While most Kirby games have an emphasis on platforming with combat mixed in, Kirby Fighters 2 is a nice change of pace: nothing but combat. While the Kirby series has fallen to the wayside in recent years, this later entry breathes some new life into Nintendo’s sentient pink blob. So it begs to question, will these changes continue to steer the series off the beaten path?
Instead of traipsing around Dreamland fighting gods and celestial bodies in the pursuit of cake, the latest entry in the Kirby series has you partaking in a fast paced battle royale, with options for single players as well as local or online multiplayer matches.
The multi-player is a unique experience, but a welcome one. The variety of Kirby abilities and characters to choose from keeps the matches interesting and challenging. The human opponents make for a better challenge than you get out of most Kirby games, but Fighters 2 isn’t as intense as Smash Bros or Mortal Kombat online play. The servers are hit and miss. All online games have lag, but when I experienced lag while playing this, it was worse than even the slowest Smash Bros match. I even played a few rounds of other online games to see if my internet was the problem, but it seems the issue was solely in the servers. This is really the only big flaw with the game and when it does function properly, the online matches are still a blast.
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Luckily the single player modes are entertaining enough to keep Kirby fans occupied. There really isn’t a story, but plenty of CPU opponents to fight in various circumstances, including some amazing boss battles. The AI allies are some of the best I’ve ever experienced. While most AI companions are in the way at best and a hazard at worst, the AI at work here is incredibly intelligent and saved my skin more than once in my play through.
The stages for Kirby Fighters 2 all have essentially the same design: floor and two floating platforms on either side. Since the combat isn’t based on falling off of the edge like in Super Smash Bros., the lack of different elements never really bothered me because all the stages are set with backdrops based on classic Kirby locales and some even have old school character sprites that act as obstacles or even semi-passive opponents. What could be better than beating the tar out of your friends while Dyna Blade flies around attacking blindly?
Graphics / Art Direction
The graphics are a mix of new 3D models and classic pixelated environments and characters. The character models and combat animation are all smooth and fluid and the different varieties of Kirbies and allies are all composed of the bright colours and whimsy that the series is known for. Simply put, Kirby Fighters 2 looks great and when playing offline, the game runs very smoothly.
Music / Sound Design
The music, like the stages, is all derived from previous entries in the series. Therefore, the music is utterly amazing. The Kirby series has some of the most memorable soundtracks in gaming history and this game capitalizes on this expertly. Nothing triggers the warm fuzzies of nostalgia quite like hearing the Gourmet Race Theme or Green Greens in a brand new game.
Final Score: 90%
Kirby Fighters 2 is essentially the best way to introduce someone to the Kirby series. This game encapsulates the bubbly music, bright aesthetics, fabulous combat, and general Kirby-ness of the series in a modern, reasonably priced package. The Kirby formula has probably aged the worst out of Nintendo’s mainstream series, and that’s coming from a massive Kirby fan. I haven’t bought the other Kirby title for the Switch because I don’t think the gameplay:price ratio could ever be where it needs to be simply because Kirby games tend to be short and easy; although, this is something special. It takes the compact nature of the series and makes just enough changes to make a Kirby game make sense in 2020.
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