I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time that I’ve played a Kirby game, if at all.  But if there’s one thing that the Nintendo Switch has introduced me too, it’s something a little different from the norm.  Fans of the Kirby series will no doubt feel right at home here, as looking from the outside in, it seems to be the standard affair.  That depending on which way you look at it, is either a good thing or a bad thing, but I think most people going into Kirby Star Allies pretty much knows what they’re getting, regardless of their experience with the series.

With a game such as this one, the plot isn’t the most vital aspect, but here it is in a nutshell.  On the planet Jambastion, a dark and evil crystalline explodes and its fragments are spread across the galaxy infecting many planets and its inhabitants.  Those that get to close to the fragments are possessed by its dark power.  However, when it comes into contact with Kirby, it gives him the ability to befriend the possessed enemies by throwing hearts at them and they will fight along his side as he and his new friend embark on a quest to save the galaxy, with hugs and kisses (the later actually tops up your friends health).

Gameplay wise, Kirby Star Allies is pretty much a straight forward affair played from a very visually pleasing 2.5D platforming perspective, presented with a vibrant colour plateau that looks gorgeous and performs well both docked and in handheld form.  While you will primarily control our beloved friend Kirby, when Kirby befriends enemies or if you want to be more sinister, possesses them, he can have up to three characters fight alongside him, which can be controlled by a friend locally or the CPU.  Each of these characters will have special abilities, most of which will have specific talents relevant to getting through that particular level, Kirby also has the power to claim those abilities for himself if you wish (many of which will aid you in accessing hidden areas and items).

The game itself offers very little challenge in terms of difficulty, which I believe the only time I’ve died (so to speak), is by somehow falling down a gap, which with Kirby also having the ability to fly whenever he wants, I’m not sure how I managed that to be honest.  The CPU AI also seems very capable as in most cases they’ve helped dispatch of enemies quite easily on their own accord.  However, this can be frustrating at times, especially if you want to acquire a particular ability, but the CPU AI kills them before you even get that chance.  The AI is also very handy during boss battle segments, which aren’t all that difficult either.  In most cases when playing just about any other game, having the difficulty (in a very loose sense of the word) being so unchallenging ,would be an issue in itself, but in my humble opinion, Kirby Star Allies relaxing and charming nature only adds to the experience, and is even greater when playing with a young family member.

Aside from the main campaign, Kirby Star Allies also has two additional mini-games, which are very Mario Party-esque indeed.  The first is Chop Champs, where you must chop down tree logs in the fastest time possible, with in-game hazards obstructing your way, which differ depending on the difficulty set, the player who has chopped down the most wood in the set time wins.  The second mini-game is Star Slam Heroes, here in a baseball themed game, you must smash a meteor back through space, with the player covering the most distance wins.  Both games offer a little distraction from the main game and are quite fun, especially if you can get three other family members or friends to play along.  It really wouldn’t surprise me if Nintendo later released an Expansion Pass adding more like-minded mini-games to Kirby Star Allies, which I would in-fact welcome.

In conclusion, Kirby Star Allies might not be everyone’s cup of tea with its overload of cuteness, but I feel in which the game is presented, it’s finely tuned platforming gameplay and a surprisingly enjoyable soundtrack that will stick in your head, it offers fun of a pleasant and relaxing nature for all ages.  It may not bring anything revolutionary to the table, but Kirby Star Allies will no doubt be one of the most pleasing and enjoyable games you’ll play this year.  If this is considered to be one of the worst Nintendo Switch exclusives yet, it just says a lot about the high standards already set during Nintendo’s hybrid consoles early years.  Now if you excuse me, if have some hugs and kisses to dish out…in Kirby Star Allies of course.