Following HAL Labs' revelation that it planned to buy Kirby a mobile phone for Christmas, Nintendo has updated the website for forthcoming GBA adventure Kirby's Star: The Great Mirror Maze (or whatever we're translating it as this week) with details on 16 of the 25 forms the pink blob will be able to assume in his first outing since the departure of creator Masahiro Sakurai.
As ever, by swallowing enemies Kirby can assume various different forms. He literally is what he eats - an observation I'm sure nobody's ever made before. If you don't want to spoil the surprise for yourself too much, or would rather gaze at indecipherable pages of Japanese text, you can find the native character profile pages here, or you can continue on for a whistle-stop tour of his new threads, for which we owe a great deal of thanks to those eagle-eyed Kirby fans at 1UP.
Right. So. BWAAAAAAH!!! Nobody expects the Kirby inquisition! His chief weapon is fire... fire and a sword. His two weapons are fire and a sword... and a boomerang with which to zap enemies... and an almost fanatical devotion to new hats... His four... no... Amongst his weapons [looks around] are such diverse elements as fires, swords, boomerangs... I'll come in again.
For his latest outing, Kirby can assume all sorts of cunning shapes and forms, and the latest list is as whimsical and unashamedly cute and unthreatening as ever, despite his increasingly angry-looking facial expressions in the adorable artwork. Some of our favourites so far are Angel Kirby (giving him the wings and arrows of Cupid so he can fly and shoot enemies in eight directions), Fighter Kirby (complete with fireballs, dragon punches and of course a red headband), Missile Kirby (an Unreal Tournament Redeemer-esque controllable rocket with a wide turning circle and an explosive payload), Cook Kirby (or Iron Chef Hirokirby Sakai as he ought to be known, who can suck all enemies on screen into a cooking pot and turn them into power-ups), Magic Kirby (who can use a roulette wheel to gamble on the futures of his enemies), and of course Bomb Kirby (who can plant bombs on time-delay or chuck 'em).
Of course every Kirby adventure has this same basic dynamic, so you're probably wondering what's really new this time. Well, it's that mobile phone, isn't it? Kirby is now backed up by three multi-coloured Kirby-alikes, whom he can call upon using his mobile phone - assuming he can get a signal. Tunnels and other areas sometimes cause problems with reception, and the battery can run out if he doesn't keep an eye out for refills. As you might expect, combat will be eased somewhat by the presence of his friends, but they will also come in handy in dispatching puzzles - a basic example being a door with a switch that needs to be held open while the pink blob wafts his way through.
The latest Kirby will also have a few mini-games that take advantage of his newfound friends, like Gigaton Punch, in which you have to build up a power meter and see who can burrow the deepest by smashing down to earth, and Setsuna no Tsumamigui ("Quickly eat with your fingers" - thanks again to 1UP), which is a quick-draw to see who can inhale the apples when they appear on screen. It has some loud music, but you might enjoy the Flash-based version here anyway. I did.
Kirby's Star: The Great Mirror Maze is due out in Japan on March 25th, but sadly Nintendo Europe didn't have a potential release date for us when we spoke to them just now. We'll let you know when they do.