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So... cool funny fact! Including the ones from the extra levels, there are 100 different sun-stone collectables across all the stages, and you can in fact get all of them on your first go through each stage and before reaching the final fight, which it's exactly what I did. And after collecting the last one, it turns out the reward a keychain… of the final boss. I did know who the final enemy was before playing the game, but like… it never makes an appearance before the very last level, so those who decided to get everything before finishing the game, their reward was a spoiler, which I don’t know if I find it awful or fucking hilarious.
Taking into account hoy much I adore this pink ball of destruction and entropy, it’s surprising how I haven’t actually beaten a large number of his catalogue, and it’s doubly surprising how, despite loving Plantet Robobot and Return to Dreamland as much as I do, I didn’t even try any of the other two modern Kirby 2D platformers. Looking back, it was clearly a mistake, since many of the things that Triple Deluxe does would have impacted me way more if I played it before the absolute juggernaut that is Robobot and maybe I would be less severe with it in certain aspects, but at the same time, as good as this game can sometimes be, Triple Deluxe doesn’t nail things in the same way its predecessor did, so its problems can’t be summarized by simply saying ‘’is just a worse Planet Robobot’’, ‘cause just that eclipsis both its negative and positive aspects as well.
Triple Deluxe was very much designed for the system is on, and I don’t say that just because of its admittedly cheeky name; while the gyroscope controlled sections and the change and interactions between the background and foreground could be pulled off in any other console, it’s clear that this implementations where made with ‘’let’s showcase what this bad boy of a handheld can do’’ mindset, and yet, for things that could have ended up as mere distracting gimmicks, I don’t know man, I actually really enjoyed how these expand upon the original gameplay. The game does extremely neat things with this basis; all of the mirror sections are honestly fantastically designed and by far the best parts of the game (tho I wished there were more), the gyroscope on old stage hazards like the cannons put a really interesting spin on things and open up a ton of possibilities for puzzles and secrets, and the mere act of jumping between perspectives is always satisfying and never confusing. Plus, this might be the first game in the entirety od 3DS catalogue where I actually needed to put the 3D on, which depending on who you are may be a positive or a negative, and I’m someone that thinks the former; it’s implemented in an awesome way in boss fights and truly shows how 3D can enhance the moment to moment action, even if is just really solving a problem that itself created, it’s super satisfying to feel like there’s actual depth and dodging attacks that actually feel like they come out of the screen. Kinda funny it’s Kirby of all series that pulls this off the best, but oh well. It also holds up pretty well visually; I still defend that its successor it’s one of the best looking games in the entirety of the console’s library, but Triple Deluxe, even almost 10 years later (Jesus fucking H. Christ I’m withering alive…) has managed to stand tall as a visual spectacle; the colors, intertwined with the nature aesthetic that keeps changing across the entire game and the fantastic animations in the mini and normal bosses, make a 240p game look outright gorgeous. Oh, and before I forget, people always tend to praise Kirby’s OST, however, I’ve never seen many kind words towards TD’s soundtrack, which after playing the game kinda surprises me considering IT FUCKING SLAPS, sadly it does re-use a ton of Return to Dreamland’s songs, and I say sadly because every single level and boss theme is like silk. You’ve heard Masked Dedede theme. I don’t have to tell you how hard it goes, everyone knows it, and for good reason.
The game feels like it’s PROUD to be a part of the system its on, trying to be a kind of technical demo on steroids, and truly uses everything new it can to it fulles potential, and yeah, if Triple Deluxe is something, is sure is a fantastic showing of what the 3DS can do for 2D platformers. But that’s the thing, sometimes it feels like that’s everything it is: a game to go ‘’Wow, cool!’’ from time to time, and it seemingly forgot to try to craft the same sound and fun core that made up the games that came before and after it. Don’t get me wrong, as I said, Triple Deluxe it’s good, it’s fun, and it’s very much competent, it has a ton of interesting puzzles, the boss fights are varied and fun even if they are on the slower side this time around, and most of the new power-ups are great additions to the roster, specially Beetle and Circus (or as I call it and always will be in my heart, CLOWN), and all of that is nice yeah but… it’s what I expected from a Kirby sequel. Nothing really blew me away, it was consistently fun yeah, but not as fun, not as impressive. There’s a ton more stuff going on in the levels than ever before, but it doesn’t feel like it, even if it’s adorable to see Waddle Dee’s chopping trees in the background, the levels themselves are very ‘’by the numbers’’, and I don’t mean that it’s too simple, that’s how Kirby games are and I love them for it, but this is not that, it's not that it’s simple in its design, it’s that it’s simplistic on its layout; they follow the same beats and the same conventions that Return did while not being as fun or thrilling as that game was, and that makes Triple Deluxe feel like an overall lesser game. Hell, you could say it’s simplistic even on its story, Kirby was never strong on the moment to moment narrative, yeah, but here is basically nonexistent until the very end! And the Hypernova… oh how good could it have been… look, I’m not gonna act like the Super Abilities from Return were the best thing ever, ‘cause they weren’t, they were a small power fantasy that made one thing and one thing only, but at least: 1. They ended with unlocking a secret more challenging part of the level, 2. Their sections where still pretty interestingly designed and felt fun and organic, and 3. They were indeed optional. Hypernova throws ALL this out the window, sure, the sections when you have to use it can be fun and have great animations, specially the mini-bosses, but what ruins the re-playability it’s how you ALWAYS have to be Hypernova when you reach a certain moment of the game, the levels from that point onward are designed around the Hypernova, and they just result in the end of the level itself. As such, Hypernova doesn’t feel as much of a power-up as it is just a game saying ‘’NO! We gotta do the cool thing I want to do NOW!’’ and maybe that’s what they wanted to do, making cool sections to add variety in, but it just doesn’t translate into the levels that well, and I’m ever so glad that for the nex game, they designed the Robobot around what this type of mechanics should be, an expansion of you arsenal and a great utility instead of some glorified cutscenes and simplistic levels.
Maybe is wrong of me to be this harsh at Triple Deluxe, on their first go on this new system they laid down a ton of the basis that made what would end up coming after so incredible, and the game does manage to accomplish what it initially wanted to do, but that just doesn’t justify its shortcomings. I’ve seen this series do better, and this series would go on to even better, and so Triple Deluxe exists in this weird limbo, sandwiched between two games better than it, while still managing to be a pretty damn good snack on its own. It is fun, it is inventive, but it’s not exceptional…
… but that doesn’t matter ‘cuase the main objective of rescuing this game is rescuing DEDEDE, AND YOU CAN PLAY AS HIM IN A SIDE MODE, AND THERE’S AN ENTIRE MINIGAME DEDICATED TO HIM, WE ARE SO BACK, THIS GAME KNOWS THAT DEDEDE IS THE BEST AND I LOVE IT, I KNEEL, MY TRUE HERO OF DREAMLAND, 10 OUT OF 10, MASTERPIECE!
I'm not gonna beat around the bush here: I've cried laughing more times than I can count playing this. I already loved Quiplash 2 Internashional simply because it finally gave an opportunity to play a jackbox game with an excellent Spanish localization with my buddies, and this is just more of that plus two ''new'' games, and oh boy I adore this. Granted, the price is a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittle bit inflated, with this three-game package being similar in price to full blown Jackbox Party Packs, tho I can excuse that a bit with how cheap it does get in sales and how excellent the translation is. Still, probably the biggest drawback of this compilation, 'cuase otherwise it's pretty excellent for what it is: a small collection of little games for a group of people to play and have a laugh at, and oh boy does it succeed.
So, I think it's fair that I talked about the games included individually, not only because they are all pretty different in their approach, but also because I really believe some are better than others, so let's make a mini review for each of them, shall we?
Quiplash 3: It’s in those little moments where you and a friend give the same answer for a prompt where you realize you all share just a single neuron….
This may sound a little silly to say considering how positive I was about all this at the start but… I think I might actually prefer Quiplash 2 to this one? In that one the final round had much more variety and could be three completely things, here, while it’s not a big departure from what you do in rounds 1 and 2, it doesn’t quite reach the levels of le funny that completing comics in Quiplash 2 did. Still… I mean… it’s still fucking Quiplash, it’s still a riot to play and I’d say that I actually prefer some of the prompts here that in the previous versions, since they tend to lean to the more absurd aspect that results in even more absurd answers, and I love that. Even if they named the presentator Schmitty instead of the actual superior name that is Gutierrez, at the end of the day, peak is still peak, I love that motherfucker.
Tee K.O.: There’s no worse feeling that losing to a shirt with your own drawing AND phrase, at that point it’s just mean…
Tee K.O. is… fine, and it’s a shame I have to say that when it can get so coo coo crazy. Making multiple drawings and phrases and then combining them to create shirts and competing against one another is an incredibly inspired and fun idea, and it is fun, but sadly, it does have a couple of drawbacks that the others just don’t have. It’s the game that suffers the most by being played in smaller groups; the other games in the pack are a blast even with the minimum amount of people, but Tee K.O was clearly designed for voice calls with a ton of people, and even then, that doesn’t change the fact hat it’s so damn long to get to the point, and that’s probably the least involved of the games. Again, not bad at all, but it’s the game I come back to the least, specially when the two other options are right there.
Murder Party 2: They did it, I don’t know how but they sure did it, they made a simpler Mario Party that’s somehow more intense.
Really now, reducing Murder Party 2 to calling it a ‘’Mario Party’’ is a gross misinterpretation, because holy hell, is this game fantastic on its own merits. Combining a trivia game with a horror setting and introducing minigames and the alive and dead mechanic makes it some of the most fun multiplayer game I’ve tried in a very long while, and also probably one of the most original. The presentation, the trivia and minigames themselves, the finale… this is my favorite Jackbox game I’ve played so far by a long shot, it perfectly nails what it wants to be and, even if it’s a departure from the other games focused on absurdism, it’s still funny as hell and the tension makes it the most interesting to go back to.
A god-like way to end the collection, an outstanding multiplayer experience in almost every way.
I'm not exactly what you would call a big F-Zero fan, I do enjoy the games, but I'm not a huge advocator for the series, nor I'm one of the many people that was genuinely waiting for its grand return. So, if even I felt emptiness and even a little bit of anger inside when I saw the word ''F-ZERO'' alongside the number ''99'', I can only imagine the sheer pain real F-ZERO fans must be feeling.
But look, despite the sheer disappointed and kinda mean way it was shown, I still wanted to at least give it a fair chance. After all, I do really enjoy Tetris 99 and the different takes Nintendo has done on it during all these years, and this was yet another spin I really wasn't expecting, and hey, a racing battle-royale is not the worst idea on the world, so let's ignore, for just but two paragraphs, that this is the new home console F-Zero game after 20 fucking years, let's ignore that unless it does really well, it will probably shut down after a year , let's ignore ALL of that for but a fleeting moment, and focus on the real important question: Is the game, at the very least, good?
I think the best thing that can be said about F-Zero 99 is that it is, in fact, F-Zero. From the original game, it was clear that behind its presentation as a high-speed racing game with minor combat elements, the series wanted to create a clear resource management based gameplay that rewarded quick thinking and skill, and it very much succeeded at that. The original game in particular made clear that it was no mere technical showcase, it was a really fun game that established a really fun foundation, and it's that foundation that F-Zero 99 embraces and upgrades. With much clear UI's (albeit with much less personality) and brand new mechanics, like the speen and the skyway, this game expands every possible aspect of the original in a... actually fun way? It's pretty fun and balanced, honestly, especially for a 99 player setting, and that coupled with fun modes like the team races and the mini and grand prix, this game is not that terrible or mind-numbing way to pass the time. There’s a ton of strategy at play, you really need to consider you position and power meter at all times, so you don’t get eliminated or destroyed. It is F-Zero, and I’ll admit, it’s fun to spin at other players and defeat the ‘’rivals’’ a mechanic I do think it’s pretty good on paper; at its core, this game does work… but it is with its problems, don’t get me wrong.
While having more racers with the introduced mechanics sounds fun, is not 98 player fun; the races feel EXTREMELY cluttered, specially at the beginning, they do try to mitigate this with an introduction before some courses, but it just devolves into absolute chaos after a moment. It’s pretty impossible to keep track of any specific player, which is kind of important considering the ‘’rivals’’, you’ll almost never actually actively defeat them, and it just seems like you beat them by mere chance of simply racing, or by other players intervention. The side modes are fun, but the fact that they are all rotating is absurd to me, specially the Prixes; like, I already need the tuckets to participate in them why do you also add the time restriction? So that I don’t blow them in one go? This is a game that you’ll play in small bursts, so that is a dumb reason if that’s the case. Also, I was gonna praise the sound, music and visuals of the game… until I realized it was all lifted from previous games or promotional material, and all new stuff clashes really hard with it and feels extremely generic.
The game IS good, it IS functional, it IS F-Zero, but it ISN’T more. It’s just a funny little idea that wasn’t really fleshed out as much as it could have been and came out at the worst time possible (see? I told you, only for two paragraphs), it doesn’t even justify its existence by being amazing, it’s just… good, and not even Tetris 99 good. I’ll probably boot it up from time to time since it does lend itself to fun moments, but the fact I say ‘’probably’’ and not ‘’surely’’ it’s a huge fault in the game’s part; I really hope it finds its audience, I’d hate to see the newest piece of F-Zero content being gone soon, but still, I would also understand if people just gave up on it after a while.
Well, at least it’s the latest apparition of Samurai Goroh, so it does have really good stuff…