Kirby: Planet Robobot Review: Kirby goes full Mecha
It is really hard to come across an awful Kirby game; however, it is common to come across a Kirby game that reuses the same gameplay from previous installments, which happens to be the case with Kirby: Planet Robobot. Now, I’m not saying that that is a bad thing because Robobot takes things from Kirby: Triple Deluxe and Kirby: Super Star and refurbishes them into something fresh, yet familiar. For example, Kirby has all of his basic moves like inhaling enemies to take their powers, floating, and progressing through individual stages in large areas to defeat a boss. The game borrows heavily from Deluxe in particular so alternating between the foreground and background, collecting stickers (the replacement for the keychains in Deluxe), and collecting code blocks (the replacement for the sun stones in Deluxe) to unlock boss stages return.
Completing Story Mode will unlock new modes like the Arena where you can battle bosses and Meta Knightmare Returns where you can play through an altered version of the story with Meta Knight. All of this is the bread and butter of Robobot and before I continue more on how the game plays let me briefly discuss the plot. Basically, an evil corporation with advanced technology invades Pop Star for its abundance of natural resources and Kirby, who was napping the whole time, decides to take offensive action against them. Not much of a deep story line but it is Kirby so I have no qualms about it; in fact the plot introduces a technology theme into the game that adds a little more edge and darkness to the colorful vivaciousness that is the usual style of Kirby games. The game is also compatible with Smash Bros. amiibos that grant you special powers like fire if you scan a Mario amiibo or sword for Link; it is also compatible with its own set of Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede amiibos that grant you special costumes and powers like UFO. The amiibos may not offer much to Robobot overall but they are nice little bonus to mess around with.
Back to the gameplay, the standard routine of beating a level and collecting things is made up for with the diverse array of returning and new powerups. Some new powerups include doctor, poison, and ESP, with the latter being based on the psychokinetic abilities of Ness from Earthbound. I enjoyed the inclusion of returning powers like mirror and jet because they have been absent from a Kirby entry since Super Star. Each one of these powers are used to vanquish enemies and to clear obstacles, and many of them must be used creatively to clear certain sections of the game. For example, there is a level that requires the poison power, an ability that allows Kirby to spew out a noxious gas, and you must blow the gas across a large set of fans to break a series of block in order to obtain a code block. It is moments like these that make me so compelled to Kirby platformers and Robobot has a ton of these satisfying moments, never making any of the levels boring.
As the title of this review suggests, Kirby has literally gone full mecha because he can now jump into a mechanized suit called a Robobot to bash enemies and solve puzzles. The suit is quite formidable because it can destroy pretty much anything blocking your path and, like Kirby, it can copy enemy abilities which is vital to beat certain parts of the game. I found the Robobot suit to be an exciting new addition that did not take away from Robobot’s core gameplay, plus the game limits how many times you can use it so you are never overpowered for long spans of time. A nice little bonus with the robobot suit is that you can decorate it with the stickers you collect throughout the game, with some of them representing characters from past Kirby games.
The music, graphics, and controls are excellent with nothing to complain about. Many of the songs in the game are an amalgamation of old songs and original tracks that have been remixed with an industrial twist. Perhaps my only complaint with the game is that is it very short and simple, you can easily obtain twenty extra lives in one playthrough. Despite its short length and simplicity, Kirby: Planet Robobot is another strong title that treads on the nostalgia of Super Star and Triple Deluxe in a good way by mixing in robots and advanced technology. If your a 3DS owner you should definitely add this game to your arsenal, you will not regret it.