Kirby’s Blowout Blast makes you in the puffy protagonist once again, but this time in a bite size overhead 3D adventure. Due to its overhead and wave based nature, this game is mostly about aim and timing. As Kirby, you aim your shots in all 360 degrees through 20 brief levels. Most of the Kirby games have been 2D side scrollers, so being a top down shooter has a lot of fresh new twists to offer with an incredible, but short play time.
The gist of the game or any Kirby game sucking up enemies, big and small. Previous Kirby games grant you powers of the enemies you absorb, but not Blowout Blast. You can pull in a number of enemies at once. The more consumables Kirby consumes, the bigger of a blob he will become and the slower it’ll move.
Each enemy sucked in gives you a score. Pulling in more enemies together chains your score higher. With an enemy, block or star in your giant maw, you’ll see an arrow pointing in the direction that you can fire a blasting projectile forward. The more enemies you’ve sucked in, the more powerful the shot. A single enemy or block will only defeat a single enemy. Two enemies pulled in and shot out will plow through a number of foes. In a way it’s like throwing a bowling ball and the blast will collide with enemies sending them backward. It’s such a simple and yet enjoyable mechanic.
Controls are simple with analog stick for movement, A for jump, B to pull in air and or shoot out. There’s also a duck button, but I never used it. The only real complaint here about controls is the B and A issue. Having to press A as an adult with my fingers results in strain. However, there are barely any moments of rapidly jumping or flying.
When you start the game, you’re dumped into a hub area that looks like an actual lobby. There are five regal red carpets here to indicate the five levels. When a level is unlocked, you’ll see it marked with a gold star. Touching the star will send you to that level’s area selection. This will give you a chance to get used to the controls and the control descriptions are always omnipresent when you pause the game or use the lobby.
In each level you can hop over gaps, float in the air, puff out the air to drop, collect coins and explore these tiny levels. The focus is on combat rather than exploration. With fences lining the level, you won’t find yourself falling off that easy. Each level feels intuitive and well laid out. There are coins to guide your way to encourage your jumps, floats and shots. At some point in each level you’ll be quarantined and forced to defeat short waves of enemies. Each enemy appears in a puff of smoke to give you a split second to dodge the foe or get in place to suck it in.
I hate to harp on the length of the game, because it’s thirty minutes or less. It spans across five levels, each with four or five areas. These areas give you five minutes to complete, but they take around a minute or so long. You can unlock harder versions by scoring a gold trophy in each area of a level. The harder levels have more enemies, less time and a different color palette from the originals.
With each area being so quick and having a stage select, Kirby’s Blowout Blast begs to be replayed a number of times. The game keeps track of each area’s top three high score as well as four achievements per level. No damage, speed clear, all coins and enemies defeated will combine to get you a trophy at the end. Platinum is the highest, then gold, silver and bronze. While you can achieve all these achievements, you need to get multiple achievements to get the trophies.
The final area in each level is a boss fight that offers some diversity and a different sort of challenge. Two bosses appear twice, but with a twist during their second appearance and the final boss is King Dedede. Lolo makes an appearance as a boss pushing out blocks. Lala makes an appearance during the second boss fight with Lolo. It’s always interesting to see the protagonist from another series of games relegated to a boss fight.
Kirby’s Blowout Blast is built for kids, much like all other Kirby games, but its charm, fun and high production values make it a joy to play for adults as well. It’s so easy that I never died once while playing the normal levels. Kirby has a healthy amount of health and there are plenty of treats to eat to restore that health. The harder set of levels feels like the perfect challenge for adults and these offer greater diversity in terms of enemy size and placement.
There are a good array of enemies both big and small. Big enemies that charge forward after they are slow to start. You’ll face hopping foxes. Shoot through hovering propeller heads, cats that turn into bombs that cannot be sucked in. Spike balls are immune to everything. Cannons that fire, but can still be destroyed. A creature that appears with a coin and then runs off with it. Spears thrown by spear chuckers will turn into stars when they hit the ground. Stars turn into your own airy ammunition. They’re all simple enemies, but in this dynamic of an overhead shooter, they add to the fun and become just such an array of satisfying bowling pins.
As mentioned before, the presentation feels top notch. The game looks fantastic with its great use of colors. The typical Kirby soundtrack is here in all its frantic glory. Kirby sounds somewhere between a kid and a cat. Maybe it’s just a squeak toy.
Other than that, there is Amiibo support, but it’s a bit lackluster. Scanning in the physical figurines will yield a statue in the hub world along with a different tune. I’d prefer unlockable characters or levels, but this is fine. I won’t lose sleep over not having an Amiibo to use.
Kirby’s Blowout Blast is adorable, cheerful, charming and gorgeous. It also has great, simple and fun combat that makes it so much better than other overhead shooters. At a cheap price, it’s a must have, even at a short length, it’s fun enough to play it again and again.