"The Pink Puff Strays from the Path"

Introduction -
I want to start this review off by saying that I have loved every Kirby game...I mean I at one point had a huge fan club going for Kirby, I know it's lame, but it will help you understand why I'm giving this the score I am...Kirby's Air Ride, seriously dissapoints me...and I mean it's not like I spent money on this or anything, I simply rented it and found not to like it, it's just too...un-Kirby like, and I would have much rather seen another version of the platformer, instead of this hybrid racing game...now that the introduction is out of the way I'll go more in depth to the game.

Graphics 9/10
The graphics in this game are spectacular, they really give this game pop...it gives you a true feel for the whole Kirby world brought to 3D, most of the levels are made to look great, every enviornment looks great, and that is one of the great things I like about this game, too bad it's one of the few things I like about this game.

Controls 2/10
Ohk, I know that it's not possible to control a star, but this game gives you 2 buttons for control...the control stick and A or if you prefer R, either way there are only 2 actions you can do...which is so...last generation. I love racing games, becuase of all the manuevers you can pull off with the car like power slides and that kind of thing, but with this game, there is hold A and turn, wow, that's hard to remember, you might want to write that down, lol. Now this control scheme is simple to master, it's just too simple...having to hit A to activate any on ground speed boosts or shorcut buttons can become really frustrating, becuase when you hit A and you aren't on those things, you slow down and charge up...which is a great thing for turning, not so great when you are in a straight-away. They could have made the controls so much better.

Gameplay 4/10
The shady controls lead to shady gameplay, when you are racing, you can become frustrated by charging on accident and having the other computer racers pass you up, causing you to lose the race. Now outside of the actual races...there is no real reason to play this game, there are no story modes, no progression, the only thing that remotely improves replayability is the ability to unlock different ''machines'' and such, but to do that you just race on different tracks, I found myself asking after a while, why? Why should I keep forcing my friend Kirby to get saddle itch if he's got no reason? Having some sort of story would have helped here, and the 3 modes that they give you aren't too specactular, there is Air Ride, which is just a normal race, there is Top Ride, which makes me think of one of those off road games of the NES...but not quite, the control for these are pretty bad as well. And there is City Trial, which you go around a city collecting power ups, and then get put in an arena to try and beat as many Kirby baddies as you can, not too much fun. There are also LAN Battles, but I don't have a Gamecube adapter so I could not test these out.

Sound 8/10
The sound is either great or bad, which ever you look at it, the music is definatley something that helps you get into the Kirby mood, but if you hate this cutesy music, it will drive you nuts, the machine sounds and enemy sounds are accurate with the series, and give you a sense that you are in the Kirby World, which is something that I really enjoy, since it has been a while since I had been able to get into the Kirby universe, well on a console at least. The sound shines like no other Kirby game, and just like the graphics, it's a nice touch, but can't save the core gameplay flaws.

Overall 5/10
There are just too many flaws with this game to give it a higher score, for a Kirby fan like myself, this game is a major dissappointment, but others might find this simple, completely open ended gameplay fun, I'm just not one of those, I really wanted to like this game more, but Nintendo has dropped the ball on the Kirby Franchise, at least on the console part, and hopefully the Gameboy Advance versions can still keep Kirby alive and well in our hearts.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 10/18/03

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