Kirby Super Star Ultra

Kirby Super Star Ultra
Format: Nintendo DS
Players: 1-4
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 18th September 2009
 HAL Laboratory, Nintendo

The remake to Kirby Super Star on the SNES. Or Kirby’s Fun Pack as it was known over here; the Kirby name changing continues to confuse! Fun Pack was a collection of eight small games involving Kirby copying enemy abilities and bringing a buddy along for the ride. It was packed full of content and the brisk pace and amazing visuals and music made for the best in the series. Ultra improves everything we know and love about the original, and add seven new games to the mix! Talk about Ultra.

Super Star Ultra brings the original game into 2009 with a gorgeous new set of visuals. Bigger and bolder, the world of Dreamland really feels like the sort of place you’d end up if you drifted off into a deep sleep. Colours are bright, the characters stand out and the starry space levels in particular are a visual highlight. The only strange addition with the new overhaul is the use of cgi cinematics. Seeing 3D Kirby replay the classic SNES openings is a nice idea, but the bad compression and glaring difference between the videos and the in-game visuals makes me wish they didn’t bother. Music has been untouched as far as I can tell, which is fine as the music was brilliant back then, still brilliant now.

As for new content, the game adds seven new games meaning Super Star Ultra is made up of:

4 Platform games
5 Minigames
2 Platform remixes
3 Arenas
1 Race Mode

A shame the new content doesn’t really bring anything completely brand new to the package, but the remix stages are great, providing new music, new enemies and a rather cool mode in which you play as the warrior Metaknight. Touch screen abilities are added here and it creates a refreshing ride through all the games stages. A shame the new content focusses too much on touch screen minigames and boss endurance arenas. A game doesn’t need three boss endurance unlocks. Maybe Kirby himself does though, he loves to murder the residents of Dreamland on a regular basis, over trivial things like stolen cake or being rudely awakened.

The new touches make for an even thicker package than before and while some new additions seem a little pointless or misguided, the gameplay from 1997 is still as fun as it ever was. Wandering through levels sucking up enemies and stealing abilities is done in a way the recent Mouse Attack game only weakly imitates, and it shows what creative force can be behind the series. Taking out a giant battleship and escaping by motorbike, Travelling through space to stop the sun and moon from fighting, taking part in a samurai duel. These events are just a small portion of what Super Star Ultra provides. Just a shame the whole game doesn’t allow single cart multiplayer. One thing this doesn’t beat the SNES game on. Still the new and the old, there remains a place for both. Make sure you own at least one of them and see what Kirby is like at his best.

8/10

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