As the resident unapologetic Kirby fangirl, I feel as if I had no choice but to choose the Kirby series to imagine on the Wii U. The little puffball of pink is one of the most unlikely video game characters in existence. Actually, when you think about it, his existence is pretty much down to the game programmers falling in love with the placeholder sprite. In previous games, Kirby has always been the guinea pig for Nintendo whether it’s for graphics, gameplay, or just games in general. While there’s been the standard Kirby platformer games, there’s also been the ones that take a whole new different route that’s never been seen before. Kirby Super Star was the one that combined a bunch of smaller games into one little fun pack (I believe it’s called Kirby’s Fun Pack in some areas). You also had Kirby Mass Attack in which Kirby is split up into 10 different little Kirbies who go on a mission to get his whole self back. I could go on about the diversity of Kirby games for paragraphs on end, but this is not what this article is about. This article is about how I would like to see Kirby be done on the Wii U.
There’s no surefire way to go about creating a Kirby game. It’s as blank a slate of a game format that you can find. All you really need for a Kirby game in order for it to thrive is to have Kirby, King Dedede, and Meta Knight. Maybe include the Squeak Squad if you feel so inclined, but that’s all you really need. And make sure that the setting is bright and happy with great music and the final boss is super scary in which it serves as a juxtaposition of the setting. You gotta keep the Nightmare Fuel for the kiddies…it helps them build character. So the possibilities using only these constants are endless.
As for ideas, I’ve got a ton of different ideas for plot lines and some minor ideas of controls. Every idea (which I’ll get to in a minute) all have one big theme– to utilize the unique features of Wii U. By continuing its tradition of stretching the gameplay mechanics to its fullest potential, the touchscreen must be utilized in some capacity, maybe even having something that marries the handheld and the console ideas into one. Hey, it’s only by tradition that Kirby remains the Nintendo Guinea Pig.
One idea that came to mind was a more fully expanded version of The Great Cave Offensive game in Kirby Super Star. Maybe this time, add a plot to it. Like maybe say that Kirby needs to find the 50 treasures of Pop Star in order to save King Dedede and Meta Knight from the grasps of Nightmare. Something to that ilk. You navigate through several different worlds in the search for these treasures, using a Metroidvania kind of approach where areas are able to be revisited. And the quirk for this idea is that the touchscreen is needed in order to get each treasure. Bosses, walkthroughs, and everything else is done by controller, but the touchscreen is utilized when it comes to getting whatever treasure. There’ll be some kind of code or some kind of strategy that’s needed in order to maneuver your way into finding whatever sweet treasure is there.
Another idea that popped into my mind was some kind of Kirbyfied version of Bowser’s Inside Story. In this idea, we see Kirby in the midst of finishing off a Waddle Dee when an evil spirit comes along and curses him for his gluttony. Kirby loses his ability to transform and because of this, the Waddle Dee is stuck inside of Kirby. You trade off between Kirby’s adventure of trying to find the spirit who cursed him and the Waddle Dee’s adventure in Kirby’s stomach to find his way out of Kirby in some way. The twist is that the Waddle Dee has an ability to gain different powers when necessary due to random trophies being stuck in Kirby’s stomach. The ending comes in the form of the two of them teaming up to defeat the spirit with the help of the Waddle Dee’s discovery of Kirby’s Ultimate Power. Something along those lines.
Before I go onto my final really big idea, here’s just a collection of a few random gameplay mechanic ideas that I’d like to see them continue or even try. In Kirby Squeak Squad, for instance, the touchscreen is used for a backup supply of random powers or ammo to attack enemies with. I think maybe doing something where you have a Kirby’s stomach inventory would be pretty fun. Have categories of important items, ammo, and powers. Of course, there would have to be a limit of some sort on what kind of powers. If you had more than 3 slots, then it would be a bit of a game breaker, don’t you think?
Then there’s an idea of having the big world map at your disposal, and from there you’d be able to go to whatever levels you want just so long as you’ve previously beaten them. It’d be a lot easier and convenient than having to pause and exit. However, this is an idea that would be good with any game, not just Kirby. Another gameplay idea I had in mind was to have the boss battles all rely on one certain mechanic. You’d use the standard mechanic for Whispy Woods, since he’s the easy guy. Then, for someone like Paint Roller, you use the tablet’s touch screen to try to out-draw them– and if you end up out-drawing them (or beating them to the punch…they’ll give you an outline you need to use) then you get the opportunity to attack them with whatever weapon that you end up out-drawing him with. You could do one that’s motion control related as well or one where you get your powers removed from you and you have to rely on cleverness (aka tricking the enemy to run into things). This would make the experience all the more fun and unique.
My final idea is more of a crossover than anything else, but it qualifies as it mostly focuses on Kirby. The story goes that Dreamland is taken over by an evil wizard who ends up splitting the Pop Star between nine different Nintendo franchise universes. Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede weren’t there to keep an eye on things as they’d all been led away from the universe by a prank letter saying they won a prize of some sort. The three of them then split up to enter the different universes in order to piece together the portal to the Pop Star.
One world could be related to the Mario universe, another Legend of Zelda, another Metroid and so on, and the genres could shift between each level and the gameplay would vary greatly. The order of universes doesn’t matter, and there’s also an ability to switch between the three different characters at any time. There would also be a boss battle containing the big bad of each franchise, each being mind-controlled by the wizard– this dude is omnipresent, I tell you! Once all nine pieces are put together (and maybe even a few allies per party?) they go back into Pop Star and defeat the evil wizard, whose mission was to turn the happy-go-lucky setting of Pop Star into something more “real” and “hardcore” because he is against overly cute things. (Actually, a big giant Nintendo crossover like this would be pretty awesome now that I think about it.)
It’s not really a question of whether or not Kirby will make an appearance on the Wii U– it’s pretty much a given that Kirby will show up on the system at some point in time. The question is how they’ll utilize this versatile franchise. My ideas are silly and just pure fangirl wishes, so we’ll have to see what happens once the Wii U comes out, but for all we know, Nintendo could take this franchise and revolutionize the entire concept of gaming as we know it. Or just do another standard platformer. Either way, I know I’ll be playing it once it comes out.
All this week at Nintendojo —