Nintendo's chubby little pink fellow has starred in dozens of fantastic games. Now that he has entered the divisive realm of freemium gaming, should gamers still embrace his cuteness? Invite a few friends over and let's find out.
First of all, I'm a huge Kirby fan. I've loved every single game from when I played Kirby's Dream Land as a kid up until last year's Kirby: Planet Robobot. Therefore, when I saw this on the eShop, I got excited. Unfortunately, all it essentially consists of is a collection of boss fights. Sure, Kirby bosses are memorable but they definitely aren't the highlight of the series. In between fights, you'll hang out in a hub area where you can purchase items and equipment, scan amiibo for extra materials, gather a few Gem Apples (the basic currency) every 12 real-world hours, and enter secret passwords for rewards. Considering you have a team of four Kirbys in your party, decking them out in awesome equipment then taking down a previously tough boss can be rather satisfying. Overall, the basic setup of alternating between fighting bosses and playing around in the hub area makes for a mostly unvaried dynamic.
The best part of Team Kirby Clash Deluxe is that it's bursting with unique Kirby charm. Seeing Kirby in his various forms is just adorable. Whether he's a Sword Hero, Hammer Lord, Doctor Healmore, or Beam Mage; you're bound to love watching the little chums bounce around and frantically battle together. The bosses themselves compose a large array of classic enemies from the series which will make fans (such as myself) nostalgic. There are so many bosses that I honestly didn't even recognize a few of them.
I hate to say it but it's time to discuss where Team Kirby Clash Deluxe goes wrong. The biggest annoyance for me is the fact that the freemium model presented here is highly manipulative. It reminds me of Pokemon Picross in that you're heavily rewarded for the most insignificant accomplishments at the start then once you run out of currency, it takes forever to get more. This sort of manipulation should be frowned upon. If they want you to use real money to buy in-game currency then they shouldn't tease you by giving you loads of it right off the bat. It's like a drug dealer letting some poor sap sample their product then they get hooked as a result.
On top of the psychological manipulation, there's a lot of required waiting around in order to progress. After attempting to fight an enemy, you have to wait a long time for your Vigor meter to replenish. Of course, you can upgrade it by using Gem Apples if you want. One time, I quit the game in mid-battle to tend to something else and when I turned the game back on a few minutes later, I was out of Vigor. That's just ridiculous. Not only does the Vigor system force you to wait, the fact that you can be stuck without Gem Apples (which are required to unlock further battles) is a huge pain because they literally take twelve hours for a tree to generate just a handful of them. You could use real money to buy more but why not use that money to buy a better game?
That's right; Team Kirby Clash Deluxe isn't even a fun game at its core. Whereas fighting bosses in previous Kirby games is an enjoyable part of the experience, the bosses here are very tedious in comparison. Seeing as four Kirbys work together to take down the bosses, being able to revive and heal each other makes them way too easy. That being said, there's a time limit and if the time runs out then that's it. Just kidding, you can use Gem Apples to buy more time. This is another manipulative tactic because many of the bosses have annoying patterns that may involve bouncing all over the arena which makes them extremely difficult to hit or implementing temporary invulnerability thus wasting your valuable time in the process. On the plus side, you can fight alongside a few local friends.
As a huge Kirby fan, it pains me to say that I'm very disappointed with Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. From the manipulative freemium model to gameplay that devolves into an annoying exercise of patience; Kirby has definitely seen better days.
- + Has that distinct Kirby charm
- + Plenty of classic bosses to fight
- + You can play with a few friends
- - Freemium model is very manipulative
- - Far too much waiting is required
- - Gameplay primarily consists of easy, tedious, and frequently irritating boss fights