PAX East 2016: First Impressions — Kirby: Planet Robobot (3DS)

“Well…it’s a Kirby game.”

When Nintendo Fire team member Micah was the first to try out Kirby: Planet Robobot, I asked him how the game was, and that was his word-for-word response. This may excite you. It may make you groan. But what it won’t do is confuse you as to what you’re getting when you pick up this new Kirby title. You’re getting a Kirby game, plain and simple, without much in the way of surprises.

There’s more to it, of course—I mean, Kirby gets a robot suit in this one, so there are new elements—which we had a chance to explore in the PAX East demo.

Players were given a chance to choose from several distinct scenarios, the first being a typical 2D Kirby level. Same as you’ve seen in prior games, with a lot of elements returning players will recognize in terms of puzzles, problem-solving and rewards. In these levels, you can find hidden stickers (something we’re seeing more and more in Nintendo games, such as the latest yarn Yoshi title) which have a yet-to-be-determined purpose (remember, these were demo levels). The New Nintendo 3DS provided a good 3D experience for the game, but the controls were set to the familiar GameBoy control scheme that continues to prevail in Kirby titles these days. That may frustrate new players, but returning players to Kirby titles may already be familiar.

All of Kirby’s standard abilities come back into play in this title—inhaling enemies, copying abilities, being adorable. But it wasn’t until the second scenario that we really had a chance to see where this game (attempts to) stand out

The second scenario was a robot-based level where Kirby’s mech suit really comes into play, smashing through obstacles in his way and smash-punching enemies. Kirby can also change his suit’s focus by absorbing abilities that shift the robot suit, which comes in very handy in a variety of scenarios. It was actually quite fun to absorb an ability, drop it, and then suck in another baddie to see what power I could get next!

However, as fun as that was, the levels felt overly simplistic and the puzzles were…well, not very puzzling at all. Smash a wall with the robot suit, or turn a screw to raise or lower or rotate a platform. I mean, that’s great and all, but the element of challenge was missing. Hopefully this was simply a product of showing off a demo, and not a reflection of the final product—but it felt odd that there wasn’t something more challenging for veteran players to try out.

On the other hand, grounding Kirby in a robot suit takes away that element of “float past everything, mua-hahaha” which simplifies Kirby games in the first place—so there’s certainly great potential for challenge.

While Kirby: Planet Robobot didn’t wow our team, we didn’t dislike it either. It really was “well…a Kirby game” where you basically know what you’re going to get when you pick it up, and hope for a few surprises along the way. We’re crossing our fingers that the final product will be a bit more challenging, but otherwise…at least we know it’ll be cute and fun.


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Author: Micah View all posts by
Micah has been playing games since his first pong machine, and has been writing for as long as he could grip a pencil and not drool on the paper. So, for about a week.

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