Welcome to the first annual edition of To Many Games! This will be a segment of short reviews based off titles that release in the late Q3-Q4 season of the year. These are not full reviews, but offer quick opinions based off a good several hours of play, with some possibly being fully completed. Instead of a traditional score, the final verdict will be Buy, Gift, Rent, or Skip. Buy indicates that you should purchase the title immediately as it is not worth missing out of any spare second. Gift Indicates that a title is quality and worth owning, but might be better as a holiday present rather then another drain on your personal wallet. Rent could mean that the title is a little bit different and is try before you buy, or that the quality and length leaves a bit to be desired and can be sufficiently enjoyed with a rental. Skip is obvious as it simply isn’t worth your time to pursue.
Our first title of Too Many Games 2011 is Kirby Mass Attack for the original DS. Long time owners of the system may remember that Kirby Canvas Curse was the first real title to make use of the touch screen feature and was the first exclusive must have game for the system. In an odd sort of bookend way, Kirby Mass Attack feels like a spiritual sequel to the title as an end of life exclusive.
Kirby Mass Attack uses a simple, but beautiful sprite drawn style to render ten different Kirbys that you control like Pikmin across the touch screen. The music is definitely in that disturbingly catchy MIDI synthesizer style the series is known for. As with Canvas Curse, Mass Attack is entirely stylus controlled.
So if you have seen any media on the game, you are probably wondering exactly how it works. Is it a lemmings clone? Is it an RTS of sorts like Pikmin? The answer is a little of both. The game is played sidescroller style and the Kirbys will move to any location you tap on the touchscreen for them to go to. As you approach enemies you tap on them and the gang of Kirbys will cover and pounce them just like a squad of Army Ants. You can also send the Kirbys airborne with a flick of the stylus on any individual Kirby, and holding down on the group and sliding the stylus lets you drag the whole lot in any direction you drawn out. The concept is fairly simple in execution, but like all great new ideas, how it uses it over the course of the game is where the determining factor of quality comes to light. The game is level structured with a basic map that you slowly uncover. Each level has a predetermined number of Kirbys you need to have in a party to enter. You can hold a maximum of ten and unsuccessful attacks on enemies will damage them. When a Kirby is about to bite it, they turn blue. Throughout the stages you will find horizontal pink hoops to flick the Kirbys through to regain their health. Gaining new Kirbys involve eating all the food in sight, a bar at the top tells you how much till each new Kirby is attained, reaching 100 nets you a new Kirby.
As you progress through the levels, you will be encouraged to find the medals hidden throughout, theses medals unlock extras that include whole extra mini games such as variation on wack-a-mole. This adds a lot of value to the package. While there is a good number of levels already, it is hard to escape the fact that a game like this feels more at home on the eShop than at full retail.
Final Verdict: Rent
Kirby Mass Attack is a charming new action puzzler in the increasingly flexible line of Kirby titles. The simple to pick up concept is used to great effect throughout the course of the game and the added mini games help increase the play time. Despite all this, this is definitely not a game for everyone, and younger Kirby fans may not really like the RTS-lite element of the title. It is also is a bit much to swallow at full retail asking price and might serve more agile gamers better as a rental or wait for a price drop.