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Kirby Super Star Ultra review

16 games for the price of one – how can you resist?

THE ARENA
Battle 20 bosses from the main game, back to back with health breaks in between. It is what it is. Beating this unlocks Megaton Punch.

REVENGE OF THE KING
A harder, longer version of Spring Breeze with new enemies and reworked boss battles. A great mix of something we already had with just enough challenging new material for seasoned players to chew through. Also nice to see a Kirby outing that isn't a total cakewalk.

META KNIGHTMARE ULTRA
Replay the events of Spring Breeze, Dyna Blade, Cave Offensive, Revenge and Milky Way Wishes as Meta Knight. Sir Knight can't absorb enemies like Kirby, so instead he collects magic points from each enemy he kills, then channels the points into one of four attacks on the touch screen.

Given Knight's popularity after Brawl, we're a little surprised they didn't try to push this out as its own game. The scary thing is that it works pretty damn well, and if we found out tomorrow that Nintendo had a full-grown Meta Knight game on the way, we'd be down. His varied attacks, nimble sword swinging and aerial controls would easily support an entire adventure with just a tad more substance. Completing this game will unlock the other SNES holdout, Samurai Kirby.

HELPER TO HERO
Same as The Arena, but now you play as one of the actual enemies Kirby steals powers from - they come to be known as "Helpers" after you spit them back out as mentioned in the Great Cave Offensive blurb. Very difficult, but a nice bonus for people who play this far. Plus it's genuinely neat to have 20 new playable characters.

THE TRUE ARENA
Battle all the harder, reworked bosses from Revenge of the King plus loads of other really tough crap that proves Kirby can be just as hard as Mega Man 9 if he has to be. Have to admit our desire for another boss gauntlet is waning, especially after plowing through them in all the above games plus Arena and Helper to Hero. Solely here to taunt those who want 100% completion.

SAMURAI KIRBY/MEGATON PUNCH
Two “Nostalgic” games from the 1997 SNES version that are simple quick-draw button presses. They’re the very definition of minigame, and are joined by a trio of DS-only games listed below.

KIRBY CARD SWIPE/ON THE DRAW/SNACK TRACKS
Three touch-only minigames that can be played solo or locally with four other people. Nothing special, thankfully made accessible via one cart. They're not the reason you're buying this - the other umpteen cool ass games are.

Despite all those kind words, we have a little bit of Nintendo fanboy rage building up because of Ultra. See, it's a port of an 11-year-old SNES game. Kirby's first DS appearance, the groundbreaking, system-definingCanvas Curse, proved platforming still had room to grow and Nintendo hadn't lost its mind by making a touch screen handheld. After that came the back-to-basicsSqueak Squad, and now here we are with a re-issue of a game that's three generations old. We still recommend Ultra, but wouldn't this have made more sense as a $10 WiiWare update? Do they not know what to do with Kirby? Seems that way sometimes, especially here where seven of the 16 games play almost identically.

Super Star's been widely held as the best Kirby game ever, so with everything it had plus seven more games, Ultra becomes the new top pick. This is indeed Kirby at his best, so even those who've yet to sample the Mega Man meets Mario gameplay should give it a try.

Oct 7, 2008

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionKirby faces a number of adventures where he must run, float, copy enemies and use Helpers to fight the likes of King Dedede and Meta Knight. It may become same-y after a while but it’s tons of reliable fun for the money.
Franchise nameKirby
UK franchise nameKirby
PlatformDS
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Release date22 September 2008 (US), (UK)