Kirby's Adventure Wii sees Kirby returning to his roots and proudly reasserting himself as a classic Nintendo platform hero. It's a gimmick-free return to the themed worlds of Pop Star, each one containing a number of stages capped with an eventual boss fight.
Colourful and bouncy enemies are swallowed and their myriad powers absorbed. New and old abilities combine to form a roster of powers numbering in the dozens, from retro favourites like Stone and Sword to new ones, like the Indiana Jones-inspired Whip and a series of ridiculously over the top Super Abilities.
This fervent doffing of the cap to the past doesn't hold the game back from modern conventions though - Kirby's Adventure Wii remains a contemporary, brilliant, co-op multi-player adventure game, with a seamless drop-in and drop-out mechanic for up to four players.
Four Way Play
Kirby's Adventure Wii's co-op mode is entirely optional though, with extra players not having to worry about their clumsiness subtracting from the main player's remaining lives. Instead, players who fall off-screen are immediately teleported back to player one's position with no penalty. This leads to a refreshingly laid back multiplayer experience, with zero chance of friendship-destroying punch-ups.
Co-op players can choose to play as another Kirby, or as either Meta Knight, Waddle Dee or King Dedede, each of whom have their own powers. Some heartwarming touches, such as the ability to hug team-mates after picking up food to split the healing benefit, keep things light-hearted. Players can also hop on each other's backs, either out of sheer laziness or in order to carry out group attacks.
Level design doesn't pander to co-op play, and you're never required to use more than one player in Kirby's Adventure Wii.
As for other new features, Kirby can inhale indefinitely, but by shaking the controller you can ratchet up the suction, consuming larger objects and enemies. Fill your cheeks with enough junk and you can spit out tumbling, destructive, giant stars that tear through the level.
You'll occasionally come across glowing enemies, who'll imbue Kirby with beefier versions of his regular copy abilities. The Ultra Sword power-up has Kirby swinging screen-dominating blades. The Snow Bowl power transforms him into a living snowball, capable of rolling through levels, picking up enemies and smashing through barriers. The Flare Beam ability allows Kirby to conjure up a sphere of crackling energy, which you can then freely manoeuvre about the level.
Getting your hands on them is a giddy, bonkers thrill-ride of uncharacteristic destruction. They also tend to reveal portals to bonus stages, short challenging levels hosted by mini-bosses.
These mini-bosses dole out Energy Spheres, of which there are over 100 to collect. Scattered across levels and largely hidden from view, it's these Energy Spheres that form the bulk of Kirby's Adventure Wii's challenge. Ignore them and you'll breeze through the entire game without breaking a bead of perspiration, but dedicate yourself to hunting them down and the game's level design comes into its own, unfolding and revealing more of itself than it would to the otherwise collectible-averse player.
These Energy Spheres also unlock multiplayer mini-games - fun and competitive distractions for up to four players - as well as challenge rooms and power-up museums. Kirby's Adventure Wii is an astonishingly pure and honest platformer with a convenient, neatly integrated, fun and funny co-op multiplayer edge. As challenging as you'll allow it to be, Kirby's Adventure Wii is a fantastic platformer for Kirby fans of any age.
This is an edited version of a review that appears in the Christmas issue of Official Nintendo Magazine which is on sale now. For more in-depth analysis and screenshots, buy the magazine here