Review by ShaheerRahman
"Kirby's unfinished Air Ride"
The little pink puff fur ball needed to be released on the gamecube, so what does HAL decided to do? Instead of making an adventure-action game that we typically see in a Kirby game, we are introduced to a racing game featuring our beloved hero Kirby. But don't get disappointed from a racing Kirby game. Actually this is one of the best multiplayer racing games I've ever played on the gamecube. Even though lacking fluidity and extras in the game, Kirby's Air Ride is one solid racer for the Gamecube.
Generally most racing games have no strong storyline. However in Kirby's Air Ride there is no story at all. It's just a fun racing game for all to enjoy. I'm guessing that's what the people of HAL wanted us to think of it. Either way, even without a storyline the game is pretty fun. The goal of every race is to win and beat your opponents. It's simple enough but there is not much to expect of a story in any Kirby game. It's meant to be sucking up enemies and beating up nasty villains. In this case, it's to suck up enemies and use their powers on your racing opponents
there are three modes for you to play in. One is Air Ride which is the main mode for the game. You can choose a variety of 8 tracks + 1 secret track to race in. Each level is unique from the other. At first the game may seem a little bit complicated as you have no idea what you're doing but the main point of Air Ride is to come in first. At first you can only choose to ride in a Warp star which is Kirby's main vehicle but after unlocking some content from doing certain things in the game, you can unlock more vehicles which make the experience better. However unlike games like F Zero or Mario Kart there is no tournament and there is no real initiative for passing a level. In games like Mario Kart they have different cups where u can race in different tracks and the one with the most points at the end of the cup would be declared the winner. However in Air Ride mode it's lacking that fundamental which makes it disappointing. There are only 8 tracks as well which gets repetitive after a day or two of playing Air Ride. Suffice to say though there are many things to do while playing in a track. There are two types of vehicles. There are the ground types in which the majority of the vehicles are, and there are the air types in which only a few are. Each vehicle that you unlock has its own characteristics and differ from each other. There are even secret vehicles!! When racing on maps there are green arrows which are used for boosting. There are purple circles which allow you to twist in circles and try to hit your opponents. There are ramps which allow you to fly for a period of time (if allowed) and there are rails so Kirby can grind his way to victory. The best part of air ride is the enemies in the level. Kirby can inhale/copy enemy's abilities and use them against the AI/Opponents. You can have the copy abilities of fire, thunder, ice, rock star icon, sleepy Kirby, spikes; bomb Kirby, sword Kirby and wheelie Kirby. However Nintendo made a mistake when they put "Boost" and "Inhale" And "Use enemy ability" all on the same button...
The other mode is Top Ride... It's just like mini games. You play on a small map on a bird's eye perspective. There are no enemies in this mode but there are power ups you can pick up and use to damage your opponents/friends. The game is there when you have friends over and you got bored of air ride.
City Trial is the other mode available in Kirby's Air Ride. By far this mode is my favorite. It's considered the "Battle Royal" of the other modes. You start off in a huge city, and you duke it out with your friends or the AI. Sadly there is only 1 city to play in but it never gets boring at all. The main point of City Trial is to collect the most power ups and make sure your friends/AI receive less then you. There are power ups all over the place and its fun to see your friends flying across the screen. Also what makes city trial so fun is that events happen randomly in the game. Some times huge bombs just blow up in the city which makes it difficult to drive, or you'll get a surprise visit from Dyna Byrd and you have to beat it. Even king dede will appear and you'll have to beat him to get more power ups. Also all vehicles are accessible in City Trial but you have to find them. The best part of City Trial is the stadium mode. After beating City Trial (which is usually 3-7 minutes) you are taking to a random stadium mode. Stadium mode is like Super Smash Bros Melee's events mode. You participate in mini games against friends.. Unlike Top Ride, Stadium mode is all in 3d like Air Ride. There are many different mini games to choose from. There are some where you have to drag race to win, kill the most enemies, air race, target board flight, lap races, beat king dede or the best one of all time..... Destruction derby!!
The music in Kirby's Air Ride is pretty good. Most of the music is just remixes from previous Kirby Games but they are pleasant to hear. There's nothing bad at all and it fits the games atmosphere a lot. So overall the music and sound is great. There are even unlock able sound tracks if you complete certain events.
The controls are the worst part of Kirby's Air Ride. Nintendo and HAL tried to simplify things by only using two buttons when racing. Using the Analog Stick and the "A" button. This makes the game more complicated instead of simpler. First of all to brake in this game you have to press A. When you brake your boost meter goes up so when you brake/charge you will Boost. So ironically to brake in this game you boost as well. Also putting both of them on the same Button is really confusing at times. What makes it more worse is that to Boost on panels you have to Press A as well and to Inhale enemies you have to press A near to them. To use enemy's abilities... you have to Press the "A" button. So why did the developers put all the functions on 1 button? It makes no sense. In City Trial to get off your vehicle and run you have to press Down A which took a lot of time for me to figure out. The controls could have used vast improvements.
The graphics in this game were well done. Nothing to complain here. Even though Kirby's Air Ride isn't in the same Caliber as F Zero GX's graphics, its still decent enough to play the game and consider it this gen and not n64 gen. There aren't many cg's, infact there is only 1. When playing Air Ride the graphics are pretty fluid and run on a constant FPS and there are no frame rate issues or lag problems in that matter. Nintendo could've spent more time by adding Cut scenes but it really doesn't affect the score.
There is much to unlock in Kirby's Air Ride. In order to unlock secret content you have to do certain things in each of the modes. There are over 300 things to accomplish in this game and many things to unlock. You'll be spending a lot of time playing this game by yourself and a great game to play with your friends.
Multiplayer is what makes Kirby's Air Ride so enjoyable. The Single player may lack but the multiplayer is what makes the game much better in every way. Also the game is "Broadband" enabled meaning it can go online. Too bad not many GC owners own this game and very few own online for that matter.
Overall Kirby's Air Ride is a decent racing game but it's lacking a lot of content and game play to make it into an AAA racing game. If there was only more unlock able tracks, a stronger emphasis on story, more cities to play in, and then this game would be one of the best racing games to date.
Pros: Great price, good racing game, lots to do, awesome multiplayer game
Cons: Lacking in every way to make it an awesome game. No storyline at all.
Rent or Buy? It's a player's choice game which makes it cheap so I'd probably would buy. But if you're not into racing then don't bother buying this game.
Overall: 75/100 (Not an Average)
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/31/05
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