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Kirby Squeak Squad - hands-on

The insatiable puffball Kirby’s back once again, but his second DS outing looks to play more like his traditional games than last year's stylus-heavy Canvas Curse. You'll guide the pink one through Dreamland in search of stolen treasure and, of course, a host of new powers to ingest.

Probably the coolest thing about Squeak Squad is its power-up system. You can now use the touch screen (which displays the inside of Kirby’s stomach) to mix items that he's inhaled to form new, more effective powers. Kirby's oversized innards can hold five items simultaneously, so there’s plenty of scope for interesting combinations. We especially enjoyed seeing Kirby turn his sword and fire items into a firesword - now that’s a lethal weapon. Your new powers can melt, freeze or break away parts of the candy-colored world too, so you'll have to make smart use of them to find all the hidden goodies.



Other than that, only the touch-controlled sub-games offer anything new. There are three of these to play through: two, Speedy Teatime and Treasure Shot, test your reaction speed as you try to help Kirby get munchies before the bad guys do; the other game, Smash Ride, has Kirby riding a hover-star (you control its direction of movement by brushing the touch screen) in an outer space bumper car contest. There’s a four-player wireless feature on these minigames, and you only need one copy of the game to get going, so it’s altogether a good package.

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