Review by Knuckles83

"A decent game, but very dissapointing and incomplete"

A few years ago, I didn't know this game was supposed to be released on the N64. It was cancelled because the game was scrapped. I was actually excited about this game. It had great idea's, but this game rather ran short. It wasn't totally because of the controls, but rather the content in the game. There isn't much to do in this game.

In the middle year of 2003, three racing games were released. F-Zero GX, Kirby Air ride, and Mario Kart: Double Dash. F-Zero was a great game, the best racing game out of the three. Sure multiplayer wasn't bright, but it included a Grand Prix and even a story mode which pleased hardcore fans. As for Mario Kart:DD, the last racing game released, it may have no story, but it has a Grand Prix mode and some unique modes. It had simple controls too. You could even play two to four player co-op on grand prix. But Kirby Air ride doesn't have any of these modes. There isn't even a single-player mode, unless if you count the checklist to unlock stuff.

Gamplay: 6/10- There are three games to choose from. Air ride, Top ride and City Trial. I'm going to split these up.

Air Ride- The main mode for this game. You choose a vehicle and choose a course. Unfortunately, the "simple controls don't handle well in this mode. Threre is only one button to use, thats the A button. The A button is used to brake, but Hal Labs so calling it to charge and boost speed. You use the control stick to move around. You can also glide as well. If you played City Trial before, this mode will feel totally broken. I mean this game plays fine and load times are very fast, yet this means that this game could be so much better. I'm sorry to compare an unrelated game to this game to controls, but I just have to. Starfox Assault had three control settings. Not all of them worked for everyone to play ground missions, but one of these controls would work fine. This game could have at least have a few control settings. In fact the "simple" controls could have been just a basic control and the developers could have made advanced ones as well. Overall, this mode was fun for a few days.
Air Ride- 5/10

Top Ride- My favorite mode. This mode is a top down view where all players are shown on one screen. The tracks are small, but there are items to collect and some short-cuts to perform. This mode is actually alot of fun. There are enough options to choose from in this mode. Once again, the best mode to play in this game with friends.
Top Ride- 7/10

City Trial- The last mode of the game. In city trial, you have 3-7 minutes to collect powerups to improve your vehicle. There are vehicles scattered around the city and events come as time passes within the City Time Limit. Then after that, a random mini-game appears. One could be a drag race, while one could be a gliding mini- game. There are over 20 minigames, and once you unlock them, you could play them in Stadium. This mode can be pretty fun, though it would have been nice if there was an option to have more mini-games played at one game of City Trial and a few more minigames would be good, but whats presented here is great and also beats Air Ride.
City Trial- 7/10

Graphics: 8/10- If there is an aspect that excels and saves the game from receiving a lower score, it would be the graphics. The graphics are very impressive and very colorful thats what to expect from a kirby game. Air Ride and Top Ride modes look fantastic and have good texture qualities. City Trial is a different story as it doesn't look as good. It looks too cartoony. The framerate almost never drops in Air Ride or Top Ride, but it can be bad in city trial. It's not a major problem, but when theres huge explosions in City Trial, it can cause frame- rate problems. Overall a great aspect.

Sound: 5/10- Worst aspect of the game. Nothing broken or annoying in this aspect, but the music in here isn't special or much catchy at all. Air Ride has bland music tracks as well as City Trial, though only very few are okay from Air Ride. Top Ride on the other hand, has some courses with great music like, Sky, and Fire, but don't do much. Sound effects are also bland. No matter how hard you hit someone, they make the same sound, if any different. There aren't any voices, but I don't think there needed in this game anyway.

Value: 6/10- Kirby Air Ride can be fun for two weeks if more or less. The racing concepts were a great idea, but there wasn't a whole lot in the game. There is a 360 Checklist, 120 in each mode. Some are fun, but others can be annoying. There are many unlockables too. Unfortanately, most of them are worthless. You only unlock one course in Air Ride and none for Top Ride. Some unlockables are different kirby colors, as well as more options for Top Ride while most of them were sound test items. Why?!. This was made by the creators of Super Smash Bros. Melee, and they had alot of stages, characters, and had a Sound Test which included all the music. This game has seperate sound test items which you can't play on Sound Test unless you unlock them. This was the most lazy thing that Hal Labs has done, because they know it would be great to unlock courses. So to be honest, it wasn't the controls that hurt the game(save for Air Ride Mode). It's more of the stuff in it. There are only 9 tracks to choose from in Air Ride and 0nly 7 in Top Ride. There shouldn't have been more tracks, which could have been replacing those useless sound test items, and have better unlockables. It would have been better if you could unlock the whole sound test with every music track, rather than unlocking one track. The lack of variety of stuff means that this game won't last so long.

Overall Kirby Air Ride is a decent game and with unique concepts, it still an exceptional racing game, but thats because I don't like most racing games. It could have been alot better. Once again, this game can be fun for a few weeks. If you are not a Kirby fan, then stay away from this game. If you are, then rent. NO ONE SHOULD BY THIS GAME, unless if you are hardcore with Kirby or in racing games. You're most likely just going to rent it. You should get the full enjoyment. This game is also okay with younger people as a buy. Everyone else, either play another Kirby game, or just play other racing games like Mario Kart or F- Zero GX.

Score: 6.2/10(C)

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/09/06, Updated 01/10/06

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