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‘Team Kirby Clash Deluxe’ is fantastic free to play fun done right

From the studio that developed the Kirby games, Smash Bros, as well as Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Snap comes the new free to play game Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. This surprise title was announced the day it was launched directly after the 12 April, 2017 Nintendo Direct. Team Kirby Clash Deluxe features teams of four Kirbies fighting together to take down a large assortment of bosses. There are four different combat roles to chose from: Sword Hero, Hammer Lord, Beam Mage, and Doctor Healmore.

An interesting role-out

Each role has a different use in combat with Hammer Lords being the primary damage dealers, getting up close and personal with the enemies. Sword Heroes split time between being a faster yet slightly less effective melee attacker and protecting their teammates with their Hero’s Shield. The Beam Mage is a ranged attacker who can charge their beam attack to slow the enemy down, opening them up for more attacks and making them easier to dodge. Doctor Healmore can attack from a range or can charge their attack to throw down a healing ward onto the ground, allowing anyone who walks through the ward to regain some health. None of the roles feel like they are superior to any others, and having a mixture always makes for a well-balanced team. However, mixing up the roles involved in each fight can yield surprisingly fun and chaotic results.

Mechanically sound

The mechanics all feel tight, making sure that the fighters never feel out of control. Though the fighting controls could be a bit deeper, there is still enough versatility afforded each role so fights won’t devolve into rote button mashing. Once the enemy has been pummeled enough, they will drop Power Tablets. Once each fighter has a Power Tablet in their possession, the action stops momentarily as all the Kirbies attack together after a quick minigame to dole out massive damage. The game can be played either alone with up to three CPU allies or online with nearby devices. This feature makes the game come alive, because there is some great potential here when it comes to strategizing with friends about how to bring a particularly tenacious enemy to their knees.

As more bosses are defeated, the player will level up, permanently increasing their stats. They will also receive components that can be used to buy better equipment for themselves and their CPU allies. The game has a Vigor system to limit how many bouts the player can engage in per day. Every 12 hours, the player can open the game to receive 5 gem apples, a part of the game’s currency. Other ways to receive gem apples are to buy them with real world money or to complete quests. These quests act like traditional achievements, signifying that the player has achieved something noteworthy, and the game provides many quests to fulfill, so there is very little need to buy gem apples if the player can be patient.

Beggars can’t be choosers?

Though the game is free, that still does not absolve it of any faults. For all of the fun to be had, a bit more variance in the gameplay would have been welcome. With each fight taking place on the same flat, two-dimensional plane, some of the fighting can become repetitive after a while. Also, instead of keeping the roster of enemies stocked full of interesting foes, later fights in the game will feature the same monster with higher damage output and more health. The last problem is one of difficulty: no one will mistake Team Kirby Clash Deluxe for a Dark Souls spin off. While there is some strategy involved, many fights can be won by memorizing the attack patterns of each boss.

Though many fans are waiting with baited breath for the newly announced Kirby game coming Holiday 2017, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe will scratch that Kirby itch for a good while to come. The game is not long, but taking the time to collect all the equipment and to clear every quest should give gamers something fun and engaging to occupy their time with. This would have been a great value if it had cost $10 or $15, so the free to play model makes this game even better.

All images from  Nintendo

Graphic by: Daley Wilhelm

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