Kirby Mass Attack review Kirby Mass Attack repeats the trick of Power Paintbrush - it's a DS game that's controlled with the stylus. Once again, Kirby has been shorn of the mouth-vacuum power that made his name and zapped by an evil wizard, the resultant explosion splitting him into ten smaller versions of himself. You need to piece him back together again, guiding this rose-tinted rabble through a series of challenging stages.
Challenging? Kirby? Yes, it's a trickier game than usual this time around. A larger group can easily overwhelm enemies, but this comes at the cost of manoeuvrability. When ten Kirbys are charging in the same direction there are usually a few stragglers - herding them through narrow gaps, away from explosives and squeezing them into tight spaces as enemies roll by requires serious stylus skills.
You begin with just a single Kirby. Gobbling fruit is the only way to increase your coral-hued cabal - reaching 100 per cent on the Kirby-o-meter earns you an extra blob.
Each stage has a minimum requirement for the size of your team; even if you've finished a world with ten Kirbys, you're back to sphere one once you've hopped on that warp star. With the full complement, you'll find yourself returning to earlier levels which hide secrets that require the combined power of ten Kirbies to uncover. You might need that many to weigh down a platform, pull out a giant root vegetable, or to circle a golden eel, making him so dizzy that your team can engage in a tug-of-war with his lolling tongue.
Change Of Pace
More considered, puzzle-led stages rub shoulders with action-packed interludes, like a surfing sequence aboard a floating star, or an escape from a rampaging ice dinosaur. Also you can unlock minigames with a skeleton key.
The opening whack-a-mole style affair is the least inspired game but there are a few here that would easily pass muster as a DSiWare download. A solid pinball game may just take up more of your time than you'd be willing to admit, while a vertically-scrolling shooter makes us realise just how well a bullet-hell blaster would work on DS. There's a terrifically silly turn-based RPG called Kirby Master where you time your taps to deliver powerful attacks.
And it will take a fair old while to unlock them all. The levels might seem of fairly average length in a standard platformer, but given the complexities of navigating the intricate, layered environments while keeping your group of Kirbys alive, they feel much longer. You'll return to or try to earn those elusive gold stars for completing levels without any of your Kirbys taking damage.
Again, that's easier said than done. Though combat is fairly basic - as in Pikmin, the best strategy is often to simply lob as many Kirbys as you can into the fray - the numerous hazards and certain forced-scrolling sections can see some of your clan turn blue.
If they're hit once more, they'll turn white, sprout a pair of wings and float slowly skywards - at which point, you'll need to throw another Kirby towards them to bring them back down to earth (and to life). Once bosses and mini-bosses have had their wicked way with you, you'll be fortunate to emerge with a silver reward for your efforts.
Colour Me Bad
Though the pathfinding of your team of pink blobs is generally exemplary, on occasion you'll find one or two of them lagging behind. A bit of practice alleviates these issues, but in later parts of the game when things get particularly hectic, it's difficult not to finish a stage with more blues than pinks.