Kirby Super Star RetroActive Review

Kirby Super Star Picture

Kirby Super Star

Original Release Date: 1996

Kirby’s Adventure was one of my favorite games for the NES, and it helped me to understand the charm of Kirby games. So, going into Kirby Super Star, I had fairly high expectations.

And, honestly? I was left feeling rather disappointed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there were still lots of things that I liked. The enhanced 16 bit graphics hold up beautifully, as does the excellent soundtrack. It retains the same inhaling, exhaling, floating, and copying platforming that made Kirby’s Adventure so fun, but expands upon it in several ways.

First of all, Kirby can now create a CPU buddy from any enemy he has swallowed. A neat feature, it gives the player more breathing room, and allows for new ways of overcoming challenges. I also like how you don’t lose whatever ability Kirby has after taking just one hit, which was a constant annoyance in Kirby’s Adventure. Overall, Kirby Super Star has the same things that made Kirby’s Adventure so fun.

But the main problem with Kirby Super Star is that it has a distinct lack of focus. It feels like the developers didn’t want to concentrate on just making one, very good game, and instead made a bunch of smaller ones. As a result, the game feels rather disjointed and disconnected, with the different modes often having no connection whatsoever. This undermines the experience, as it completely eliminates the sense of accomplishment and progress that Kirby’s Adventure was so good at.

For example, the Revenge of Meta Knight section feels like an incomplete experience. The battles aboard the Halberd would have made for a pretty excellent climax in a complete game. But taken on its own, the player is thrown into the middle of a conflict with no context whatsoever, and it’s over so quickly that the player doesn’t have time to really get invested.

And each section feels that way, like an incomplete experience that wasn’t fully fleshed out. The game constantly switches around with different storylines, different mechanics, and different tones, and none of it feels that memorable.

In Kirby’s Adventure, the game gave the player one simple goal, stayed focused on that goal, and ended once that goal was completed. Kirby Super Star could have done the same thing if it had simply focused on one of its ideas, and then fully fleshed it out into a complete experience. In fact, they probably could have done it while still using most of the modes.

For example, Kirby Super Star could have had the main game be Milky Way Wishes. Each planet could have been structured like Dyna Blade, giving the player a sense of progression, and it could have incorporated elements from the Great Cave Offensive by having hidden treasures sprinkled throughout all of the levels. Each planet could have had a unique setting and art style, and the Halberd could have been on one of the planets. That way, it could have included elements from all of the modes while still creating one cohesive and well-paced experience.

I’m not saying that Kirby Super Star is a bad game, but it felt incredibly underwhelming when compared with Kirby’s Adventure. Had it actually focused on making one, fully fleshed out game rather than a bunch of smaller, less memorable ones, it would have been an overall better experience. As it stands, it’s not a bad game by any means, but it certainly could have been more than it was.

How well it holds up       4/4

Personal Enjoyment       3/5

Overall quality                7/10

For further information about the game:

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