Kirby returns to form(s) along with his friends.
If this is your first time hearing about Kirby's new adventure for Wii, I urge you to check out Neal's impressions from E3. Nintendo invited me over to spend more time with the E3 build, so I will add a few of my thoughts on the game.
As to the backstory, an alien has crash-landed on Kirby's planet, PopStar. Kirby and his friends have agreed to collect the parts of his ship, which are found hidden throughout each level. It's not clear who the antagonist is, but there are several monochrome areas where ship piece-holding mini-bosses reside, inside of what appears to be a tear in the fabric of space.
Kirby's powers have lots of variations, much like in Kirby Super Star. Attacking while pressing various directions yields a wide array of attacks, and in a way, it feels like playing Super Smash Bros.
Kirby's ultra powers, which are massively upgraded versions of his traditional ones, are an interesting novelty, but I hope they turn out to be more interesting than the Mega Mushroom in New Super Mario Bros. That is, it's cute the first couple times you trigger the attacks, but it gets old quickly, especially since you have to wait for the attack animations each time.
As with previous traditional Kirby games, the game features beautiful and cheerful environments and inventive, if obvious use of the variety of power-ups. Kirby, who now has a power-sucking move (1 button and shake) that can suck up larger, heavier, and collections of objects, looks pretty funny with his bulging belly. In certain places, players will need to carry keys or other objects in hand, which limits powers such as Kirby's flight.
At least in the two levels that were on display, the challenge was unfortunately very limited. Though I've mentioned a few negatives, everything else about the game is a solid Kirby experience and the game is a joy to play. Even from the demo levels, it's clear that the game will include many secret areas and collectables, which are Kirby staples.
The multiplayer mode is totally geared for cooperative play. Its drop-in/drop-out nature means that up to three friends/family can join you without having to worry about using up your lives. Sadly, but understandably, Kirby is the only one who copy abilities; the others, Meta Knight, King Dedede, and Waddle Dee only have their usual moves. The players can stack like in the screenshots from the cancelled GameCube version, but it's not clear what use this has.
It's been a while since we've had a traditional Kirby title, and this new Wii edition continues the series evolution. With its co-op and familiar features like snack sharing, this Kirby game feels like a real successor to Kirby Super Star. I can only hope the rest of the game is as diverse. The game releases this fall, and should be one to pick up for families and Kirby fans alike.