DS

North America

Kirby Squeak Squad

by Michael Cole - December 13, 2006, 10:39 pm PST
Total comments: 11

6

Kirby sucks—and this time, I actually mean it.

While Super Mario will always be my bread and butter, I've always had a sweet spot for Hal's little cream puff. Whether it's a platformer, a puzzler, or something in-between, Kirby games are usually good times. While Kirby Air Ride had its ups and downs, Kirby and the Amazing Mirror introduced an unprecedented degree of non-linearity for the series, and Canvas Curse was the first quality, original title for Nintendo DS. Sadly, the series falls flat on its face in Kirby: Sqeak Squad, lacking any semblance of depth or exploration.

In Squeak Squad, Kirby must chase after a group of intergalactic mice known as the Squeaks, who are bent on stealing the land's treasures and sweets for themselves. Kirby has his usual arsenal of powers to copy, as well his trusty stomach. In fact, Kirby can now hold up to five items in his tummy, ranging from undigested powers to treasure chests. The touch screen, which displays Kirby's belly, allows players to select an item to digest or regurgitate (which is useful when full).

With Kirby's enhanced intestinal track, you'd think Squeak Squad would require careful collection of powers to reach secret areas. Well, forget it—the belly is a shallow gimmick construed to justify Squeak Squad's existence on the DS. Indeed, long-time Kirby fans will quickly lose interest in the simple level designs, which go through the motions but provide little challenge. Squeak Squad is most closely modeled after Kirby's Adventure (a.k.a. Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland), only easier. Levels contain anywhere from one to three treasure chests, which Kirby will open upon the stage's completion. Many lie out in the open for the taking; if a certain power is needed to retrieve the chest, it can usually be found on the very same screen or, at best, slightly earlier in the stage. The Squeaks guard larger chests and will attempt to take the booty into their hideout. Usually, Kirby can snag the prize and dash to the stage goal without a fight, but if the Squeaks manage to drag a box to their hideout, Kirby will have to enter and rough 'em up. Either way, the rodents are pushovers.

Frankly, Kirby's special powers are the game's only saving grace for players old enough to appreciate level design. Whether swinging a sword, throwing ninja stars, or breathing fire, Kirby has a solid set of moves, and the extra abilities for those powers found in treasure chests build upon them. Of course, this game is freeloading off well-crafted games such as Kirby Super Star and Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, downgrading this plus to a throwaway.

It saddens me to give a Kirby platformer such a lukewarm review, but Squeak Squad's underused powers, severely obtuse puzzles, and marginal variety sets the series back over a decade. After Flagship's quality work on Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, Squeak Squad comes as a complete shock. I can only hope the stupefying of this series was deliberate and will be swiftly reversed.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7 6.5 8 6 3 6
Graphics
7

The recycled GBA graphics are a bit bland after Canvas Curse, but they do the job. The crude, static backgrounds represent Nintendo and Flagship's laziness.

Sound
6.5

The Kirby rearrangements from Nightmare in Dreamland sounded great in 2002, but it's time to stop rehashing them. Some of the new songs are great, while painful instrument samples ruin others.

Control
8

Kirby and his powers handle well, mostly thanks to his prior two GBA games, but I really don't appreciate having to abandon the face buttons for uninteresting touch screen support. The multiplayer sub-games make decent use of the touch screen.

Gameplay
6

This is a far cry from the Kirby I know and love. Players will initially have fun just because Kirby's powers are so awesome, but three hours with the game will reveal Squeak Squad's poor level design, which offers almost no challenge for experienced gamers.

Lastability
3

My save file reached 100% in fewer than six hours, and even then the last hour felt like a chore. The multiplayer touch screen-based sub-games aren't very fun—at least not against computers—but the time trial mode may provide some entertainment.

Final
6

Kirby games are made for players of lower skill, but they should also provide completionists with room for challenge and discovery. Wielding Kirby's arsenal of powers is always fun, but Squeak Squad's shallow design dismisses what made prior entries great for all ages, squarely targeting viewers of the equally mindless anime.

Summary

Pros
  • Decent boss battles
  • Kirby's powers are still fun
Cons
  • Almost no exploration or challenge
  • Low difficulty makes it short, even for a Kirby game
  • No interesting new powers (and some are missing)
  • Recycled graphics and sound
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

Yeah, I know I was more positive about this in the Podcast, but I had only played for an hour or two then and was still having fun controlling Kirby.

TMWDecember 13, 2006

I thought it was just a case of multiple personalities.

Way to shatter my dreams, TYP.

Hostile CreationDecember 14, 2006

Disappointing, but I wasn't sure whether I'd get this or not anyway.
And while Amazing Mirror did include exploration as a major theme, it's something that I don't think Kirby as a platformer should be held to. If it's too short and easy, fine, but marks off for lack of exploration in what is essentially an adventure platformer seems odd. In fact, most people seemed to hate the complex map in Amazing Mirror (I personally did not).
A friend is getting this, so I'll check it out but probably won't buy it. Thanks for the review! face-icon-small-smile.gif

TrueNerdDecember 14, 2006

Yeah, I'm not getting this game. I've got too many heart containers/poes/golden bugs to find, too many portraits to ruin and waaay too many beats to tap elitely to be bothered by what a lot of reviewers have deemed a sub-par Kirby game.

Too bad. Canvas Curse is still one of my favorite DS games.

Ian SaneDecember 14, 2006

"Kirby sucks—and this time, I actually mean it."

OUCH! face-icon-small-smile.gif

I remember hearing that Kirby's Dreamland was originally designed as a beginner game for people that find something like Mario too hard. The Kirby formula is so good though that I imagine after that HAL decided to make it a little tougher. So in a way I suppose Squeak Squad could be seen as a back-to-basics title. Still doesn't make the game any better though.

Nintendo should make it up to everyone by releasing Kirby Superstar on the VC. face-icon-small-smile.gif

You are correct Ian, and Kirby's Dreamland is very easy. However, since Kirby's Adventure the series, in general, has had two sides. Getting through the game is almost never difficult (though Kirby has had its share of tough bosses in my opinion), but as I said in my review, finding everything usually requires thought and exploration, if not challenge. For example, there is a level in Kirby's Adventure where you must retain your Hammer through most of the level to unlock a coliseum. And remember that part in Kirby 64 where you had to transform into Rick and climb a wall for a shard? Those are examples of the fun little discoveries and tasks I expect from Kirby games.

Smoke39December 14, 2006

When're we gonna get another Kirby game as good as Super Star? ):

I would settle for a sequel to Kirby 64. Those 3D graphics on 2D gameplay would look great on DS. And I needs me some power combinations before I can get excited over another Kirby game.

Terranigma FreakDecember 15, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Smoke39
When're we gonna get another Kirby game as good as Super Star? ):


When Nintendo stops handing the game off to a "talent" game developer like Flagship. Seriously, I thought Amazing Mirror also sucked. It was just so boring, something that's never hapened to me when I play a Kirby game.

STOP GIVING KIRBY TO CRAPCOM!!!!!!!!!!

Ian SaneDecember 15, 2006

"When Nintendo stops handing the game off to a "talent" game developer like Flagship."

I hadn't even noticed the change had happened but then I don't follow Kirby all that much. Why can't HAL do it?

Personally I don't think Nintendo should be handing their franchises off really at all with a few exceptions like Retro doing Metroid Prime and the occasional "dream" collaboration like DDR Mario Mix or Super Mario RPG. Yeah we would get a lot less franchise games out of it but I don't think that would be a bad thing and for the most part the original developer always does the best job. I think Nintendo milks their franchises too much anyway. It's only recently that Nintendo has been releasing weak franchise games and I don't think it's a coincedence that that directly relates to franchises being passed off to other devs.

It's not like passing off the work to other devs is freeing Nintendo's A-level devs to work on brand new stuff. Usually they're just making sequels as well. And if they let the newer devs do their own thing maybe new franchises that become big hits could come of it.

CalibanDecember 15, 2006

Ian, you forgot to mention F-Zero GX too, despite SEGA being its developer they managed not to release their usual crap.

I did like canvas curse, and I'm still getting squeak squad despite its reviews.

Share + Bookmark





Kirby Mouse Attack Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 4
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Kirby Squeak Squad
Release Dec 06, 2006
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Hoshi no Kirby: Sanjou! Dorotche Dan
Release Nov 02, 2006
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: Kirby Mouse Attack
Release Jun 22, 2007
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+

Related Content

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement