Kirby & the Amazing Mirror is a platformer that's recommendable to anyone with a GBA.

User Rating: 8.7 | Kirby & The Amazing Mirror GBA
When one thinks of Nintendo platformers, Kirby isn't always the first character that comes to mind. This is a bit of a shame, as he's been on more than half a dozen spectacular adventures in the last fifteen years or so. This trend continues with Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, his second adventure on the GBA. It's a standard platformer at heart, but it comes with enough worthy twists on the regular Kirby formula to make it a new experience for anyone already familiar with the series.

The game begins when Kirby's home world of Dream Land becomes threatened by a cursed magical mirror floating above it. Kirby runs into an evil version of local swordsman Meta Knight, who promptly splits him into four different versions of himself. The four new Kirbys set off into the mirror in the sky in an attempt to set things straight by removing the curse. Once on the other side, the mirror is broken, and they need to collect the pieces of it scattered across the new land so that they can put it back together and make things right again.

At first, the game appears to play exactly like a standard Kirby platformer. Kirby has a life bar, and can move by either running or flying. He's able to swallow his enemies by inhaling them, and then either spit them out again at his foes, or swallow them and potentially copy their abilities. Things are altered a bit though by the fact that everything takes place in one single, mazelike world. Unlike in other Kirby games, each stage is not a simple straight-ahead course. There are no over world screens in this game, instead you need to find your way around by learning how each world connects to the next. There is a map screen however, and a central area that connects to each of the surrounding areas. Each area is separated as it's own stage on the map screen, so that even though there may be multiple ways to enter and exit it at any time, you'll be able to group it's different areas together as one specific stage when looking at it on the map. This can all be a bit disorienting at first, as the paths through the different stages branch off into different routes and often intersect at various times, making it easy to get turned around on yourself. But eventually, especially after creating shortcuts back to the hub area by locating giant switches, it becomes easier to find your way around the game.

The other big twist is the three other Kirbys that can be found your world at any time during the game. It's possible to have them controlled by human players instead of the computer, but chances are that this won't happen for you. Instead you'll have to rely on the computer AI for help, which isn't always such a good thing as it usually prefers to wander out in three separate directions instead of helping you. There are a few separate puzzles that require teamwork to be completed. This is where your ability to summon the other Kirbys through the magic of cellular technology comes in handy, as you'll be able to bring them in to assist with whatever problem you are having. However, the AI isn't terribly bright even when it's with you, and this means that the characters may or may not provide much help with whatever problem you're having. Still, they don't usually get in the way whenever they're around, so they won't cause any problems otherwise.

Also available are three mini-games that are accessible from the main menu screen. They all involve four participants, and it's possible to play them with multiple players on multiple systems. They're all basically tests of the player's reaction speeds, although they're in the guise of surfboard races in tests of strength. They're fun to play though, alone or otherwise.

The game is absolutely gorgeous from a graphics standpoint. Everything has a vibrant, incredibly colorful look to it. The cartoony look of the characters themselves and the areas they take place on is supported by the incredibly colorful and highly detailed backgrounds that are placed behind them. It won't seem foreign to anyone who's played a Kirby game before, but it appears as a superb evolution from the visuals in previous Kirby games. There are no flaws with the visuals to speak of either. There are never any issues with hit detection, and you never see any characters overlapping with things they shouldn’t, or getting stuck on anything. Everything combines to make this one of the best-looking games that a portable platform has ever seen.

The game's audio is also very strong. All of the songs are very well-written, and fairly catch at that. There don't seem to be any songs from older Kirby games though, which is a bit of a disappointment given Nintendo's taste for nostalgia, but that's forgivable. The sound effects are also very well done, as they match the rather cartoonish mood set by the game's graphics.

Kirby & the Amazing Mirror is a platformer that's recommendable to anyone with a GBA. It's got enough staying power with it to keep almost anyone who picks it up entertained until the end. It is sad that the end in question comes a bit too soon, as this is a rather short game, but it's fun while it lasts. The mini-games give it a bit more staying power, and people who just have to do it all will be able to challenge themselves to find every last item hidden in the game's different areas. This is a game that anyone with a Game Boy Advance or a Nintendo DS should own.