Surprise! Kirby just ate all your games and downloaded himself onto your Switch. Just kidding, unless you’re a parent. Super Kirby Clash is now up on the Nintendo Switch eShop as a free download. This game was announced during the Nintendo Direct a few days ago and released immediately, faster than you could Uber it. It’s a sequel to the free-to-play 3DS Kirby Clash game, but now with the addition of online multiplayer. That was a big factor in getting me to try it. I’ve been playing the last few days and thought I’d do a little writeup to describe what it is. A platformer? A fighter? A kart racer? What’s Kirby up to?
This is basically a boss-challenge fighting game. Kirby has traditional movement similar to Star Allies and previous 2D platformers, except with a few things missing. The first is platforming. You can still jump, but there’s no actual levels. Each mission is a fight against a single boss on a flat stage. You have a time limit and you need to grind away at the bosses health as fast as you can while not dying. You also can’t suck anything up… a Kirby game without his signature suck? Yup. Every Kirby is limited to one weapon type; Sword, Hammer, Healing or Magic. It’s more slow-paced, strategic and grindy than a regular Kirby game, but still good fun. Since you can always have 4 Kirbys with you, in single player you get bots, but you can also recruit adventures or just give the bots custom gear and roles.
The gameplay is mostly mashing attacks and avoiding the slow but powerful boss patterns. You also have a shield to deploy if it looks like you’re going to get hit. You have a few options with attacks, mainly a charge shot, dash or uppercut. Aside from that there isn’t much to it besides positioning, and getting in as many hits as possible. The bosses have a massive amount of health and everyone needs to work together.
A free to play game must have limits, right? It does, but I’m finding this game surprisingly generous with its structure. Missions take up “vigor” points which are in limited supply until a timer restores them. At the start though, this is almost irrelevant as you regain vigor points by leveling up. This happens often enough that you can just keep playing for an hour or so and still have max vigor. Then as you get high leveled you gain more total vigor points anyway, so you’ve always got a solid amount of playtime on a new day.
My favourite thing about the structure is that Story and Party (single player and multiplayer) vigor points are split up, so nobody feels left out if they jump online after a single player session. Another nice thing is that there’s a limit placed on how much real money you can spend, which needs to be implemented in more F2P games I think. It could save some lives.
Party, did you say? That’s right, the online multiplayer has its own missions. So far I’ve been lucky enough to not encounter any major lag, although the inputs are slow sometimes. Due to the nature of this game all you’re really doing is spamming attacks and jumping out of the way or shielding, so it’s quite easy to play even with some small lag. I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with it, first with friends and then while picking random games. It’s easy to join a room. Even when you get low level missions, each mission has a whole list of challenges and a platinum medal to go for. There’s a bit of incentive for everyone even if your levels vary. As Kirby levels up his strength and stamina go up accordingly, and you also get access to better weapons and gear as you progress through story mode. So far I’ve bought everything I needed with in-game currency.
The game has cute stickers you can use to communicate while playing online. Both in the lobby and during gameplay, you can press X then cycle through all the stickers you have and pick one. It’s a small touch but adds a wholesome aspect to the online play I think, especially in random rooms. There’s no “Booyah!” but you can tell people “Good Job!” or “Keep Going!” with a picture of a struggling Kirby doing its best. I once joined a lobby and was 7 levels higher than everyone else… someone used the “Counting On You!” sticker and I felt an immense sense of duty. Someone on my team once said “Sorry!” after they got a bad score in the tablet mini-game, and I made sure to use the uplifting “OK!” sticker right after. Hope they felt okay. It’s those little moments that make online gaming worth it sometimes. You can also say “Thanks!” when someone heals you. Trading heals for feels.
The tablet mini-game is something you get to do after a certain time in the fight. The boss will throw 4 tablet pieces around the stage, and once everybody has one piece you combine for a powerful attack with a timed button press. It’s always a hype moment, and quite often kills the boss. “Good Job! Good Job! Good Job! Good Job!”.
Here’s an amusing problem online when nobody wants to be the healer. Guess we’ll all die. It can work if you’re going for a Platinum Medal time on an easy mission, but in an actual equal challenge you won’t make it very far. Things will start off fine, then suddenly everyone’s scrambling to revive each other and time runs out. The enemies have levels and as Kirby levels up you get higher level missions. In story mode it lets you take on enemies slightly higher than your level, just to tempt you to pay money. You have the option of just grinding though. There really isn’t much difference in the gameplay between higher level fights, after you see all the different enemy types. I’m not feeling any kind of rush while playing this game, since replaying previous fights is still enjoyable and has rewards.
Super Kirby Clash is simple but fun, and I’ve been chilling with it the past few nights so I thought it was worth a little writeup. It’s just a free game to enjoy some online battles with. The Kirby aesthetic gives the grind a bit more joy, and friends or the random nature of online spices things up. Of course the progression system has an addictive nature to it as well, like most F2P games there’s always something more you can get. I still haven’t spent a cent on the game and the amount of vigor points I have keeps going up. It feels pretty good. I’ll see you online as the Sword Kirby who always takes the most damage. Thanks for the healing in advance.
BONUS: The following passwords will get you cool stuff in the game: SUPERKIRBYCLASH and GEMAPPLES.