It was a surprisingly big E3 for Kirby. Not only was Kirby Wii playable for the first time but the pink ball of fun had another title playable on the show floor. Kirby: Mass Attack flew in under the radar for the Nintendo DS of all things. Kirby has already made several memorable appearances on the DS, but his latest outing shows there is still a lot of inventive fun to be had on the Nintendo’s original touch screen portable.
Gameplay takes place entirely on the bottom screen. The interface is quite simple, you touch somewhere on the screen with the stylus and Kirby moves towards it. You can either touch the screen with rapid click to get him to move or hold the stylus down in the direction you want him to follow. You can flick Kirby in any direction to make him jump or smash through obstacles by swiping over the touch screen. Kirby will grab onto and fight any enemy you click on within reach. It all seems pretty straightforward for a platformer until you add more Kirbies into the mix.
You generate more Kirby by collecting various food items strewn across the level. Each powerup contributes to filling up a meter. Once the meter is completely filled another Kirby falls from the sky. You have control of up to ten Kirbies at a time as they follow the same commands of your stylus. If any of your Kirby happen to get left behind or get hit by an enemy they will ascend upward to the heavens as an angel but you could save them by pulling them back down to the ground before they are out of reach. You can select one or all of your Kirby at once and trace a path for them to follow.
The more you play the faster you are able to amass more Kirbies for your army. There is true strength in numbers. In one area heavy blocks above halted the progress of my Kirbies’ march but by flicking the up swiftly the whole squad jumped together and smashed the blocks to pieces, something that was impossible with just one Kirby. With more Kirbies running around you are able to pull down heavier roots and completely overwhelm enemies in a swarm of pink destruction.
I was not given a formal introduction to the game's mechanics but was able to successfully navigate the levels through intuition alone. The game feels so natural whether you are navigating your way to reach doors in the sky or frantically flicking your Kirbies during a boss battle. The game is bright and colorful; this is a Kirby game after all. The game brims with charm and creativity meaning there is still at least one DS game to look forward to. However, it will not be a long wait because Kirby: Mass Attack releases on September 19.