along with a batch of new images.

Above: And a trailer!

The game begins with just one Kirby, controlled entirely with the DS stylus. By flicking, sliding and tapping the screen, you can direct Kirby through the games many levels. This is reminiscent of the excellent Kirby Canvas Curse, which also relied entirely on stylus control. However, Mass Attack revolves around multiple Kirbies, not just one; by eating food sprinkled throughout each level, more and more Kirby duplicates will rain down, up to 10 total. The more you have, the faster you can defeat enemies, spin platforms or activate switches.

It’s a simple premise that evolves in some rather creative ways. For example, when you have a flock of Kirbies following your lead, you can flick two or three to one enemy, another two to a switch, and maybe one more to pick up some food lying around. Conversely, you can tap directly on an enemy to summon your entire armada on one spot, beating the baddie senseless. Think of it as a Kirby/Pikmin crossover, and you’re pretty close.

When you finish a level, you’re punted back to the world map where you choose where to head next. Thing is, each level has a Kirby quota that must be met, so you need to enter that specific area with 5 Kirbies, 7 Kirbies and so on. Eventually you enter the boss battle, which in my case was series regular King DeDeDe (seen above).

I gotta say, Mass Attack gets pretty crazy at times, and this boss battle was a great way to convey how much multitasking is necessary to succeed. DeDeDe tosses bombs from the top screen, which you reflect back by flinging Kirbies in rapid succession. However, there are also baddies tossing bombs into the area, so you have to worry about them (and their large-blast-radius bombs) in addition to DeDeDe. Eventually he drops down to do battle on the bottom screen, and from there you can engage in a number of different approaches – with so many Kirbies at your disposal, there’s no one correct way to finish him off. Keeping all this straight is a real challenge, but in a fun, semi-strategic way, not some taxing, frustrating mess of sprites flying all over the screen

Another level starred this ice dino called “Freezy Rex,” who slowly trudges across the level, forcing the screen to scroll right. It’s like the hundred other auto-scrolling levels you’ve played, but with the added wrinkle of wrangling the Kirby army as the left side of the screen constantly threatens to smash you flat.

So Mass Attack takes elements of Canvas Curse, but does it pull from any other Kirby classics? I’m glad you asked! As with Kirby Super Star, there are several minigames and unlockable extras tucked in, which are unlocked by earning medals in the main game. One on display, a 2D shooter called Strato Patrol EOS, was a thorough 2D shooter starring laser-blasting Kirbies. Even as an unlockable, this one minigame had several levels and a whole new gameplay mechanic – all for free! Other extras won’t be so large, but a handful of the 14 additions will be meaty. Very generous!

Mass Attack launches on September 19, just 10 days after Star Fox 64 3D and the new flame red hardware. Odds are Mass Attack will be among the last notable DS games released, so we’re hopeful it turns out to be a suitable swan song for one of the best gaming devices of all time.

Aug 11, 2011




  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - August 12, 2011 12:06 a.m.

    well everyone knows it's all about the angry birds and minecrafts........................................................................................................................................ so those can be our new kirbees and weegees and marios
  • Pocotron - August 12, 2011 12:01 a.m.

    Seems I've been waiting too long to respond. So yeah I like Nintendo and I like their games. However, they follow the same formula in my eyes. Now I respect everyone's opinions and we all have them, so all I was saying that Kirby seems to spice things up a bit more than other classic IPs do. While some like Mario do so in the 3D games, they also happen to be on different generation consoles. That's all I believe but hey, what do I know? I've never played a Zelda game. And what I said before doesn't pertain to Zelda since I've never played it.
  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - August 12, 2011 midnight

    @ThatGuyFromTV err. those were the TWO reasons. it was both of them. i was just highlighting the one to try and make a point. also to troll. so yeh
  • electrofreeze - August 11, 2011 10:58 p.m.

    Scanning the page, I read this as "Kirby Mass Effect" at first. That put a very strange image in my head...
  • ThatGuyFromTV - August 11, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    @TheBrownestWRPGuknow no, it was because it was insanely difficult, although the original SMB2 was basically a glorified level pack for SMB1. Not complaining with that though, SMG2 was a glorified level pack for SMG1 and I still had shitloads of fun with that.
  • badgraphix1 - August 11, 2011 9:25 p.m.

    This game looks kind of fun but I'll probably only rent it.
  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - August 11, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    @isimikehinde i don't want to be an obvious troll here, but the only reason mario 2 was so different than the first one, was BECAUSE the original japanese mario 2 was so ridiculously similar to the first one.. other than that, i see your point.
  • UsernameLoser - August 11, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    @isimikehinde That's why I only buy one game in a series unless its completely different from the past game(s), the Sly series for example, I bought the first and the second, but I did not buy the third. As for BlazBlue, I own only Continuum Shift, I didn't buy Calamity Trigger. And I didn't buy SFIV, because those updates are inevitable. I'm sure you understand what I mean. Nintendo always does the same things with the games, they just give it different graphics and music, then add a single stage with a single gimmick that is used only once, then call it a day and repeat the same shit going on for the other levels. It is the fans' fault that series like Zelda are just there. They aren't sequels or spin-offs, they all just exist, like the fat nerd down the street and the school jock next door. They don't introduce anything new, they just REintroduce things.
  • isimikehinde - August 11, 2011 7:21 p.m.

    @Pocotron i don't see how mario bros, mario bros 2, n mario bros 3 are the same. then i dont see how mario64, sunshine, galaxy are the same. i think the problem is that because nintendo uses the same icons to sale games weather innovative or not is where people have the problem. Either way a game is a game,it doesn't matter if its a new characters or not, good example is guilty gear to blazblue, which basically uses the same mechanics, but different characters.wat difference does this make when ur still havin the same fun wit d 2 games?
  • codystovall - August 11, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    I agree with pocotron people defend mario by saying he switches it up and besides paper mario that is wrong.
  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - August 11, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    fucking /thread
  • shawksta - August 11, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    Interesting, this is gonna be fun! @Pocotron Ill admit, most Mario games didnt do anything, but the 3D platforming ones are Icing on the cake. Super Mario 64 was the very first to out Mario 3D,Galaxy revolutionized the Platforming Genre and its hard to believe Galaxy 2 did, but it did. it brought New and better platforming tricks not done before and it just feels different from the first. and Super Mario 3D land is a fusion between mario's 2D games and 3D games. I wont argue over your opinion because we all have our opinions, im just letting you know. @usernameloser Thats retarted, you cant state a reason that makes sense
  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - August 11, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    @usernameloser support, you say?
  • UsernameLoser - August 11, 2011 6:21 p.m.

    @Pocotron That's actually the reason I hate Nintendo. I personally think they just recycle all of their gameplay with new gimmicky or lazy touches. I bought 3DS for the third-party support.
  • therawski - August 11, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    @FOZ I think you're about half right, let's see, Pinball, Dream Course, Tilt N' Tumble, Canvas Curse, and now this. True Epic Yarn wasn't originally a Kirby game but neither was SMB2(US) and people still love that one (I don't). Kirby's Adventure and Dream Lands are basic platformers but he's got more powerups than Mario. Kirby's always doing something new, plus he's so cute. He's doing better than MegaMan right now.
  • TheBrownestWRPGuknow - August 11, 2011 6:10 p.m.

    and again, it's HAL Laboratory. these aren't the same people who do the other 1st party nintendo games, like your mario etc. this isn't a zelda where they're following a certain blueprint. kirby is kind of just detached enough to be a little more adventurous. there'd be a riot is there was a mario or zelda similar to epic yarn, ya know? and i'm glad we get these kirby games, because it's always a good time
  • FOZ - August 11, 2011 6:10 p.m.

    The sidescrolling platform Kirby games, that is. I don't think either Canvas Curse or Epic Yarn started as Kirby games.
  • FOZ - August 11, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    Kirby doesn't try to innovate, practically every Kirby game since the start has been the same. It's just that Nintendo gets an idea, and at some point in development it turns into a Kirby game, it's not that the Kirby franchise itself is trying to be innovative. But this one actually looks to be a Kirby game and it's trying something new.
  • Pocotron - August 11, 2011 5:56 p.m.

    @UsernameLoser Are... are you being serious? I don't hate Nintendo games. I just think they could try harder to do something to innovate and try something new. And Kirby does it a lot more and a lot better than other titles. Again, this is just my opinion so nobody needs to get all mad about this.
  • UsernameLoser - August 11, 2011 5:50 p.m.


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