|Well, do you? He is offering.|
Strange things have happened in gaming, but did you ever expect Kirby to share a game with Dr. Robotnik and Carbuncle? This isn’t officially the case with Kirby’s Avalanche, but all three titles are largely the same game on alternate systems by the same developer. However, Kirby’s Avalanche is not the definitive version, at least where the Virtual Console is concerned. It is sadly outdone by both of its brethren, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, and Puyo Puyo Tsuu.
As far as puzzlers go, we’ve all seen the traditional falling-block style of game. Kirby’s Avalanche is actually a falling-blob puzzler if we’re being technical, but it uses the exact same mechanics as the Puyo Puyo series. Players manoeuvre different coloured blobs that descend from the sky. These blobs stick together horizontally and vertically if they are the same colour. By utilising several different patterns of different colours, you can activate chain-link combos that trigger a furious onslaught of garbage blobs. These garbage blocks don’t do much else than clog up your space, so you need to clear them with groups of coloured blobs. In each level, Kirby faces off against one of several enemies, with the eventual goal of making it to King Dedede.
Like any good puzzler, Kirby’s Avalanche is infectiously addictive. This is largely due to its source material, Puyo Puyo, which is arguably one of the greatest basic blueprints for a puzzle game. There are a total of 16 stages, with three of these being mere tutorials. There is no password system, so you need to start from scratch every time you wish to play...in theory. The Virtual Console has a suspend feature so unlike the original game, you can quit and come back to your game. Though nothing major, it is a bit of a shame to not have a stage selection of some sort.
|It's Puyo Pu - er...Kirby's Avalanche!|
In addition to the single player mode, there is a two player mode where friends can face off against each other. This is the place that exposes Kirby’s flaws with his version of the game. While Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine supports Wii Remotes, Kirby is a Super Nintendo game. This means you’re going to need two classic controllers or two GameCube controllers – two Wii Remotes will not suffice. Newer models of the Wii don’t even have GameCube controller slots, so a new Wii owner would have to resort to using two classic controllers connected to two Wii remotes.
All of the music on offer here is borrowed from the NES platformer Kirby’s Adventure and remixed (save for a couple of tracks and sound effects). All of the remixes are well done, and it would be difficult to mess them up considering the memorable tunes Kirby has under his belt. The graphics are just Puyo Puyo in the pink puffball’s coating, but the usage of iconic enemies from the Kirby series makes it well done.
Kirby’s Avalanche is a solid puzzle game, but it is marred by what else is on the Virtual Console. You’re better off saving an extra 100 points for the import title Puyo Puyo Tsuu. The gameplay in Tsuu is far more balanced, has custom rules, improves on the basic formula, and doesn’t suffer from Kirby’s multiplayer issues. If you’ve only got 800 points, Dr. Robotnik is recommended unless you absolutely need that Kirby theme.
- Clark A