Kirby Squeak Squad (known as Kirby Mouse Attack in Europe) is a platformer for the Nintendo DS. As a throwback to the older 2D Kirby games, it uses the face buttons instead of the touch screen to control Kirby. Controlling the pink blob this way has apparently paid off, because 1.7 million fans worldwide have so far picked it up.
The game starts with a typical excuse to play a platformer: Early afternoon in Dreamland, it’s so peaceful even the clouds are drowsy. And now it’s Kirby’s favorite time of day-snack time. Today’s yummy snack is a sweet, fluffy slice of strawberry shortcake! Time to dig in… Woah! The cake Kirby was about to eat suddenly vanished! That scrumptious, berry-topped slice of mouth-watering goodness… No doubt about it! This must be the work of King Dedede! Well there’s no time to waste! Gotta get that cake back! And that’s how Kirby’s latest fantastic adventure begins… But the plot quickly thickens as Kirby then finds out that the Squeaks (a group of thieving mice) are actually the ones behind the robbery. And he has to collect five star seals to open a door to the Squeak’s world, and then travel to space to find the real bad guy, a purple star-like Dark Nebula thing.
Release dates: November 2nd 2006 (JPN), December 4th 2006 (USA), March 1st 2007 (AUS), June 22nd 2007 (EURO)
Publisher: Nintendo & HAL Laboratory
In the game you will run, float and fight your way through eight worlds as Kirby, gobbling up enemies as you go. Kirby can inhale enemies and spit them out as stars, but the main gameplay comes from swallowing foes and copying their abilities, then using the abilities to defeat other foes and advance past obstacles.
Kirby’s copy abilities have been massively boosted. Not only can players mix and match copy abilities by using the stylus to drag them together inside Kirby’s copy center (his stomach that’s located on the touch screen). If the two abilities are compatible with each other, they will combine and produce a new ability (for example Fire and Sword make Fire Sword). This can only be done if the scroll for a certain ability is found in the levels. However, if they are not compatible, they will combine to create a random bubble. The powers themselves now have the ability to affect the environment, as well as foes. Burn trees and grasses with the Fire ability or freeze water with the Ice ability.
Returning copy abilities include Beam, Bomb, Cupid, Cutter, Fighter, Fire, Hammer, Hi-Jump, Ice, Laser, Magic, Ninja, Parasol, Sleep, Spark, Sword, Throw, Tornado, U.F.O., and Wheel. New abilities are Animal, Bubble, Ghost, Metal, and Triple Star. See 23 out of the 25 powers in action:
Seriously, how cool do the Ninja and Angel powers look!?
In each world, you hunt down small treasure chests, each of which holds unlockable bonuses like music tracks, Kirby colors, powered-up abilities or secret stages. You’ll also find large chests, which are guarded by the Squeaks. When players find one, they must defeat the Squeak or run for the exit before it catches Kirby.
Watch the Kirby Squeak Squad launch trailer.
What are the main features in Kirby Squeak Squad?
* Players can expect all the floating, jumping and battling of a classic Kirby game, but now they can even mix abilities and recovery items using the touch screen. With more than 25 upgradeable abilities, including new ones like Animal and Bubble, Kirby will have the tools he needs to defeat his toughest foes yet.
* The abilities themselves now affect the environment as well as foes. Players burn trees and grasses with the Fire Ability or freeze water with the Ice Ability as they hunt down every last treasure chest in eight huge worlds. Tons of unlockables await, from music tracks to Kirby colors to secret stages and abilities, so players must explore every nook and cranny.
* This game also features three multiplayer sub-games for up to four players, either via DS Download Play or Multicard LAN play. Players test their reaction speed in Speedy Teatime, bump and battle in Smash Ride and aim for snacks in Treasure Shot.
The game supports multi-card multiplayer and single-card download play for these three minigames:
* Speedy TeaTime: Players compete with Storo to eat as much cake as possible. This is done by tapping the cake on the screen before he or other players get it. A small cake is worth 1 point and a big cake is worth 2 points. First player to reach 8 points wins. If the player touches the lid before it is lifted, he’ll have to sit out the round. If a player eats a bomb, he/she’ll have to sit out the next round.
* Smash Ride: This game is played against Spinni and several red squeakers. The goal of the game is to knock the opponents and squeakers off the side as much as possible. This is done by flicking the stylus from the centre of the screen to the desired direction. If the players taps and holds the centre of the screen before sliding, he/she’ll do a smash attack that almost always knocks opponents out on impact. The player with the highest amount of points when time runs out wins.
* Treasure Shot: Played against Doc. Players flick the stylus in one of 3 directions to shoot balls at three chests to obtain food that appears out of them to gain points. Bigger food such as cakes require more balls to obtain, but are worth more points. Hitting a bomb will make the player unable to move for a few seconds. The player with the highest amount of points when time runs out wins.
See Kirby Squeak Squad’s power absorbing gameplay.
As a conclusion let’s rate this game on its fun-basis.
FUN FACTOR – 7.5
This is a welcome return to the classic Kirby platformers. It even looks and plays like a GameBoy Advance game. But while it’s simple combat combined with easy difficulty, you’ll find so many copy abilities to play with, you’re the one who gets sucked into the game. A solid platformer with great new powers and fun puzzles to solve is exactly what the doctor ordered in this age of tacked-on stylus controls. I don’t know why Kirby looks so angry on the cover though, maybe eating everything raw is finally bothering his stomach.
Graphics – 7.0
2D sprites all the way. Colorful visuals. The same cute Kirby animations you’re used to seeing. Visuals could’ve used an upgrade on the DS.
Audio – 7.0
Fun chipper tunes, even if they sound a bit dated, it seems to be done to add to the retro style the game carries.
Ingenuity – 8.0
By sticking to what has always worked, you now control Kirby solely with the face buttons. However, the touch screen is used to mix & match up to five of the copy abilities and other power-ups Kirby can carry around in his stomach.
Replay Value – 8.0
The game has 50 levels set in 8 worlds, loads of power-ups to mix & match, and a fun minigames multiplayer mode to play with up to four players total (only requires one cartridge). Since the ultimate goal of the game to collect all the chests; the chests include keys needed to unlock secret levels and worlds, the ability to change Kirby’s color, portions of a jigsaw puzzle picture, and more additional game content; these are awarded when the player successfully completes the level with that chest. The levels are secret-loaded, so you know what that means. Everything put together may not give you the longest adventure, but it’ll stay fun to get back to some more.