He’s stronger than he is: Kirby just can’t do without handheld consoles to cheer up young and old. In fact, if the voracious pink ball now fully associated with a Nintendo character was born on Game Boy and then try the way of the NES, he has always seen return to the fold finding in the handheld systems of the large Japanese company its ideal size, having on the shoulders of the different springs (despite the appearance) more portable titles than on a fixed console.
A year after Kirby Star Allies for Nintendo Switch, the character created by HAL Laboratory has been recalled on an old glory like the Nintendo 3DS, exhuming a Wii game, Kirby and the Cloth of the Hero of 2011, with the title slightly changed to Kirby and the New Cloth of the Hero and bringing back in the meantime the three-dimensional system of Nintendo to the headlines.
Developed like the original by Good-Feel, a development company historically affiliated with Nintendo, the title appears more than a 1:1 port, having several extras in it. If we get an unbalance, we could say that Kirby and the New Fabric of the Hero seemed to be born for the 3DS and to be carried around in these first days of the spring season.
However, during the seven-year journey from Wii to Nintendo 3DS, Kirby has gained and lost something at the same time. After we’ve thoroughly plucked the title, we’re ready to give our verdict on this renaissance operation.
A melevisione of thread
Let’s start by saying that the title chosen in Italian for this new adventure of Kirby could not be more apt and witty: Kirby really has the fabric of the hero – and his 20-year history is proof – but in this case the phrase is to be read literally. Kirby becomes in every way a being made of thread, of cloth precisely, when the evil Malandrana, a sorcerer made of this material, sucks Kirby into a magic sock ending up in Toppalandia, a place where everything and everyone are sewn with needle, thread and a lot of love. Malandrana takes Kirby off the buttons and starts plotting to conquer Dream Land, all with a hilarious voice actor who takes care of doing all the voices in the game by calibrating them according to the character and outlining the light-hearted and friendly tone of Kirby and the New Fabric of the Hero.
Kirby makes the acquaintance of the Prince Bubble: a ball like him, only blue. The two will immediately make friends and ally to stitch up the kingdom of Toppalandia, which like the slices of a cake has been separated from Malandrana, deprived of the magic threads that sew together the various lands. Praised for having saved his life, Batuffolo will accompany us throughout the journey by appearing in the levels that we will be called to cross.
Having become a being of pink thread of which only the contours are visible, here Kirby will not be able to count on his most devastating ability as pretty, the absorption of enemies and powers. On the other hand, the new shape has given him the ability to transform into various objects such as a toy car that allows him to go faster, a balloon to glide and land more gently or a fish to swim. The suffix strictly -ino of the transformations is wanted: in the end we are talking about a game whose story is blatant as it is suitable for children. PEGI, on the other hand, marks a bright green number three (3), making Kirby and this portable Melevisione the suitable companions for young gamers who grow up.
Angelic and… demonic
The game is a side-scrolling platform where you have to cross thematic levels. Kirby goes from sea levels to flowery paths, to stations made of chocolate and jungles of legumes. Each level has a gimmick, something that makes it different from the previous one, starting with the countless imaginative transformations that Kirby can take on to make his way with a little more action. Kirby and the New Fabric of the Hero therefore offers a certain variety of games and at the end of each level will reward us with a score, beads and a new patch to launch into the world to allow access to the next level after an original and creative animation.
Toppalandia is a colorful world in which even philosophical enemies are cute: they will never be a real problem and can be taken off (“killed” temporarily) or turned into a ball of wool that will act as a bullet against other enemies or obstacles. The commands are minimal, faithful to the platforming genre: with the A key you jump, with the B key Kirby interacts with enemies, zippers and all the sewing kit, with a whip filthy extension of your body. From this point of view, Kirby sinks a bit ‘of inaccuracy, especially in the most hectic stages of the game, if we can call them so, and the loss of beads (sometimes irrecoverable) can go to ruin all the care put previously, especially if it happens towards the end of the level.
Little else is needed for Kirby, who is more than just now reduced to a side dish in a world that knows no kind of game over: as masochistic as we can be, in fact, the pink peg will never die and therefore the only reason for possible “frustration” and punishment devised by Good-Feel is the loss of the beads. These are the main collectible in Toppalandia (as you can imagine, in a world made of wire) and can be used to buy furniture to decorate the house of Kirby in Largo Trapunta, where the landlord can take a nap between a patch and another.
The possibility to decorate with Christmas theme, pirate and as we believe the studio of Kirby will make the happiness of our sweet halves, transforming the collection of beads in a sensible search and we in alleged experts of furniture. Collectables don’t end with beads, on the contrary: in each level are hidden three treasures, two unique furnishings and musical tracks, including old timeless classics, that you can listen to your liking at Piazza Toppa. The treasure hunt makes Kirby and the New Fabric of the Hero very replayable, while the adventure settles at about 10 hours of play.
Speaking of replayability is natural to deal with what the fabric of the hero of Kirby is “new”, in what is different from the Wii version. Good-Feel puts on the sewing machine two mini games apart from the main story, in which we can play the role of King Dedede, historical nemesis of Kirby, and Meta Knight, his enemy-friend.
Swallowed by the smelly sock of Malandrana in Toppalandia, the names of their mini games are very explanatory: on the one hand we have “Row, Dedede, Row!”, a sliding race with the penguin king in which we will have to collect as many beads as possible, on the other “Meta Knight Shredder” in which we will have to wipe out hordes of enemies with the dark knight. The two additions are a light pastime and are composed of levels of short duration, however pleasant and welcome.
Another novelty that sports the Nintendo 3DS is the so-called “demonic mode”, which although the name seems to get married with Kirby as the devil and holy water, is an interesting review of all levels of the game. Choosing to make a level in demonic mode, in fact, Kirby will have to deal with a pestiferous demon who will put every now and then the sticks in the wheels. In the lower screen of the 3DS will appear instead a star consisting of five parts: the more parts we finish the level, the more steps forward we take in a card with which we can unlock exclusive items of furniture. Here too Kirby and the New Fabric of the Hero proves quite permissive, making a ball appear in the middle of the level with a reload in case we have lost too many pieces in the street, but it is certainly to be applauded for these demons that go to double the game time and also to make it more spicy for the most experienced players.
Finally, Kirby acquires new upgrades in the form of headdresses, which are the natural replacement for Kirby’s copying skills and which take over his wire whip, giving him the ability of a tornado or even a sword made with a paperclip.
These are small problems (of lag…)
But it’s not all gold that glitters. First of all, we must point out that – as is desirable – the cooperative mode is completely removed in the Nintendo 3DS system: from a second playable character, Batuffolo is resized to NPC, whose unnaturalness and usefulness seem self-evident. A lack that, as such, should be reported as also the absence of 3D, not supported here and that could have given a depth and an additional meaning to a living world like that of Kirby and the New Fabric of the Hero, almost a sign of how Good-Feel did not believe in the 3DS to make him make the real leap in quality.
The game was tested on a New Nintendo 3DS XL, whose screen gives justice to an artistic direction to take off his hat, colorful, accurate and original, surrounded by catchy music and that accompany very well with their fairytale rhythms. The title performs well on a console that over the years has given everything it could give, although we seemed to suffer a bit of fatigue against the bosses, moments when the controls give their worst and the console seemed quite stressed, but then recover a few seconds later.
The lower screen of the Nintendo 3DS system is integrated as it should, doing its job: it has the task of switching to mini games with a stroke of the pen, to let us choose the desired level and in these to keep track of the treasures collected, to be collected and the commands, to conquer Toppalandia and its cherry tree.