COMPARED to Nintendo’s other mascots, Kirby has always had an affinity with younger audiences, and it should come as no surprise to find the challenge posed by the latest game in the series is configured accordingly.
Thanks to the languid pace and the eponymous pink sphere’s considerable skillset, the vast majority of the title can be breezed through with little difficulty; but that does not mean the experience is devoid of thoughtful design and involving set-pieces.
A 2D platformer that appears to abide by the genre’s customs and conventions, its world is a saccharine rainbow-infused jumble of E-numbers come to life. The early levels make for a straightforward introduction as enemies are inhaled and dispensed with, allowing Kirby to exhibit the best of his chameleon-like powers. Frankly, it all seems a little too predictable.
Play on, however, and Triple Deluxe reveals its many surprises. Gradually, the action shifts between a series of planes, forcing you to veer in and out of the foreground and background, making use of warp stars and avoiding hazards which are propelled from the distance towards the game screen. All this is achieved with some excellent stereoscopic 3D animations, a technical feature of the 3DS that has been underutilised of late.
In tandem with some visually impressive stages - the second world, Lollipop Land, being a particular highlight, with its crisscrossing diagonal walkways - there are some nice game design ideas, such as a fleeting scenario which pays tribute to Buster Keaton’s famous Steamboat Bill Jr collapsing building routine.
Kirby, too, has a few interesting new powers at his disposal. The hypernova ability in particular is a joy, as he sucks in enemies, items and pieces of scenery with aplomb; the horizontal axis of the screen shudders and jolts as trees are uprooted. It is not just a cosmetic gimmick, either - an early stage sees the ability used to suck back a wrecking ball in the air before exhaling forcefully, sending it crashing through a barrier.