Review by Arcreium
"Did I read correctly, high speed racing with stars and puffballs?"
Well, Kirby Air Ride is the first, and so far only, attempt at a Kirby racing game. Off hand I do not have much to say about this game either way. This is primarily the result from the, What the? factor.
This is going to come as a bit of a shock, no not really, this game has no real story. Basically the entire game is composed of your choice to play one of three modes in which your complete purpose is to win. Having no real story or purpose to why, is rather bad, but it is kind of what I was expecting after reading the manual, so I really cannot hit the game too hard in this area.
The graphics were about average for the Gamecube, nothing really stunning though. They are a sort of cross cell-animation with an almost cartoon like quality, which seems to suffice for this game. The sound effects are ok. Nothing really great, but nothing really terrible either. Except the explosions sound really weak when Kirby throws a bomb or the star explodes. Outside of that there is no real problem. The music is excellent, bring back some of the classic Kirby themes along with a few new ones that fit the soundtrack beautifully. All in all, Kirby Air Ride is a little less than, not much though, average in this section.
Well, I can say the three different game modes provide a varied gameplay. The first mode, Air Ride, lets the player pick a track and then a star, and lets them start the race. You can have up to four racers, CPU or other players. You can set the level of the CPU as well as how many laps to win the race. The camera mode for this race is in third person with the camera following the player from behind. Each track is in a different location with things like a snowy hill to a fiery volcano. Most tracks are filled with many different Kirby enemies. The player has the ability to swallow an enemy by simply pressing A next to one. If that enemy has a power Kirby will receive it for a short time, if not he spits it out as a star. You race around this game on one of many different types of Ride Machine, most of which resemble warp-stars. As you play you will start to earn checks, which can unlock things like more options or even more Ride Machines. The second mode is called Top Ride. This mode is more like an RC racer with a camera looking down at the racers going about a small track. Again many different tracks and set up types. In this mode you have your choice of one of two stars each with a distinctively different control set up. The enemies are gone, but they have been replaced with weapons that will appear on the track in random locations. Again you can eventually earn checks to unlock stuff. The third mode is City Trail. This version has many of the similar features as the other two, like the checklist. The camera is one again angled from behind the player. This mode starts out by putting the player in an open area map with a Compact Star, and gives them a few minutes to collect as many power ups as possible as well as find a better star. Many events can happen in this mode, like a UFO flying over the city. All in all it is really simplistic to figure out. This game is pretty good for multi-player with even a LAN set up. The controls are simple, too simple. They rely on the A button to do everything, like stop the star since it is always moving unless the button is held. Bottom line, what can I say this game does pretty well.
Play Time/ Replayablity 7/10
Due to the checklist, this game will take a long time to complete because you will have to replay it over and over to eventually get everything, if you ever do. If not for the multi-player, however, this game will get exhausting rather quickly. So it is recommended to have at least one other purpose to play with.
Overall Score 7/10
So there you have it, an about average game that is ideal for multi-player with kids of young age. The idea of racing around on a warp-star is an interesting concept.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 05/05/11
Game Release: Kirby: Air Ride (US, 10/13/03)
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