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Kirby Mass Attack DS proves there is still plenty of life in the DS with a whole new approach to platforming, as well as a new style of Kirby game. Many will miss this game when it's released, make sure it's on your radar though.
Being a slightly younger gamer, I first came across Kirby in Super Smash Brother Brawl (Wii). I got pretty good at the game playing as Kirby, mainly by frustrating my mates by stealing their powers. You see, Kirby has the magical ability to vacuum up items and characters and absorb their abilities.
I was a little surprised to hear that Kirby Mass Attack on the DS wouldn't be featuring this classic aspect of the little pink fluff ball. Once I had played it for a while though I could see why. This is different spin on platform gaming - and Kirby games in general.
I've been trying to describe it to friends who have played more Kirby games than me, and it's hard not to make it sound gimmicky. Officially its been dubbed a side-scrolling real-time strategy game, but I don't think this really gets to the heart of the matter.
To me this is still a platform game, but one you control with the stylus not the D-pad and buttons. Rather than a single Kirby you have a small army of ten little pink guys to look after. Generally they follow your cursor star on the touch screen. You can also select one or all of them and draw a line to direct their path - this is where the strategy gameplay comes in and it does feel a little be like Command and Conquer.
You attack enemies by flicking the little chaps at them or by tapping them to send a swarm of mini-Kirbys at them in an ant-like fashion. You also need to circumvent obstacles on each level by getting the Kirbys to cling onto scenery or push things over. It is all very cute and wrapped up in a story about an evil villain who has split Kirby into ten pieces - of course it is your job to recover his true form and defeat the dastardly plan.
I'm glad that Nintendo are still supporting the DS with some really innovative ideas.
Although I know I'm still struggling to really get across how this feels to play, and my friends are still slightly unimpressed, I really enjoyed my time with Kirby Mass Attack. It felt like a cross between Patapon (the side-scrolling, rhythm action strategy on the PSP), Locoroco, Lemmings style games like the recent Mario March of the Minis on the DS and a classic Kirby platform games.
The trick for Nintendo with this will be to convince people who haven't played the game that it is worth giving a try. If I had a copy to lend out, I think my friends would really enjoy it. As long as you are open to a new twist on the Kirby formula, and the mix of gameplay, Kirby Mass Attack offers something fun and unseen before.
Although some of us have moved on to focus more on 3DS games, I'm glad that Nintendo are still supporting the DS with some really innovative ideas and big brand games. In fact I think it's only now we are really seeing the full potential of the DS pay off -- although trying to convince my friends of this is like water of a ducks back.
Kirby Mass Attack will be hitting store shelves in the US on 19th September and in Europe soon after - although we are still waiting for a firm date.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
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