Based on past experience with this series, I do hold the Kirby games in pretty high regard. As such I have certain expectations when I come to try a new one. From playing titles like ‘Kirby’s Adventure’ on NES or ‘Kirby’s Adventure Wii’, I’ve come to expect pretty, well built, family friendly titles which are not necessarily challenging to any degree, but are fun and engaging enough to peak my interest.
This time around Kirby plays in a 3D environment rather than his usual 2D platform style, wondering around stages destroying enemies in order to score points. Unlike many of Kirby’s previous titles, this time he doesn’t possess the ability to mimic his enemies weapons or attacks. Instead this game reverts all the way back to the original Game Boy Kirby that sucks bad guys up with his ultra strong powers of inhaling, and then simply spits them back out as a form of ammunition. Each stage ends once every enemy has been destroyed and the player is given a ranking (bronze, silver of gold) depending on how efficiently this was achieved.
The stages are laid out in the form of flat, interconnected checkered boards which create a linear path from beginning to end. Although this game is presented in full 3D, it does handle and play like an old fashioned isometric adventure game. A more contemporary comparison would be something like ‘Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker’, although it must be said that Captain Toad does look and play a lot better. When it comes to Blowout Blast, stages are very bare and contain no hazards or interesting platforming segments. As a result this game does feel rather baron and not what I’ve come to expect from a Kirby game at all.
Kirby moves around rather slowly with the analogue stick, jumps with one face button, sucks and spits with another, and crouches with a trigger button, although I never found a single scenario throughout the campaign where crouching was mandatory so I ended up never using it. The ferocity of Kirby’s attack depends on how many enemies or objects he was able to suck up in one go. As such you can score more points by getting up close to a cluster of enemies, sucking them all up to make one large projectile, and then shooting it at another cluster of enemies, killing them all in one go. This is how you score more bonus points and leads to you getting a better ranking. This is pretty much the entire extent of what you have to do in this game. Some of the enemies in the later stages are a bit more stubborn and won’t allow Kirby to suck them up, unfortunately there isn’t a great deal of variety when it comes to the enemies and how to tackle them.
‘Kirby’s Blowout Blast’ isn’t just dry as far as gameplay mechanics go, but it’s also disappointingly short and incredibly easy (more so than usual). There are five main worlds to beat which are accessible from a hub area. Each world contains 3 to 4 short stages (each only taking a minute or two to beat) followed by a boss. Each time you beat a boss you’ll gain access to the next world. There are only 3 bosses in total, however you do face each one twice in different forms. Boss fights are similar to those found in games like ‘Super Mario Bros. 2’ where you have to wait for a piece of ammo (in Kirby’s case, a small enemy or a block to inhale) before you have an opportunity to attack them. Like everything else in this game, the bosses are very straight forward and not really challenging.
In total it took me less than an hour to beat the main game, however despite the short length there are some additional bonus levels to unlock which extend the game to a degree. If you complete a world and achieve a gold rank in every stage, you unlock a harder version of that world with more enemies to defeat. Achieve gold on every stage in the game and you also unlock a secret path. Unfortunately, as I found this game a bit dull to begin with, I had no desire to go back and unlock everything there was to offer.
On the positive side, the presentation is decent for a budget title. Given that the stages are made up of blocks and checkered grids, the graphical and decorative style is reminiscent of games like Minecraft or Portal Knights, with a touch of Sonic the Hedgehog here and there. Overall it looks pretty nice and looks even better with the 3D screen turned on. The music is upbeat and cheerful as you would expect from a Kirby game, however I do think some of the sound effects may be a little loud in comparison to the music.
I understand why this game is easy as it is aimed at children, however there are a lot of other Kirby entries like the Adventure series and Epic Yarn which were still fun and interesting despite not being difficult. There is so much that could have been done to give this game some more depth. I think the biggest absence has to be the lack of enemy variety and the fact that Kirby is unable to adopted other characters abilities. On top of this, designing stages with traps and hazards to avoid like a tradition Kirby game wouldn’t have hurt either. Here’s hoping that Kirby’s next adventure will be more satisfying.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo 3DS code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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