Space World 2001: Hands-On: Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2

Read our impressions of the first game to use the GameCube-to-GBA link.

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Nintendo's annual Space World kicked off today in Tokyo, and Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 for the GameCube was surprisingly shown in playable form. The first Kirby game for the GameCube was also the first to show off the link option between the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance, and one playable level was available for the press to sample.

The object of Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 is to guide a rolling Kirby along a network of narrow ledges and chutes while collecting as many stars as possible--until you ultimately reach the end before a timer expires. Controlling Kirby is accomplished by tilting the Game Boy Advance, which causes the game's levels to tilt, mimicking the GBA's angle. The GBA must be plugged into a GameCube controller port via the Game Boy Advance link cable, and a special tilt sensor cartridge is then plugged into the GBA cartridge slot. Tilting the top of the GBA downward causes Kirby to roll forward while tilting it back toward you makes him roll toward the screen. Likewise, tilting the GBA to the left or right will send Kirby rolling in the respective direction. The tilt control is incredibly smooth, and there are no awkward transitions from tilting the Game Boy Advance from one direction to the next. Both shoulder buttons on the Game Boy Advance may be pressed together to make Kirby hop up to high platforms, unlike those in the original Tilt 'n' Tumble, which let you flip the GBC up quickly to cause Kirby to hop. Additionally, the game requires you to turn the GBA a lot further than you have to in order to tilt the GBC and get the same effect, but this could be a result of the prototype nature of the GBA tilt cartridge.

As Kirby makes his way from one end of the track to the other, he comes across a variety of obstacles he must overcome. Bumpers similar to those found in pinball machines will send the pink character careening off in unpredictable directions. Another item adorned with Kirby's mug will cause him to multiply when touched. After multiplying him several times, you must get four Kirbys seated into slots located on the floor. After all four puffballs have been seated, a switch is opened up, and it will send him flying to the next section of track. There are also plenty of enemies in previous Kirby games, ones that attempt to knock Kirby off the platforms. Power-ups in the shape of a clock may be collected throughout the levels to add more time to the 300-second level timer.

Gameplay is switched to the Game Boy Advance in several different ways. Sometimes Kirby will reach the end of a section of platforms, and a Game Boy Advance icon will pop up on the screen with the word "check" underneath it. You then must begin playing the game on the Game Boy Advance and attempt to navigate Kirby through a section of obstacles until you reach the end, where the gameplay will return to the TV screen. If Kirby falls off the platforms while playing on the television, the same icon and message will pop up, and you must switch to the screen of the GBA and attempt to tilt it so that a cloud catches Kirby as he falls down to the Game Boy Advance screen. If successful, the gameplay will again return to the TV screen.

Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2's visuals follow the same simplistic design that has become synonymous with the series. The pastel color palette gives the game a soft look, and the levels are textured with patterns of hearts, stars, and other objects. While not overly complex from a graphical standpoint, the graphics are very clean, with no jagged edges to be found. It also runs at a constant 60 frames per second, giving the tilt control an increased feeling of responsiveness.

Shigeru Miyamoto brought one of Nintendo's testers on stage to demonstrate Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 at its pre-Space World press conference. But after spending some time playing the game, we found that it was surprisingly easy and intuitive to navigate Kirby to the end of the lone playable level. Most importantly, the game is incredibly fun and addictive. The game is currently scheduled for release in May 2002 in Japan, and Nintendo has yet to announce a release date for it in North America. We'll have more information on Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 for the GameCube when it becomes available.

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