Kirby Air Ride

Santa gave Joshua Kirby for Christmas, but dad has spent some time with the game, mostly in two player head-to-head races. There are a nice variety of levels, and the designs are OK – nothing special or different that we have not seen in the various Mario kart games.

The big draw here is that Kirby is perfect for pick up and play goodness, but for me only if I am playing with Joshua. The game is fairly simple. You really only have to move the analog stick, and press the green button. I suppose there is some strategy in what power-ups to get, and what kart to use. The power-ups are standard Kirby fare – swords, tornados, bombs, and the like – while each kart (I think the game calls them stars) controls differently and the variety is nice – boxy karts, uni-wheel karts, winged karts, etc the assortment is fairly interesting.

The game provides various handicaps, which more or less change the degree of rubber banding, but the racing action is just not interesting to this gamer. Joshua loves it, which is all that matters, and if he happens to beat me, then all the better for him.

In addition to the racing there are is also a City Mode and a Top Ride mode. City Mode allows you to ride around Kirby Town (I have no idea what it is really called) collecting power ups, and eventually battling in a variety of stadiums, most of which have to be unlocked. I don’t know; not really that interesting to me. With that said, something like this could easily be turned into a great online game/mode. Could you imagine several hundred Kirbies (how does one popularize Kirby?) riding around in a city looking to pick fights with each other? If Nintendo ever goes online they need to do something like this; doubt they will send me any sort of kickback for the idea.

Top Ride mode is pretty much what it sounds like – think Micro Machines racing from an eye in the sky perspective. You race around a variety of tracks, picking up items such as bombs, and try to cross the finish line first. I suppose this mode is a nice distraction, but that is really all that it is, a distraction. It may be an interesting party game for four-on-four action.

In short, Kirby is pretty much your standard kart game, which most gamers will either like or avoid. The game is perfect for kids, but I doubt older gamers will find the game very deep. For my money Motor Toon Grand Prix (a classic PSX title) is still the best kart game in town.

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