Kirby Star Allies (JP) is the first Kirby title on the Nintendo Switch, released worldwide on March 16, 2018. The game is a 2D platformer with the gimmick of Kirby befriending enemies and using their powers in combination to solve puzzles.
The game plays like the past few Kirby entries with Kirby in a 2D plane with the power to swallow enemies to gain copy abilities. The main addition is that Kirby can make his enemies into allies by throwing a heart at one with a max of 3. These allies effectively have the same copy abilities as Kirby would have if he swallowed them. With these allies, Kirby can also mix copy abilities similar to Kirby 64. These Friend Abilities are more effective usually and can usually solve puzzles. Some puzzles with require Kirby to work with these allies to progress. The allied enemies change color in some fashion to match the player.
The game includes 28 standard abilities. Additionally, certain enemies can be turned into friends according these abilities:
- Artist (Vividria)
- Spider (Como)
- Staff (Jammerjab)
- Beam (Waddle Doo)
- Beetle (Beetley)
- Bomb (Poppy Bros. Jr.)
- Cleaning (Broom Hatter)
- Cook (Chef Kawasaki)
- Cutter (Sir Kibble)
- ESP (NESP)
- Secret: Festival
- Fighter (Knuckle Joe)
- Fire (Burnin' Leo)
- Hammer (Bonkers)
- Ice (Chilly)
- Ninja (Biospark)
- Parasol (Parasol Waddle Dee)
- Plasma (Plugg)
- Stone (Rocky)
- Suplex (Bugzzy)
- Sword (Blade Knight)
- Water (Driblee)
- Whip (Wester)
- Wing (Birdon)
- Yo-Yo (Gim)
Similar to the Mix abilities from 64 or Squeak Squad, Kirby can combine his powers with a Friend to create new more powerful abilities. With a full team, special abilities can be used to solve puzzles
As a post-game reward, the player can play as other Kirby characters. Several characters will be added post-release. The known characters so far are:
- King Dedede
- Meta Knight
- Bandana Waddle Dee
- Kine, Rick, and Coo (March 28)
- Marx (March 28)
- Gooey (March 28)
- Dark Meta Knight (July 27)
- Daroach (July 27)
- Adeleine (July 27)
- Susanna Patrya Haltmann
- Francisca, Flamberge, and Zan Partizanne (Available after Heroes in Another Dimension is completed.)
In an attempt to revive Void Termina, Hyness and his cult break the Jamba Heart in multiple pieces and scatter them across the galaxy. Hyness orders Francisca, Flamberge, and Zan Partizanne, his three generals, to find the pieces of the Jamba heart to finally awaken their sealed master.
Some of the pieces fall in Popstar and corrupt King Dedede, Whispy Woods, and Meta Knight, while the manifestation of one of the four spears used by the legendary heroes to seal Void Termina lands on Kirby and gives him the power of the Friend Heart. Kirby manage to free his friends from the Dark Heart, but the three generals arrive on the planet and gather the hearts before being defeated by Kirby. The generals flee with the hearts and begins to search for those that landed on other planet.
Kirby follows them and eventually defeats them and Hyness. Hyness realizes that the Jamba Heart is not complete and sacrifice himself along with the generals to bring it back with their ill intent. Void Termina, who is usually a neutral deity, is incarnated as a world destroyer by the negative emotions that led to Hyness' sacrifice. Kirby uses the four spears to create the Star Allies Sparkler and defeat the mindless god.
World 1: Dream Land
- Level 1 - Green Gardens: A basic stage that teaches the mechanics of the game. The music is remixed from Kirby's Dream Land's Green Greens.
- Level 2: An underground level.
- Level 3 - Honey Hill:
- Level 4:
- Boss - Castle Dedede: Kirby and his friends have to head through Castle Dedede to free King Dedede
World 2: Planet Popstar
Kirby and his friends explore the rest of the planet. Meta Knight is the boss at the end of it.
- Level 1
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Level 4
- Level 5 (Boss) - Sacred Square: Kirby and his friends have to travel to the Sacred Square, at whose end the Lone Swordsman himself awaits.
World 3: Jambastion, Fortress of Shadows
The Jambastion has landed on Planet Popstar! Kirby and his friends break into the battle station!
- Level 1 - Gatehouse Road
- Level 2:
- Level 3:
- Level 4:
- Level 5:
- Level 6 (Boss): Kirby and Zan Partizanne face off!
World 4: Far Flung Starlight Heroes
Kirby and his friends head out to space.
Kirby Star Allies was developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo. The game is thought to be based upon the first incarnation of the cancelled Kirby game for the GameCube, the trailer for which shows Kirby making multiple helpers, akin to the fundamental element of Star Allies. Development of the game began during the 25th anniversary of the Kirby franchise. The game was initially teased under the tentative title Kirby during E3 2017. In September 2017, the game's official title was announced during a Nintendo Direct presentation. The game was released for the Nintendo Switch game console on 16 March 2018. On 3 March 2018, a free demo of the game was released on the Nintendo eShop showcasing two of the game's stages.
HAL Laboratory developer Shinya Kumazaki went over the world map concept, and the ability of creating more open, higher resolution imagery with the Nintendo Switch console. They swayed to making the screen more spread out in contrast to Kirby, as they could make Kirby smaller but still retain shape, while being able to present more of the background at one time. The more extended background helped the player from getting lost, as they could see more on screen at one time.
The idea for the downloadable content was to help give attention to past Kirby games, and the series as a whole. The developers, rather than focus on an existing narrative, wanted to create a new experience for the characters. Kumazaki noted how if they were to rather focus on an intricate story, it would ruin the fun of the adventure. When discussing the lack of other popular characters from the franchise, he said that there were certain characters he wanted to appear, such as Galacta Knight from Kirby Super Star Ultra. They created a development rule, where they would only select one character from each game to represent the main series.
Kirby Star Allies received "mixed or average" reviews on Metacritc garnering a metascore of 73/100 based on 83 critics.
As of the end of April 2018, Kirby Star Allies sold 1.26 million copies making it a million seller in less than two month. As of the end of June 2018, Kirby Star Allies reached 1.89 million copies sold, which makes it the seventh most successful 1st party Nintendo Switch game at the time. As of September 2018, Kirby Star Allies was pushed down to the eight place by Mario Tennis Aces, but still managed to sold 2.10 copies worldwide. As of December 2018, Kirby Star Allies sold over 2.42 million copies worldwide, making it the tenth most successful Nintendo Switch game.
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