Kirby Wii hands-on preview

As we've seen with Canvas Curse, Mass Attack andEpic Yarn, Kirby excels at trying new things. But what about the classic Kirby gameplay the series is most well-known for? What if sometimes all we want to do is inhale a bunch of enemies, absorb their powers, and float around like a puffy pink cloud all day? Well, that's where Kirby Wii comes in. If you yearn for a new Kirby game that harkens back to Kirby classics like Kirby's Adventure and Dreamland 2, read on.

Kirby Wii (and yes, that's still a placeholder title) gets back to Kirby basics, with a feel similar to other Wii updates of 2D franchises like New Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Country, where the levels are still in 2D but the graphics have a 2.5D appearance. The gameplay itself is similar to Kirby's Adventure, where you inhale enemies and press down to absorb their powers. We saw lots of classic copy powers during our play time, like the parasol, sword, needles, fire and ice powerups, plus new powers like the cowboy whip. Like in Kirby Super Star, Kirby wears adorable hats to indicate his current power too.

So far, this all sounds like standard Kirby fare, but Kirby Wii takes the usual action up a notch with super abilities. We only got to try out one such ability super our session, the ultra sword, and it was delightfully over the top. When you absorb the ultra sword ability from a blade knight, Kirby gains the ability to use a gigantic, screen-spanning sword for a limited amount of time/uses. The animation for this attack was awesome, and each time we used it, Kirby pulled out a different type of sword – from rattan katana to butcher knife – to lay waste to all enemies and obstacles in his path. Kirby also has a super inhale that allows him to inhale larger objects and enemies as well as spit out larger projectiles.

Another feature that Kirby Wii adds is multiplayer, which allows up to four players total with drop-in/drop-out functionality. The first player leads the party, and the additional players tag along and can die and respawn unlimited times as long as the main player keeps going. All four players can play as differently-colored versions of Kirby if they want to have access to copy abilities, or any of the three extra players can choose to play as King Dedede, Waddle Dee or Meta Knight. Each of these characters plays a little differently and each has his own special weapon too – we particularly enjoyed hammering enemies as Dedede.

Not only was the multiplayer fun to play during the time we tested it out (the annoyances we had with New Super Mario Bros Wii were not present here), but it also really highlighted how adorable and detailed the animations are in Kirby Wii. If you stand close to the main Kirby you can latch onto his head, and all four players can in turn stack up into a little totem and ride around on Kirby. We love little touches like this, and there was something absolutely precious about seeing big King Dedede clinging to little Kirby's pink head.

Kirby Wii is set to release this fall, so look for more info in the coming months.

Jul 12, 2011

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