Review by CodeHunter64

"A fun game with super-simple controls? Kirby’s got the Wario Ware of racing games!"

We’ve been waiting for this game to come out for over half a decade, and the wait has certainly paid off. From the makers of the Smash Bros. games comes Kirby Air Ride, a new racer featuring everyone’s favorite pink, vacuum-mouthed puffball.

Audio 9/10

There’s noticeably some familiar Kirby sounds here, such as the screeching of Mike Kirby. All of the other sounds in the game are rather Kirby-like as well. Very fitting. Most of the music is new, though there’s still some remixes of old favorites here and there. The new stuff will grow on you. I still love the ice level theme.

Visual 10/10

The Kirby cast has been flawlessly translated into 3D. They remain quite loyal to their original looks. Kirby’s still using his Smash Bros. Melee model, not that that’s a bad thing. Why mess with a great look? The courses are quite varied in theme and obstacles while still looking like they belong in the Kirby world.

Play Control 9/10

Not unlike Wario Ware Inc., Kirby requires only directional control (with the Control Stick) and the A Button. The A Button mainly lets you slide and charge up boost power for your vehicle, but it can do other things depending on the context. You can activate switches or use boost pads by pressing A while over them. Kirby will inhale enemies and copy their powers if you use A in their vicinity. However, sliding will slow you down, so you’ll need to figure out the right strategies so you can regain enough ground to make up for having to slow down. Each of the vehicles you can unlock and ride has its own quirks too, so you’ll need to factor them into your strategy.

Gameplay 10/10

There are three game modes to be played, and all have their unique charms. The Air Ride mode is your basic drive and race around the game’s levels for a number of laps. Top Ride is a top-down view, Mario Kart-like game that lets you use power-ups and weapons. The City Trial is by far the most interesting and most fun part of the game. You have a set amount of time to drive around a giant city and grab power-ups to beef up your ride. When time’s up, you must use your customized vehicle to defeat your opponents in one of numerous mini-games. These include death matches, long jumps, and target flying. You usually won’t know what the mini-game is going to be, and that’s just another part of the fun.

In addition, each of those modes gives you 120 different goals to accomplish to unlock new machines, characters, or over stuff. You have a total of 360 goals to clear, and they range from beating set Time Trial times to winning the race while you have a certain Copy ability. Most of your time will probably be spent trying to beat these objectives, but you’ll have fun doing it and you’ll figure out by yourself how to score some low lap times.

Entertainment 9/10

Kirby Air Ride, not unlike HAL’s other masterpiece Smash Bros. Melee, is a great game alone, and even greater when you play against others. Try the City Trial with multiple players. It makes for a great party game.

Buy or Rent?

Do yourself a big favor and buy this game! It’s fun and entertaining, just like all Kirby games. The missions will keep you playing, and the multiplayer will keep you playing even more!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 10/27/03

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