Kirby Super Star Ultra is a remake of the excellent Super NES platforming classic Kirby Super Star, with improved graphics, some touch screen minigames, funny animated cut scenes and more game modes.
First let’s talk about Kirby Super Star. The game was a sales hit in Japan, but did not have the same success outside the country. Many factors can be listed as a reason, but the biggest was probably that Mario 64 was released 6 days after Kirby Super Star was released and the fact that the SNES was already dying. So the game, even being the masterpiece that it was, did not get the proper attention it deserved. It was a total shame. It seems like Nintendo became aware of this problem and decided to give the game a much deserved second chance on the DS.
Kirby abilities are well know by everyone; you run, float and fight in the middle of the action while gobbling up your enemies. Also Kirby can inhale enemies and spit them out as stars, but the main gameplay comes from swallowing foes and copying their abilities, then using the abilities to defeat other foes and advance past obstacles or using your foes as allies after swallowing them. If you press pause, a menu will appear showing you all the abilities and the control sequences you need to execute them.
Kirby Super Star Ultra offers you 11 games modes (including 4 new modes) plus 5 minigames, 3 of which are new. You start with only Spring Breeze and after finishing it you will get 2 more modes: Dyna Blade and Gourmet Race.
Here I will give you the basics for each game mode:
Mario, Peach and Toad cheering Kirby!
Spring Breeze is rated with only a one-star difficulty rating; it’s very easy and has only 4 levels. It is used like a trainer room, where you start recognizing Kirby abilities in a colorful, funny and very easy way. You can finish this little jewel in about 10 minutes, which worried me at first. It was like a walk in a nice short park. You enjoyed it, but you wanted more.
Good thing the game knew it so it offered me 2 more game modes. My first choice was Dyna Blade.
You can choose your next destination on Dyna Blade Map
Dyna Blade is similar to Spring Breeze, except with a couple more levels and more secrets. The levels are bigger and the difficulty is up, but it’s still nothing that will make you die. Basically you’re extending the Kirby gaming experience by finding new bosses and new abilities to copy.
Run Kirby Run!
After beating Dyna Blade I chose the Gourmet Race , and here is where you start understanding the true nature of the game. Gourmet Race is very different from previous modes. This mode is all about racing against King Dedede and collecting food. Sounds fun? Well it is, and you are challenged to improve your times, which adds some replay value. Finishing this modes gives you access to other ones, including my favorite: Great Cave Offensive!
Great Cave Offensive is a great adventure. You are in a giant cave and there you have to use the right Kirby-abilities to get 60 treasures hidden in the different sections of the cave, all with different themes and enemies adding a nice layer of strategy to the game. To find all the treasures you will need to have the right ability at the right moment. This mode will give you (if you want to get all treasures) more than two hours of fun alone or if you just want to travel and escape the cave it will last only around 20 minutes. As a side note, between the treasures you will find cameos from other Nintendo games like the Triforce from the Zelda series or the screw attack from Metroid series.
The game has new 3-D cinematics to help you undertstand the history
Revenge of Meta Knight is the first part of the game where you start feeling a growing sense of difficulty. This portion has 7 lengthy levels and is the first one in the game that has a real story woven into it. At the end you close with a nice fight against Meta Knight, which offers you the rare opportunity to see him without the mask.
If you want to survive, you need to master your defense and know your abilities.
In Milky Way Wishes mode, you have to stop the fight between the sun and moon. You have to travel to space, moving around defeating different bosses and collecting special abilities. Here the system changes a little bit, you can't get special abilities by swallowing enemies, instead you have to find and collect the special items with copy abilities thru the stages. Once you get these abilities you can keep them permanently, meaning you can go into any special ability that you own anytime anywhere via touch screen or Pause Menu, thus adding a new depth to the game. Finding all the abilities is not easy and as with the Great Cave Offensive, you will spend a lot of time backtracking if you really want to get all of the available abilities. If not, you can just go straight ahead and try to beat the mode with a few of them. Finish this mode to find the mode that separates kids from adults: The Arena.
Kirby Super Star (SNES) Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS) Kirby Super Star Ultra has improved graphics and remixed soundtrack over Kirby Super Star.
The Arena is the first game mode when you really see the difficulty level begin to jump. In this mode you will fight all 19 bosses in a row! And mind not to lose since you only have one life. You do get some help from the 5 maximum tomatoes available though. After defeating a boss you will go to a room where you can decide to start your next battle or get maximum tomatoes[,] or even change your copy ability with a new one since there will be 2 different random copy abilities for you to choose after each battle. This is a very frustrating mode that you will only master with experience.
After this you will see the new game modes:
Revenge of the King: A harder version of Spring Breeze with some palette swaps of enemies and levels. It’s spiced with a higher difficulty plus one new boss.
Helper to Hero: A shorter version of the Arena, but with only 13 boss fights and 3 maximum tomatoes at your service this mode is as difficult as the Arena mode. Here you play as one of the twenty helpers with his own unique abilities. As a curious note, to get the 100% from the game you have to beat this mode with all the helpers, which is far from easy.
Boss Fights are intense and fun!
Meta Knightmare Ultra: In this mode you control the Kirby nemesis, Meta Knight. With him you traverse all the game's levels. The gameplay is very different from playing as Kirby. Instead of copying abilities, every enemy you beat gives you energy coins which you store (up to level 50) to unleash special moves, like a healing power or calling a helper.
The TRUE Arena: This is the hardest game in Kirby Super Star Ultra. With only 10 boss fights but without maximum tomatoes, this mode is pretty similar to the arena, but only much, much more difficult.
Overall the modes are solid, vibrant and very funny. The only negative I see is the sudden hike in the difficulty level when moving between modes and getting to the Arenas.
Kirby Super Star Ultra has 5 minigames. Two are the classics Megaton Punch and Samurai Kirby, where you can test your speed and accuracy to beat your foes tapping the buttons at the right moment; a fabulous treasure for nostalgic players. The other 3 Minigames are new and are controlled 100% by the touch screen, the main focus on these is speed.
Kirby Card Swipe shows you a number of cards on the bottom screen, each with a different character on it, then flips them. A card is revealed on the top screen, and your goal is to touch the matching card. It's pretty basic, but also very quick.
Sorry, you just tapped a BOMB!
Kirby on the Draw is a shooting gallery in which enemies pop up on screen and you tap them quickly to shoot before the other players can. This minigame is a bit harder than it seems due to the bombs that appear instead of targets (hitting them makes you lose points). This is definitely the funniest and most intense of the new minigames.
In Snack Tracks you have to stop Kirby from eating any bugs, rocks, or bombs that are coming his way (not an easy task due to the speed of the game and the attacks from other players). This was my least favorite of the 3 new minigames.
If you play and like the Smash Bros Series you will feel pretty familiar with various things:
1- The Items
2- Kirby Attacks (a lot coming from the helpers’ abilities)
3- The Music.
The music for this game is great, one of the most exciting things when playing the game was hearing the original soundtrack remixed and in a higher quality. With almost 100 tracks included this soundtrack is one of the most memorable from the SNES era, just improved.
The controls are precise and on the spot. The response is fast and accurate, adding more to the nice experience. The control sequences used to pull special moves after Kirby copies the abilities of his enemies gives you the results that you desire. The touch screen is not used outside of the three new minigames, but I don’t really see a practical use for it in the main game anyway.
Friends can play along like helpers
Kirby Super Star Ultra allows you to play with friends via local Wi-Fi. In the main game levels, your friend can take control of the helpers via download play. If you only have one cartridge while playing with a friend, both of you have to play the game looking on the DS screen of the player with cartridge, but if both players have their own cartridges they can play on their own DS. On the 3 new minigames up to four players can have a party via download play.
The game offers a lot of replay value. If you have friends with DS[,] the minigames collection will keep you coming for more. Also the co-op play option is very cool and addictive to play. And if you want to complete the 100% of the game you will have to find all the treasures and beat the Hero to Helper mode with all the 20 characters, making this a great and very difficult journey. The game alone will take around 8-10 hours to finish, but you could spend almost twice that time if you try to get 100% of what the game has to offer.
Kirby Super Star Ultra is a fun and very well packed game, with vibrant graphics, solid colors, new funny animated sequences and excellent music. Newcomers and veterans alike can have fun with it due to the different difficulty levels thru the stages. Without doubt I can say that this is one of the finest Kirby games on the market; it plays great and deserves a place in your DS collection.