E3 2011: Hands-On with Kirby Wii

The Kirby series is easily among my favorite Nintendo franchises. I’ve been a die-hard fan ever since the very first Kirby’s Dream Land on the GameBoy, and usually make an effort to check out everything with a Kirby label on it. I’ve enjoyed some of his less traditional titles (Canvas Curse, Epic Yarn), but was extremely excited to see him return to form with the upcoming Kirby Wii. It was playable in Nintendo’s booth, and I managed to get time with one of the two levels available.

Will I love it as much as Kirby Super Star? Is it really the Crystal Shards follow-up for which we have all been waiting? Follow me past the jump and I’ll break it all down for you.

As you’ve probably seen from the trailer, Kirby Wii is definitely a return to form for our little puffball. He’s sucking up enemies for their abilities and floating through beautiful, colorful environments. One of the biggest new features is the occasional appearance of super-powered versions of those abilities, such as Ultra Sword or Ultra Fire, which cover huge areas of the screen with their effects. They can only be used a limited number of times, and they usually destroy every enemy on screen with a very cinematic attack. They’re not just for show, though; they can be used to blow away otherwise indestructible parts of the environment to reveal hidden stars (Kirby’s version of Mario’s coins) or even warps to hidden parts of the level. These sections (at least in the level I played) contain extra mini-bosses, and defeating them rewards you with what appear to be cogs for the airship seen in the trailer.

The other big feature on display was the four-player co-0p, which had players two through four controlling Waddle Dee, King Dedede, or Meta Knight. These characters unfortunately don’t have Kirby’s copy ability, but instead use their own set of powers. And if you’re wondering how Waddle Dee attacks, he’s actually been equipped with a rather versatile spear and a very plucky little bandana, making him easy to distinguish from the run-of-the-mill Dee’s you’ll be encountering.

As far as powers go, I’m sure that classic Kirby fans will be extremely pleased. In the level I played, I got to use Kirby’s Beam, Cutter, Sword, and Fire, each of which felt every bit as fun and unique as they did in previous games. Each of the various attacks was there, as well as a few new ones, like the ability to wind up and toss a high-powered blade with the Cutter power. I also got to play with the brand-new Leaf power, which felt right at home next to the others.

Overall, I was extremely happy with what I played. It feels just like classic Kirby, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this title.

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Danl Haas

Danl is a home-grown Minnesotan gamer, artist, and programmer. He loves rhythm games, RTS, and platformers. He loves building computers, too. His favorite games include Phoenix Wright, Dance Dance Revolution, and Katamari Damacy.

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