Review by German Dragon
"He's round, he's pink, and he's back!"
Kirby platformer games have always been loaded to the brim with quality and a unique style. Floating through the air, and swallowing enemies to gain their special abilities as our pudgy, pink protagonist is a formula that works, and one that would have continued to work if HAL had stuck with it. But instead of sticking with the tried-and-true method of making a Kirby game, they've decided to give us something new with Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. Taking a leaf out of the Metroid games, The Amazing Mirror combines classic top-notch gameplay with a huge world full of interconnected areas. Whether or not this is an improvement over the classic design is debatable; but what's not debatable is that the game is really fun.
The moment you turn this game on you'll be presented with all of the style and flair that you'd expect from a Kirby game and then some; it looks beautiful. All of the enemies, all scenery, all of the backgrounds: they look absolutely fantastic. There are only a handful of games that can hold a candle to The Amazing Mirror as far as graphics go. And amazingly, HAL was able to give us sound that achieved the same level of greatness. As you proceed through the game you'll hear an amazing mixture of new tunes, as well as remixed classics. This gives you the perfect feeling of nostalgia while at the same time providing new content.
Now many games that show so much promise on the surface are completely unable to back it up when it comes to gameplay. I promise you, The Amazing Mirror is not one of these games. HAL has truly outdone themselves this time. As you roam around the nine areas of Dreamland, you'll encounter many different types of enemies. Now for those unfamiliar with the series, Kirby can swallow these enemies to gain new abilities. These range from the ability to breathe fire, the ability to spin through the air like a tornado, or the ability to toss bombs. However here is where the real changes come into play. No longer will you just press a button to activate your ability. Now, many of the special powers have been revamped to include a variety of techniques. The Fighter ability, for example, will allow you to do various combines of punches, while the Sword ability allows you to do a plethora of different sword based attacks. Some of the time you'll even feel as if you were controlling the Kirby from Super Smash Bros. -- and that's a good thing.
The other major addition to the game is the fact that there will be three other Kirbys running around the game at the same time as you. It's pretty cool, because they'll be walking around doing their own thing, but if you meet up with one, they'll fallow you for a while, and help you out. You can keep an eye on which abilities each of the three have by looking at the icon in the corner of the screen. You can even call them to aid you, by pressing the R button; they'll immediately arrive on scene by using a doorway that magically appears. This is definitely a useful feature, though it can make boss fights a bit too easy. Four Kirbys, each spamming a separate ability can shorten a battle considerably. If you can control your temptations and use their help sparingly, however, you'll have a blast.
As mentioned, there are nine areas in the game. They're all distinguishable from one another, and they're all unique and full of different puzzles and enemies. However, there's no world map or anything like that. Instead, you'll just travel through the areas. Herein lies the game's one major problem, however. Each area has multiple paths, but relatively few of them allow you to return to where you came from. There's only one boss in each of the areas, but there's a variety of exit goals. When you reach one of these goals, you'll play a short mini-game, and some happy music will sound, but it's really just a ruse; if you see one of these "goals" it just means that you'll be transported back to the very first area of the game, where you'll have to make your way back to the area you were exploring to seek out another path. The game is fun to explore, but this does get tedious after several failed attempts at seeking out a particular boss.
Even with the mentioned problems, the game is still remarkably short. You can easily finish it in a single day, if you allow yourself to truly get into the game. Though as short a ride as it may be, this is a ride you want to take. Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is one of the better Gameboy Advance titles on the market and is a thoroughly enjoyable game.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/22/07
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