Kirby Planet Robobot 3DS Review
Developer: Hal Laboratory
Publisher: Nintendo of America
ESRB Rating: E
It’s time to pierce the heavens with the latest installment of Hal Laboratories’ Kirby series. Planet Robobot adds a mechanical twist to the Kirby formula to differentiate itself from the previous titles. However, it will not alienate longtime fans due to the amount of call backs. This review will refrain from story spoilers, but will talk about unlockable modes. For the review only the Smash series of Amiibo, and Metaknight Kirby series Amiibo were used.
The game starts with the Haltmann Works Company arriving on planet Popstar with one purpose: to expand the company and make more money. To accomplish this goal, they drill into the star shaped planet and transform it from a natural environment to a cold, mechanical wasteland. King Dedede, the Self-proclaimed King of Dream Land, and Metaknight attempt to stop this and fail. Metaknight’s Halberd, a flying airship, is no match for the technologically advanced super weapons of the Haltmann Works Company. Kirby, managing to sleep through all the commotion, wakes up and heads off into the unknown to put a stop to the mechanical nightmare.
The story tries to be engaging for what it is, and it’s commended for it. There are some really tense and funny moments. New characters such as Executive Assistant Susie are going to leave an impression for a long time as she is brimming with personality. The game can be quite clever sometimes with examples including the name of the main villains company, “Haltmann.” It’s supposed to represent Hal laboratories and when I realized that it got a chuckle out of me. It’s not the deepest of stories, but it’s pretty good for what it is trying to do. The develeopers also manage to mix story and gameplay together where you see the results of the robotic take over such as when the mechanized Whispy Woods chases you through a level early on.
The game’s presentation is remarkable due to it sporting the best use of the 3D feature on the handheld. Constantly switching between the background and foreground makes the 3D pop so much and how both planes interact with one another. Not only that, enemies will fly at your screen, attacks will pop out and there are times where Kirby gets hit and he will slam against the camera. It’s even funnier when he’s riding the Robobot armor, as it will crack the lens temporarily. Everything in the game is just so expressive, like the enemy Waddle Dees driving cars in world 2-1 and Kirby just being absolutely adorable. The sound track is full of new tracks, remixes of past Kirby tracks and songs ripped from previous games. While I would have liked to see a remix of “above the clouds” rather than a copy and paste, it doesn’t detract from the music as a whole. The brand new songs aren’t over shadowed by the remixes at all. The title screen theme is such a good listen, Aqua Harbor gets me in the head bopping mood and P-R-O-G-R-A-M is somber yet nails the final battle feel. All of these things along with a frame rate running at a consistent sixty frames per second makes the presentation one of the best aspects of the game.
Kirby Planet Robobot rewards players who don’t rush through every level. There are a lot of secrets to uncover using the varied copy ability system. When Kirby inhales an enemy he gains the abilities of that enemy. Not every enemy gives him an ability, but most do. Each ability has various attacks you can do by holding the B button or pressing a certain direction. The game has a list for what an ability can do in the pause menu. Tearing through enemies with powerful abilities is quite cathartic, but get hit a few times and you might lose it. Power-ups like Sword, Hammer, Smash Bros. and Poison are the highlights since they are so frantic. The Robobot armor even has its own ability system which is much simpler than the standard one, but it causes more destruction and mayhem. Sword armor is the most destructive and fast paced one so keep an eye out for it.
Kirby Planet Robobot will not challenge the hardcore gamer as its main campaign is simple in design. Kirby’s flight ability will allow him to fly over most hazards, enemies and making it near impossible to lose a life from bottomless pits as well. The challenge will come from finding every code cube to unlock every optional level in the game. Collecting all the stickers that allow you to decorate your Robobot Armor will prove challenging as well since there are over one-hundred and fifty of them. The campaign may be simple, but it is still very fun and does some interesting things with the level design. The game is not devoid of challenge as there are modes that will unlock after the main story is completed.
Metaknightmare mode puts you in control of Metaknight who plays similarly to sword Kirby, but with many expansions to his arsenal. You defeat enemies to store energy to make him faster, do huge screen nuking attacks or recover some health. You go through a much more condensed version of the main campaign with harder bosses and some exclusive bosses to this mode. This mode is going to pull at the nostalgia of long time Kirby fans.
The true challenge comes from the Arena and True Arena modes. In the arena you fight through the bosses of the main campaign with some health restores in between fights. True Arena is where things get brutal as you fight every Metaknightmare boss in order with few health restores as Kirby. You will be able to choose whatever power up you want beforehand, so try to pick the best one for you.
There are also some side modes like the local multiplayer focused Team Kirby Clash where you link up to four players to take on bosses, level up and conquer. The lack of online multiplayer is extremely disappointing since the potential of countless hours of fun to never be achieved. However, the other side mode Kirby 3D rumble is the most disappointing. Kirby’s natural abilities were brought over very well into the third dimension, but the lack of a copy ability stops this mode from reaching its true potential. All you’re doing is sucking up a bunch of enemies to spit them out at other groups of enemies to get a big combo. It’s also very short, and left me wanting more.
The game has Amiibo functionality, in the form of easy access power ups. The Kirby series of Amiibo even have exclusive skins for Kirby. Metaknight, Dedede and Waddle Dee give Kirby a similar appearance to them. The Kirby Amiibo will grant Kirby early access to the UFO ability and it is devastatingly strong. The UFO power-up is not exclusive to the Amiibo, but unlocking it is the biggest challenge in the game as it requires a 100% save file. Making the Amiibo feel like a micro-transaction. The Smash series of amiibo grant you various power ups related to that character. Example being that the Smash Bros. Ness Amiibo will grant Kirby the ESP ability. The Smash Bros. Kirby amiibo will grant Kirby a special ability that gives him his Super Smash Bros. move set. It can also be found in the secret Hal Rooms spread out through the game.
Kirby Planet Robobot excels at being a simple fun game on the go with a fantastic presentation. The power-up system adds some chaotic elements that make each level fun to traverse through and the Robobot armor only makes it more hectic. The amount of content will keep you busy for a good while despite some missed potential in side modes. The developers put some love and care into the game and it shows.
+Simple Yet Fun
+Loads of Content
-Side Modes Are Not Very Fleshed Out