When the spaceship Starcutter crashes, interrupting our favourite amorphous pink hero Kirby’s cake-eating time, players are launched to the five corners of planet Popstar in search of parts to help send their new friend home.
Kirby’s Adventure Wii has more colour, vibrancy and happiness than you have seen in a while. Every themed level breathes with colour and subtle animation, providing great visual variety throughout this playful experience. Each world is crisp and clean, as is the animation, music and effects.
KAWii[nice – ed] is a side-scrolling platforming game where our pink friend, Kirby, can inhale anything around him, letting him either simply swallow, launch the item back out in a star attack, or in the case of certain enemies, transform into a pink version of them. The game uses this to grant Kirby different abilities. Swallow the knight for example, and you gain Sword attacks, the snowman gives you Ice. There is an incredible range of these different abilities and discovering them is a genuine delight. Some of them even have a ‘mega mode’ of sorts, where you can, for example, wield a hammer as large as the screen, destroying all in your path. Superb. The problem comes from the basic design flaw that none of them are necessary to complete the game. Because Kirby can float indefinitely, and inhale enemies to launch as attacks, you can quite often avoid these abilities altogether. Sure, that is not how you are meant to play the game, but at some points the way the game wanted me to play became so infuriating I simply floated to the end. The game has Energy Spheres to collect throughout each stage, which do require the abilities but again are unnecessary, and should have been used, like Mario’s Star Medals, as currency needed to progress.
With only five worlds ending in Boss stages, the game is a little on the short side. Those Energy Spheres I mentioned, along with Stars you collect throughout unlock challenge rooms, where you are tested in certain ‘hat’ abilities and game rooms, featuring a range of activities like a shooting gallery. While this in theory give players reason to collect each and every Sphere, I found none to be fun enough to play more than once.
One things KAWii does rather well is four-player co-op. At any time, a friend can lollop onto the couch beside you, press any button, and WHAM, help you get some of the trickier Spheres. When they get bored or hungry, they simply press ⊖ and WHAM, they are gone. As simple as that, which is exactly what you want.
I was really disappointed with Kirby’s Adventure Wii. It started out so brilliantly, full of charm and potential, but then revealed itself to not embrace any of that, instead offering a mediocre platforming experience neither clever nor fun enough to warrant playing above the plethora of other platformers on the system.