Kirby games have always been a mainstay on Nintendo consoles for as long as I can remember. We’ve had some on the major consoles, but Kirby truly shines whenever a new handheld device is released. Some of the more recent Kirby games have been hit or miss, but Kirby’s latest romp with giant mechanical suits and robots is actually one of the better Kirby releases in recent memory. If you enjoy Kirby games, Kirby: Planet Robobot offers enough new content and unique gameplay mechanics to truly revitalize the Kirby brand and get you excited again for the little pink marshmallow with a tremendous appetite. This post is going to go more into whether or not your kids can play it, and if you should introduce it to them in the first place.
First things first – the 3D mechanics in this game are heavily used and I honestly think that not using them would take away from some really cool moments in the game. Nintendo has come out and explicitly stated that the 3D on the Nintendo 3DS shouldn’t be used by anyone under the age of 6. They have released a Nintendo 2DS to counter this very issue and marketed it to a younger crowd. Kirby: Planet Robobot can still be enjoyed in 2D, but you will miss out on some really cool aspects of the game. It might be worth waiting until your child is old enough to play an actual 3DS and buy it then. Besides, as you’ll soon learn, some of the gameplay itself may be a little difficult for the younger ages.
If you’ve never played a Kirby game, I’ll try my best to explain it without creating more questions. You play as Kirby, who is this pink marshmallow looking thing who sucks enemies into his mouth and then spits them out as a projectile weapon. Kirby can also gain the abilities of enemies to turn into things like a knight, an archer, etc. These abilities help you take down other enemies and sometimes are used to navigate the world. The game, at it’s core, is a 2D platformer like Mario games, just with Kirby and his floating/using enemies as weapons factored into the level design. Planet Robobot adds another element to this gameplay by allowing you to jump into a huge mechanical robot to not only battle enemies and bosses, but also solve minor puzzles throughout the levels. It’s a really neat feature that sounds kind of cliche on paper, but works really well in the game itself.
So, now that you know the general gist of how a Kirby game plays, how is Planet Robobot? It’s fantastic. It’s one of the best Kirby games I have played in a long time. The real question is, can your kid play it? Well, that depends. If they can handle basic Mario games, they will be able to play through a decent chunk of this game without much issue. Mario games are usually pretty basic in their puzzle solving (if at all) and most of the skill comes from jumping from platform to platform successfully while avoiding dangers. This is all present in Kirby: Planet Robobot, but on top of this, an extra level of puzzle solving and enemy management is thrown in. What does that mean? Well, some enemies will require certain skills to best. Bosses may require some logical thinking to use the onscreen prompts to present the enemies weakness and then work towards besting them. There is a lot of repetition in this game and while most of it will become second nature after an hour or so, it could still be difficult for the younger gamers who haven’t had much practice with this sort of game before.
The good thing though is that Kirby: Planet Robobot oozes charm and childlike glee. Seriously, look at some of those pictures, it’s both beautiful and very child friendly. You won’t find overt violence here or scenes that shouldn’t be played by kids. It’s all family friendly entertainment, and you wouldn’t expect anything else from Nintendo. So, if you aren’t sure if your kid can handle it, give it a shot. If you enjoy playing games like Mario, I promise you’ll at least get some enjoyment out of it. If the game is still a bit over the head of your kid, shelf it for a year and let them practice on some of the classics. When they come back to Kirby: Planet Robobot, they’ll be a seasoned pro and able to tackle it without much parental assistance.