Kirby's Squeak SquadESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Developer - Nintendo
Publisher - Nintendo
2 – 4 players Local Network
Touch screen Compatible
It’s a wonderful day in Dreamland and Kirby is relaxing, about to enjoy a piece of his scrumptious strawberry shortcake. Just before he is able to take his first bite however the shortcake disappears right from under his non-existent nose! At first sign Kirby would assume it is King Dedede, as he is usually behind all of the nefarious doings around Dreamland, but very soon Kirby finds out that it is the doing of the Squeak Squad. Does he have what it takes to defeat this new enemy?
The graphics of Kirby Squeak Squad are very reminiscent of the previous Game Boy titles. Bright, colorful and cartoony are the best words used to describe the game. They do a very good job of creating the game world, but other than that do not really showcase anything special that the DS can handle.
The sound is also quite reminiscent of the Game Boy versions. Heck it was pretty much identical to the point of the “goal complete” fanfare, and as far as I can tell it seemed to have been pulled directly from the original version. This is good and bad in that it doesn’t do much to further the franchise audibly but the sounds are synonymous with Kirby (akin to the found treasure sound of the Zelda franchise) so they almost have to be present.
The controls in Kirby Squeak Squad are kept pretty simple, mainly to appeal to the younger audience that this game is geared towards. The D-Pad is used for movement. Left and right move Kirby on the screen, up allows Kirby to float or enter doors to the next area, and down will make Kirby swallow what is in his mouth, climb ladders, crouch, or do a slide attack if combined with tapping the A or B buttons. Tapping or holding the B button alone will cause Kirby to inhale or use whichever power he has absorbed. Tapping the A or Y buttons will allow Kirby to jump or float if pressed repeatedly. The last button, X, when pressed will cause Kirby to discard his current ability and return to his regular inhaling self.
The next aspect of the controls is the newly added touchpad control, which is the main benefit of being on the DS. The touchpad is used to control the contents of Kirby’s stomach, the details of which will be outlined a little later on. I found fumbling with the stylus to be a nuisance, since the game uses the D-Pad and the Buttons, so I just used my finger for the touchpad elements. The developers obviously realized this limitation as the instruction booklet specifically warns of using great care to not scratch the screen with your fingernails.
As it should, progressing through Kirby Squeak Squad follows the same principles as previous Kirby platform games. He can inhale enemies, shoot them back out as projectiles, swallow the enemies to absorb their powers and/or float past enemies and projectiles to clear certain areas.
Kirby’s stomach can now hold up to 5 items which can be used with the new DS stylus control. Any item in Kirby’s stomach can be used simply by tapping it. Certain items, including contained powers, can be combined and in some cases upgraded by dragging certain items overtop of each other. If Kirby’s stomach is full and you want to make room, items can be discarded by pushing them to the top of the touch screen where it will end up in Kirby’s mouth and can be exhaled as a projectile against enemies.
In order to add more to the adventuring aspect of the game, treasure chests are scattered throughout. Some of the chests are in plain site, while others are hidden and may require multiple play-through of certain levels to obtain them all and they may require usage of a certain power-up to access it. If Kirby comes across a large treasure chest and collects it, a member of the Squeak Squad will show up and try to obtain it from you, possibly resulting in a mini-boss battle to maintain the chest in your possession.
After completing a level within an area, any chest that has been obtained will be unlocked granting the player access to items such as a sound player, spray paint to change Kirby’s colour and keys to secret levels. This is a nice bonus for the player giving them a reason to continue playing the game to see what other bonuses can be unlocked.
The other treat that the developers decided to add in to the mix are some simple multiplayer games. These can be played either against the CPU by yourself, or with up to 4 players over the local area connection. They range from simple reflex games such as grabbing desserts before the other players, to controlling your character on a platform to try to smash other people over the edge. Not the deepest multiplayer experiences, but still good for a diversion here and there.
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