Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kirby's Avalanche

For those who thought Super Mario was the only franchise to blatantly rip off a popular Japanese game, there's Kirby's avalanche. Though a bit more credit could be given to Kirby Avalanche, since it actually provides some very obvious alternations to both Puyo Puyo and the Kirby franchise as a whole. The first thing that gives you a little jolt is the little "Kirby's Avalanche" that pops up before the title screen. To the casual player, this wouldn't seem like much at all, but any avid Kirby fan would know that there has hardly, if ever, been any dialogue in a Kirby game. What it does succeed in doing is setting the mood for what will easily be quite a peculiar ride.

As soon as you start the tournament you'll realize why very few characters in the Kirby universe are given lines; most of them are complete assholes. Even Kirby, the protagonist, the cuddly little pink puff with a gigantic appetite, and quite possibly the nicest character in any franchise, is a fucking dick. He does everything from stomping on a poor tree's roots, interrupting helpful information, to pestering a poor bastard who should be in a mental institution to play a stupid Tetris knock-off. After hearing the sass that comes from his gaping maw, you'll be glad he's restricted to lovable little coos in his other games. Though, in all honesty, it is kind of charming to hear each of your opponent's names before each match (Just in case you ever had trouble pronouncing Whispy Woods).

Sadly though, those sound clips are more then a third of the sounds throughout the entire game. Besides the sound effects you'll hear a maximum of four songs throughout the whole thing. Again, this is very peculiar for a franchise that has had not been faulted for not having appropriate music when needed. What really shocks me is the fact that they didn't decide to add music to fit the theme of each enemy, which seems very basic. True it does change when your about to get your ass handed to you (if you don't know combos this will happen often), but that's not good enough.

How about the cream of the crop, the game play? Well, think Tetris mixed with Connect 4 and you basically have Kirby's Avalanche. The only other thing that needs to be added is when you pull off a combo (get more than four blocks of the same color lined up or line up blocks so when one set disappears it will line up another), your opponent will get a little 'fuck you' in the form of a line of black blocks that can only be destroyed by grouping together blocks near it. This is fine until you get a big combo and half your screen is taking up by these little burnt shits. Don't hope that the computer won't take advantage of this either. On the second level I had that fucking shrubbery pull the half-map-slap around a half-a-dozen times within ten matches. You better learn quick or else your screwed, and there isn't a tutorial to help you along either (I guess they figured if you couldn't get something so simple you were too mentally handicapped to even play the game).

Though, overall, the game isn't that bad. I mean it has its flaws and it hardly even fits the mold well enough to be called a Kirby game, but it's passable. When it comes down to it what you have is a pretty solid Puyo Puyo game with the Kirby facade slapped on the front, nothing more, nothing less. If you like Kirby and you like Puyo Puyo you will like this game, if you like one of the two you will play this game for a bit at least.

Difficulty(Played on Normal) = (B-) This game has a very steep learning curve for those who can't grasp the planning required to master the combo system and it gives very little assistance in teaching you this skill.

Graphics = (A-) For the time the graphics are very pretty, using excellent shading to almost give off a pseudo-3D effect. Like any Kirby game, everything is jolly and candy-colored to keep your eyes interested.

Gameplay = (A-) Despite being incredibly difficult to master, the controls are rather simple and you will be enjoying yourself each and every time you get pummeled.

Story = (C-) Defeat King DeDeDe in a tournament because Kirby's sensitive little ego won't let that damn Penguin have a break! That's about as deep as it gets, this is a very simple game in the story sense.

Replayability = (B-) While I don't see an allure to play this game through more than a few times, the hardcore retro gamers will obviously play through this to get the high score and enjoy every second of it.

Multiplayer = (C+) The multiplayer was an afterthought, it's simply two players playing against eachother. There's no character select, there's no alternate modes, it's safe and simple.

Accessibility (Demographic) = (B) This game's simple premise, colorful presentation, and good use of Kirby content will have many nostalgic fans and young players flocking to it.

Overall grade = (B -)
Video Review

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