Perhaps the biggest marvel of Kirby Star Allies is that games like this still exist at all. This is an unashamedly old-school platformer, brought home with the kind of sparkle and polish that’s synonymous with Nintendo and its close affiliates, yet wipe away that syrupy surface and you’ve got something deliciously weird – a fever dream of a game, with sugar sweet backdrops patrolled by waddling electrical plugs that are just begging to be swallowed and consumed so that you might absorb their powers and spit out sparks of your own.
It’s brilliantly strange, the kind of thing that was ten-a-penny back in the early 90s from which Kirby’s roots grow – and the very 2D platformer roots which Star Allies strives to go back to. At the core, this is a continuation of the series when it was still under creator Masahiro Sakurai’s stewardship, and it maintains his everything and the kitchen sink approach to design where there’s a chaos of delicate details, delivered in some wilfully light action.
It holds an innocence that was once thought lost, but in truth there’s been an abundance of it in recent years – Star Allies is the latest in a line of revivals that began with 2008’s Super Star Ultra (itself a remake of the SNES’ Super Star), subsequently carried on with Return to Dream Land and the brilliant 3DS duo of Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot. That gaggle’s director, Shinya Kumazaki, returns with Star Allies to revive some of that same magic again, while throwing a few more ingredients into the pot.