Retro Review: Kirby Super Star Ultra (DS)

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In honor of my upcoming one year anniversary of That’s All Games, I am going to cover games related to my earliest reviews. Since my second review was on Kirby Star Allies Review (Switch), I will now review a remake of the first Kirby game I ever played, Kirby Super Star on the SNES. Today’s review is on this game’s remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra for the Nintendo DS. It is time to see how this game holds up, nowadays.

First, a brief note on Kirby Super Star on the SNES. This game was originally advertised as 8 games in 1, though it originally had 9 games on the cartridge (I suspect the last game, the arena, was meant to be a surprise). Kirby Super Star Ultra, however, has a total of 16 games, with seven of these being new to this version. In fact, I will cover the few differences between the two editions of this game:

  • There are some graphical and musical updates, including 3D cut scenes.
  • There are seven new games (3 new mini-games, and 4 new games).
  • Some games are unlocked in a new order (the retro mini-games Megaton Punch and Samurai Kirby).
  • 2 player mode now requires a copy of the game per player .
  • The control scheme is different:
    • In Kirby Super Star:
    • Y button = inhale/attack
    • B button = jump
    • A button = call helper
    • In Kirby Super Star Ultra:
    • B button = attack
    • A button = jump
    • X button = call ally

Now with the differences between versions out-of-the-way, let’s now go over the game itself. Since this is multiple games in one, where each of them play in a very similar fashion, it would be best to cover the overall game play of the entire game, as opposed to rating each individual game. This Kirby game is a 2D platformer that features the usual inhale enemies and eat certain ones to gain their powers. Unlike earlier Kirby games, Kirby Super Star Ultra features multiple attacks per copy power. In fact, the pause menu features a list of button presses that are required for each action. Each power feels different, and may be more useful in certain parts of the game.

KirbySuperStarUltraGameplay
Some sample gameplay from Kirby Super Star Ultra

Additionally, Kirby can sacrifice his current power to create a CPU (or second player) helper. That helper can be converted back into a power for Kirby to use again, and can summon the helper again at full health, if need be. Of note, only Kirby’s defeat leads to the loss of a life, so the more skilled player should be player one. The game also features a “guard” action that blocks most attacks, or greatly reduces damage. This feature does make the game quite a bit easier, but hey, Kirby games were meant to be easy, yet fun anyway.

So, what is the difference between each game featured? Here is a quick list of each game:

  • Spring Breeze: Similar to Kirby’s Dream Land, but with copy powers.
  • Dyna Blade: The main difference is a world map.
  • Gourmet Race: A race between Kirby and King Dedede, where you gather food in the process.
  • The Great Cave Offensive: An adventure with 60 collectible treasures.
  • Revenge of Meta Knight: A game with a time limit, and some written dialogue.
  • Milky Way Wishes: You can activate any collectible copy powers at any time (you need to find the trophy first).
  • The Arena: Face all the bosses in a row.
    • Sub games:
  • Megaton Punch: Break a pile of bricks better than the CPU or player 2.
  • Samurai Kirby: a quick draw game against the CPU or player 2.
    • New to Kirby Super Star Ultra:
  • Revenge of the King: A harder version of Spring Breeze.
  • Meta Knightmare Ultra: Play as Meta Knight in a time attack version of Spring Breeze, Dyna Blade, The Great Cave Offensive, Revenge of the Meta Knight, and Milky Way Wishes.
  • Helper to Hero: play as the helper characters in a boss arena.
  • True Arena: A tougher boss arena featuring the new bosses in the new modes.
    • New Sub Games (up to four players):
  • Snack Tracks: Eat food and use the touchscreen to remove obstacles.
  • Kirby on the Draw: A shooting gallery game.
  • Kirby Swipe: Choose the correct image faster than your opponents.

Each game is relatively short, with each game lasting roughly 10 to 30 minutes if you play quickly and don’t lose any lives. In fact, each game feels more like a “world”, or collection of levels as opposed to a standalone game. This isn’t a bad thing, and may be fun if you are looking for quick and fun experiences.

In fact, this game is mostly a collection of quick and fun Kirby games that play with the same rules. It can be fun with another friend (if you can find someone who has another copy of the game), and experimenting with each copy power can lead to a very satisfying form of mastery. The four new games feature the hardest challenges in this game, and may be harder than most Kirby game challenges. In all, Kirby Super Star Ultra is a fun game worth playing at least once, and might be worth revisiting if you are bored some day.

Recommendations:

  • Play all the games, though you can skip the sub games and still be satisfied.
  • If you are new, look up the controls of each copy power and try them out.
  • If you are curious, try playing with a friend.
  • If you want to clear 100% of the game, you need to find the secret levels in Dyna Blade, find all the treasures in Great Cave Offensive, and the copy trophies in Milky Way Wishes. You have to clear Helper to Hero as all helpers to get a bonus movie.
  • Beyond that, getting a new best time for The Arena, True Arena, Meta Knightmare Ultra, and Helper to Hero are best for players who want to master the game or who are looking to get more out of this game.

Now for the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Game features solid controls, and powers to master.
  • Game features more challenge than most Kirby games.
  • Vibrant 2D sprite work still looks good for today’s standards.
  • Music is anywhere from fun to epic.

Cons:

  • Control scheme has inexplicably changed between versions. (possible con)
  • 2 player requires 2 copies of the game.
  • Each game is very short. (possible con)
  • 3D cut scenes didn’t age as well as the 2D graphics (doesn’t impact the score or experience much) (possible con)

Verdict:

8.7/10 A great Kirby game, but short and sweet.


That was what I thought of Kirby Super Star Ultra. What about you, did you like this game? Will you seek out a copy of the game? Did you prefer the original? Which included game was your favorite? Let me know why in the comments below!

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