Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS) Review
Welcome to the very first Weekly Showcase Rundown! I’m going to start off by explaining what this series of articles is going to be, as it is going to be an ongoing thing. Therefore, it is probably a good idea for you to know what you are reading, wouldn’t you agree?
So, in short (or not really), the Weekly Showcase Rundown series is going to be a collection of articles where I cover my thoughts, opinions and experiences of the game featured on my Weekly Retro Showcase stream each Sunday. These games are added to a master list by the members of the 16-Bit Tribe Discord channel, and then chosen at random each week. We then play around an hour of the game to get a feeling for it.
If you want to know more about the Weekly Retro Showcase, you can click here to find out everything you need!
However, I wasn’t really taking that weekly stream and doing anything more with it. So I decided that I would start writing up what I thought of each game, and that’s what this series of articles will be. Now then, with that said and done, let’s get into it, shall we?
I haven’t quite finalised the structure of these articles in my head yet, but my first impressions seems like a good place to begin.
When I first launched Kirby Super Star Ultra, I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d only ever play one or two Kirby games before, and that was when I was much younger.
As soon as the game started, my initial reaction was that it looked like a very typical side-scrolling platformer. However, I was very quickly proven wrong when it turned out that I couldn’t just jump on an enemy to kill them. I knew Kirby could devour enemies, but I didn’t remember that it was the main mechanic of the game.
Now, I went into the game without looking up the controls, simply because that’s generally how I play games. So, in order to get an authentic experience, I went into Kirby Super Star Ultra the same way I would go into other games. Thankfully, when you start the game, you do get a tutorial to teach you how the game plays.
However, the text in the tutorial appears very slow, and it makes the tutorial feel like a chore almost immediately. So, I got bored and skipped it.
The problem with this, however, is that it seems to be the only time in-game where you are actually told the controls. There’s no hints or pop-ups about how to play the game. This was pretty common back in the day, with the likes of Mario and Sonic, and other platformers. However, they are much simpler games.
Going into the actual gameplay, rather than the tutorial, I find myself not really knowing what to do. It wasn’t a simple run and jump platformer. You need to devour enemies, and then you can either shoot a star out of your mouth or take their essence and give yourself a power-up. How you do that, however, isn’t explained in the main game.
Therefore, the tutorial is actually really important for the game.
Moving on to the actual gameplay itself, I must say it was much more intensive than I expected. In fact, this was the first game in a while where I actually struggled to both play the game and read the chat on the stream at the same time. For me, that’s a positive for the game (although a negative for streaming it).
The game seemed to move really fast, with enemies coming at you in very quick succession, meaning that you actually have to react swiftly. I did not expect that!
There is also a nice variation of enemies, each with different behavioural patterns, which keeps you on your toes. In must be said, though, that this faster-paced platforming also means that the game felt pretty short. 14 minutes into playing the game, beating bosses and going through the levels, I was suddenly greeted with a Credits scene.
This, as you can see, left me very confused. I didn’t know what was going on at first until it explained to me by, regular viewer Virrad (who added this game to the Master List), that it was the credits for the first section of the game.
Which leads me on to the next point rather nicely. Kirby Super Star Ultra is split into a number of different sections, or modes, of gameplay. That’s why each mode feels so fast-paced; because there are other modes for you to play through afterwards.
I would love to say that, moving onto the second mode, I could tell the difference between the two. However, if I am honest, it was really the visual level design that changed. Gameplay-wise, it felt exactly the same. So that’s why I referred to the modes as “sections” to begin with; they feel like new sections of the game, rather than a different game mode.
The last aspect of Kirby Super Star Ultra that I wanted to talk about was the level of enjoyment that the game offers. After all, if a game isn’t fun, there really isn’t much point in playing it, is there?
As I already mentioned, the game is very fast-paced, meaning that you don’t really have much time to stop and breath. This actually works rather well, as you become focused on the game almost entirely. Thankfully, the gameplay is varied when it comes to the different power-ups you get, meaning that you are able to have fun whilst being so blindly focused on the game.
If it weren’t for these power-ups, though, it would probably feel a bit repetitive. The level design does change, but not drastically. Visually, each stage is significantly different, but in terms of the overall layout and level design, I never felt like it surprised me.
That said, I did have a lot of fun playing Kirby Super Star Ultra. It’s a simple little game on the surface, which a surprising amount of depth when it comes to the power-ups and boss fight ideas.
And That’s All Folks
All in all, I enjoyed Kirby Super Star Ultra a lot more than I thought I was going to. I came into the game expecting a pretty standard side-scrolling platformer, but instead, I found a game that mixes speed with power ups really well. It may not be on the same level as the early Sonic games, but it is still a lot of fun!
I would definitely recommend Kirby Super Star Ultra, if you are going on a trip with your DS and can’t carry too many other games. It’s definitely not an amazing game, but it is a lot of fun.
Did you enjoy this post, or the clips in it? Then when not check out the Weekly Retro Showcase livestreams, every Sunday night over on my Twitch channel! Next week, we’ll be playing Sly Cooper & The Thievius Raccoonus.