Another thing I noticed when playing Star Allies was that it borrows some features from past Kirby games, and mashes them together. Let’s look at what they are, where they are from, and which game does it better.
Let’s look at the four player action first. The first Kirby game to feature four players at once (Either as CPU, or human) was Kirby and the Amazing Mirror on the Game Boy Advance. In this game, the players are differently colored Kirby’s and wander freely in the entire game world. One Kirby can call the other Kirby’s at any time, provided he has enough cell phone battery life. They could even cooperate to move obstacles by inhaling all at once.
Additionally, in Kirby Super Star, Kirby could give up his copy power to create a (CPU or Human) helper with the same power. Kirby could then convert that helper into an item he could eat to regain the power he lost.
Both features are similar in Star Allies. All the allies are from copy powers, and there could be up to four at a time. Recruiting them is just a matter of throwing a heart at an enemy with that power. There isn’t a maze like world, like in Amazing Mirror, but then again this game isn’t built like that. Star Allies has the benefit of not requiring Kirby to lose his power to recruit a new ally.
Next, let’s look at combined powers. The first game to feature this is Kirby 64. In this game, Kirby could combine any one power with any other power, even the same one. Each power or power combination could only perform one attack. Some obstacles could only be cleared with certain combinations of powers. It should be noted that Kirby has to remove the power and either throw it at the right enemy, or spit it out at the right foe.
A similar feature is available in Kirby Squeak Squad, for the DS. Kirby has the option to combine powers in his stomach, but only a few are compatible. Kirby even has to find a collectible scroll to be able to do so.
Star Allies does this similarly to Squeak Squad, where only a few powers are compatible, and are really just adding an element to a weapon. It does require certain allies are following Kirby around. There are a few combos that give off a big attack and have to be reactivated to use again. Finally, there are actions that support allies without mixing powers, such as a larger umbrella shield, or distributing health items.
It is up for debate as to which game does it better. In Kirby 64 you can combine any power, though the way to do so felt clunky to me at the time. Star Allies doesn’t have this freedom, but at least when you have an elemental weapon, you can use a variety of actions, and not just have one attack. Squeak Squad’s method seems to be a bit watered down in comparison to Star Allies, though.
Finally, let’s look at the way copy powers control. In Kirby Super Star, and a few recent games, you had more than one attack per copy power. Often, you can press a direction and the attack button to perform a different action. Some button combos were more complex than others, and what you press varies form power to power. For the most part Star Allies is no different than Super Star, though there are some tweaks to certain powers.
There are a few quirks to the general control scheme that should be mentioned. To drop a power, you have to either hold a certain button (depends on the control setup), or just press the minus button. A neat option to gain a new power if you have a full party of allies is to throw a heart at the power you want, then choose to cancel replacing an ally. The enemy you almost recruited will become a hat that Kirby can touch to acquire that power. Additionally, dodging on the ground gives you more distance than in the game Planet Robobot. This change is very helpful, as enemies in the latter game were often too large, and dodging would only move you a little, so you would still get hurt if you tried that.
All in all Star Allies gets most returning features right, even if the game is still too easy. I found it fun to look back and understand these games a little more. But what about you? Did you notice a returning feature that I did not? Which feature from any Kirby game was your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments, and let’s keep talking.