Kirby Superstar Ultra takes the dominion of Kirby handheld games in a slightly different direction. Coupled with a pleasant upgrade to the aesthetics, players will notice that instead of one large, consolidated chain of levels and bosses, this one is broken up into several macro-mini-games. As is typical of all Kirby games, some abilities are dropped while some new ones are added in. Same could be said about bosses. What really makes Kirby: Superstar Ultra is the variety within the games, and the availability and ease of two-person multiplayer.
I’ll start you off with Spring Breeze, since that’s the easiest of the mini-games. It consists of a stark few levels leading up to a boss fight with King Dedede, who has stolen all the food in Dream Land. Consider this your warmup/tutorial, because it only gets harder and more confusing from here.
Dyna Blade’s next. The giant bird is disturbing Dream Land’s crops, and slicing mountains in half and the like, so Kirby has to stop her. It plays similarly to Spring Breeze, only with more of an RPG-esque map overview when you’re choosing stages. Two secret stages can be unlocked by reaching certain goals, and like in Super Mario Bros. 3, a miniboss wanders the map aimlessly.
Gourmet Race is sort of the non sequitur game of the lot. Dedede challenges Kirby to a race in which each tries to eat the most food and reach the goal the fastest. The player can race with Dedede, do a time trial alone, race a buddy, or race their fastest time. It’s not all that, but it’s still fun on the side.
The Great Cave Offensive is one of my favorites. In this quasi-nonlinear exploration game, Kirby must traverse four areas and acquire a total of 60 hidden treasures. They’re hidden well, behind traps and tricks and baddies and bosses, so keep on your toes and be sure to look around before you do anything rash. If you miss a treasure, fear not, little pink spud! You can head back and snap up what you missed.
Revenge of Meta Knight is the time attack mode, featuring a lot of mechanical stages atop Meta Knight’s great aerial battleship, the Halberd. Yes, the areas can get complicated to pass through, and yes, you’re being timed while you fight bosses. Even when you’re fighting Meta Knight. It’s not nearly as hard as I’m making it up to be, since each area is timed independently.
Milky Way Wishes mixes things up a bit. Kirby can no longer copy abilities by eating enemies. He has to find Deluxe Copy Ability Pedestals and activate abilities from there. Plot-wise, the sun and the moon are fighting, and a little guy called Marx tells Kirby to conquer the bosses of the planets in Pop Star’s star system to summon the comet clock NOVA for a wish. Marx is a sneaky bastard; he tricks Kirby and steals the wish, wishing to rule Pop Star. So then you fight him and murder him in his evil boss form.
Ever wanted to play as Meta Knight? Well, now you can. Meta Knightmare Ultra is a time-attack (no limit) version of Springe Breeze, Dyna Blade, Great Cave Offensive, Revenge of Meta Knight, and Milky Way Wishes. You collect power points by killing enemies, and may use the touch screen to activate Meta Knight’s devastating powers, like Cyclone, or… Heal. Or maybe summon a buddy swordsman.
The rest of the stuff is mostly boss arena shenanigans or higher difficulty remakes of earlier mini-games. Despite being remakes, they’re all fantastic, and the True Arena will make you realize just how hardcore-HARD Kirby games can get. And, best of all, if you ever need help, a second player can take control of the typically CPU controlled Helpers that Kirby creates by shedding his abilities in a certain way! So team up (or don’t) and have some fun!
In her review, Keza MacDonald of EuroGamer finds Kirby: Superstar Ultra to be annoyingly easy on the whole, and I almost completely agree. Most of the games are VERY easy, almost lke Kirby runs through with two machineguns, mowing down enemies and eating their corpses without breaking stride. However, some of the later modes can be a bit of a challenge if you dash in without a strategy. But that’s just my opinion. Here’s the not-my-opinion: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/kirby-super-star-ultra-review