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Kirby Superstar Ultra Package Art
GENRE
Platformer
DEVELOPER
HAL
PUBLISHER
Nintendo
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
Yes
BUY NOW AT

Kirby Superstar Ultra

The original Kirby Superstar was ahead of its time in many ways. Years before mini-games were in vogue, Superstarís fragmented approach of many small games working together to form a larger whole was something genuinely new. Unfortunately it was released in the twilight years of the SNES, overlooked in favor of big budget RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the excitement for the first true 3D games right around the corner. Now, nearly a decade later, Kirbyís sleeper hit has been revived on the DS as Kirby Superstar Ultra with a new look, new games, and the same classic gameplay.

visuals

Kirby Superstar looked great on the SNES, and it still looks fantastic here. In fact, Kirby and many other characters have been totally re-animated to take advantage of the DSís more powerful 2D abilities. The aesthetics are standard Kirby: puffy white clouds, stars everywhere, and lots and lots of oh-so-adorable enemies out for blood. Itís pure eye-candy in the most literal sense, the sort of visual Prozac that brightens a rainy day.

audio

Odds are that there is at least one Kirby tune buried deep in your subconscious and waiting to be hummed for days on end. Even better odds are on the song being found in Kirby Superstar Ultra. That catchy tune from Kirbyís Smash Bros. stage? Itís here. Itís a hall of fame of Kirbyís catchiest tunes, and they wonít be leaving your head for days.

The sound effects and music are directly from the SNES version. While some rearranged tunes and sfx would have been a nice touch, both are products of the SNESís excellent soundchip and require little in the way of enhancement.

gameplay

Nintendo claims you are getting ďtons of games in oneĒ on the back of the box. While this is technically true, Kirby Superstar Ultra is far from being a 100-hour epic. Really, itís more like 10 or so bite sized games that work out to be standard game length. Itís a neat concept that was years ahead of its time on the SNES, but right at home today.

Some of the games, like Spring Breeze and Dynablade are by-the-numbers Kirby platformers with lots of running, jumping, and devouring enemies whole to steal their powers. Speaking of powers, Kirby Superstar boasts around 20 unique and highly inventive abilities to absorb. Each ability contains several moves to discover and almost all of them are extremely fun to use. Take the Yo-Yo, for example. On top of a spinning dash attack and a standard ranged swing, you can also grab enemies behind you and toss them into the ground. Every single one of the abilities has lot of little facets and details to explore and all the attention to detail really makes Superstar the definitive Kirby title.

Perhaps the most complicated game is The Great Cave Offensive, which fuses Kirby and Metroid as you explore a giant network of caves hunting for treasure. Each chest is deviously hidden in a way that will require critical thinking and expert use of the powers available in the immediate vicinity. There are over 60 treasures to find, a feat that will likely take longer than beating most of the other games included in Superstar.

A few offerings like Gourmet Race and Megaton Punch are simple minigames. They donít have much substance on their own, but they round out the package and add some variety. There is also the Arena, perhaps the most challenging mode in the game. The arena is basically a boss rush mode with a limited number of healing items and the ability to choose whichever powers you want to use. Despite the forgiving nature of the Kirby series, fighting several bosses in a row is a surprising challenge that requires a lot of strategy.

For the hardcore fans who explored every corner of Kirby Superstar on the SNES, Ultra offers several brand new and much more difficult games. Two are tougher versions of the Arena and one is a unique journey through almost all of the included games with a different but very familiar character. These new additions are surprisingly full-featured and completely seamless additions to the original game. They probably don't justify purchasing the game if you own the original and have done it all before, but they're worthy extras on top of an already robust game.

multiplayer

If you happen to have a friend who has a DS and a copy of Kirby Superstar Ultra, youíre in for some excellent co-op. One player controls Kirby and one controls a helper, made from any of the enemies Kirby can absorb. If Kirby swallows a bird for example, the second player will become that enemy with all of its powers and abilities. Itís a great design that harkens back to two player beat-em-ups, although it would be even better if it could be done with only one copy of the game.

overall

Nintendo puts a lot of care and attention into its handheld ports and remakes, and Kirby Superstar has aged very well over the years. If you missed out the first time around, itís a must purchase. Ultra is one of the most fully-featured and fun platformers in the DS library. Veterans might want to give the game a look for its updated graphics and brand new games, although there may not be enough new content to warrant a purchase. Nonetheless, Kirby Superstar Ultra is a worthy remake of a classic title. Hopefully the pink puffballís finest outing will get its due this time around.

final score 9.0/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Shawn Warren
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"Why so serious?"


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