E3 2011: Kirby Wii Preview Hands-On

Kirby brings a few buddies along for the ride in his latest 2D adventure.

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Kirby is one tenacious puffball. Nintendo's always-hungry mascot makes his second appearance on the Wii in as many years, though his latest foray is a vastly different experience from Epic Yarn. In the aptly named Kirby Wii, up to four characters team up for side-scrolling, block-busting, enemy-knocking action. We got a chance to check out this 2D platformer today and came away pleased that the Wii still has a little bit of life left in it.

Upon first looking at Kirby Wii, you may mistake it for previous games in the series, such as Kirby Super Star. You guide the pink blob through a variety of familiar-looking levels, sucking in enemies to steal their powers when the mood hits you. It's standard stuff, until your friends enter the mix. Meta Knight, King Deedede, and Waddle Dee are playable as well, and when you throw everyone into the blender, things become a lot more fun.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii seems like an obvious inspiration, but Kirby Wii plays a lot different from the commercial smash hit. Levels, at least early on, have plenty of enemies in your path, but not a lot of tricky jumps or deadly obstacles. Because of that, you don't have to worry about unexpected deaths like in the last 2D Mario game. This makes things less aggravating, but the game is much easier as well. It's unclear how things will evolve as you get deeper in the game, but right now, having a few friends tag along lowers the difficulty significantly.

Another strange thing is that only Kirby has the ability to steal the powers from your enemies. Meta Knight has a sword, and Deedede has a hammer, but they're pretty similar instruments. Kirby is a lot more varied than any of the other characters, which means three people are just out of luck. Granted, our limited time with the game was fun no matter which character was ours, but there is a clear slant in the direction of the titular star at this point.

These niggling aspects stood out because the rest of the game is the cartoony fun you would expect from the franchise. Longtime nemesis Whispy Woods returns as a boss, and thumping him to splinters is a blast with a couple of friends by your side. Keep your eyes on GameSpot for more information on this upcoming platformer.

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