Kirby & the Amazing Mirror
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is a surprisingly fun blend of a Mario-esque platformer and transformer kick-buttitude ruled into the cute ball of pink fluff named Kirby. Kirby manages to capture the essence of classic Nintendo games with a long and varied list of bad guys, enormous map of gameplay and nice assortment of power-ups.
The plot, like many of Nintendo's best games, does leave a little to be desired in the originality department. It's your basic bad guy turns something good to evil and it's up to Kirby to right the wrong. The twist, and it's a doozie, is that Kirby is somehow broken up into four differently colored puffballs.
The game starts out with you controlling the original pink Kirby and your three replicas hopping, sucking and floating along behind you. The trio sort of bounce all over the screen, throwing switches, sucking up bad guys and floating around. But it isn't long until it's just you. Fortunately, you've got a cell phone and as long as you have battery power you can call in the Kirby cavalry to do a quick level clearing with you. One of the things that makes this game so much fun to play is Kirby's ability to suck up a bad guy and then absorb their powers by squatting in place for a second.
There are 20 different powers you can absorb, but you can only have one at a time. Not only do the powers give Kirby new abilities, like turning into a chef and cooking up everything on screen for some health, or firing lasers, it also transforms the cute little guy ' giving him a little bandana when he becomes a fighter or tiny wings when he becomes cupid, for instance.
Despite the game's hardcore platform and action play, everything about Kirby still has that Kirby cuteness ' even the bad guys. But that's just one of the fun things about the game. Another interesting change in the Nintendo platformer tradition is the fact that the game is completely non-linear. Instead of giving you a series of levels to beat, one map after the other, you're given a hub to start from and it's up to you to explore the twisting spokes in hopes of finding new paths and eventually the different end bosses you have to defeat. The hub is a cloud room filled with mirrors and each mirror transports you to different levels, which in turn have their own collection of mirrors spread along the map. Fortunately, this maze like construction does come with maps of a sort, but it will be up to you to find the right branching paths that finally lead you to an end boss.
The point of the game is to collect a bunch of mirror pieces and to do so you'll have to defeat all of the bosses. The game also includes several mini-games that are played in the main game and can be played separated by yourself or with a friend.
The multiplayer part of the game can be quite fun, either playing the mini games against each other, or adventuring together through the game ala Mario and Luigi.
The graphics are heavy on the cute, but still offer up enough detail and humorous elements not to get annoying. The same can be said for the sound, which features a very upbeat cutesy soundtrack, but nothing too annoyingly cute.
Don't let the title stop you from getting this game. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror may star a cute little ball of fluff and his doppelgangers, but it's still a fantastic game following in the footsteps of such classics as the Mario and Zelda adventures. This is one of those games you buy a Game Boy for, something you can sit back and enjoy like a good book.