Kirby: Super Star Ultra

Kirby Super Star Ultra

Kirby Super Star Ultra

In the pink?

When I was little I once made Kirby marshmallows with little chocolate eyes and wine gums for shoes, and my horrible brother traumatised me by melting them into a gooey, pink, vaguely Dali-esque distorted mess with a handheld blowtorch. I've never been the same. Kirby, however, has stayed pretty much exactly the same for the past 14 years, as this remake attests. It's almost identical to Kirby Super Star on the SNES, with a few touch-based mini-games thrown in, but you wouldn't necessarily know it - it's the same mix of gently unchallenging platforming and ability-gobbling that has characterised every Kirby game before or since, with the notable and lovable exception of Power Paintbrush. I'm not quite sure whether that testifies to Kirby's quirky timelessness or just reluctance to innovate.

Kirby Super Star is a collection of bite-sized games and mini-games; it was essentially the Kirby version of Super Mario All-Stars in 1995, albeit with loads less content. No individual game has more than about 20 minutes to an hour's worth of play, with the possible exception of the treasure-hunting Great Cave Offensive. There are basic gameplay tenets common to them all, but they dart thematically around between normal Kirby platforming, races, timed challenges, treasure-collecting and boss-fighting. There are seven components in all, and three throwaway touchscreen mini-games.

The weakest offering in the collection is the first - and initially only - game on offer, Spring Breeze, a remake of Dream Land with extra powers and Helpers thrown in. When Kirby sucks up an enemy and absorbs its power, he can reincarnate it as a Helper and have it fight on his side, so you can keep one useful ability for yourself and have a Helper with another. You can have a friend jump in over wireless play and control the Helper, which adds a lot of life to Super Star Ultra. There's more incentive to find and mess with all the different abilities when you're playing with a friend.

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