Super Kirby Clash for Nintendo Switch is a free-to-start action game that unexpectedly popped up on the eShop following the September Nintendo Direct. Fans may recognise the game since it’s actually an enhanced port of 2017’s Team Kirby Clash Deluxe for 3DS. It involves a team of Kirby characters battling their way through various big bad guys. This free game certainly won’t hurt your wallet and thankfully Kirby’s latest outing is also worth your time, despite a few flaws.
On the plus side, this title simply oozes cuteness, as you might expect from a game involving a squishy, marshmallow-like character with rosy cheeks and a happy demeanour. Yes, Kirby is the hero we deserve AND need in this day and age, and we love him for it. Only Kirby can smash his way through RPG-like battles with a big smile on his round face.
Super Kirby Clash involves working through a growing list of quests. Your main goal is to take out various enemies who are harassing the folk of the Dream Kingdom. Each quest comes with a bunch of conditions that will earn rewards, like defeating an enemy using a certain class or within a certain time.
During battles, you can partner with up to three other Kirbys. These can be AI-controlled, local friends, or like-minded individuals from around the world. I love that this game is all about working together; it’s not a competition, it’s a team effort. You can send little stickers to your allies that encourage or thank each other, which is another cute touch.
There’s also a surprising amount of depth to the game, especially considering the price. Yes, there are those microtransactions – which I’ll address soon – but this is essentially a free game that can entertain a solo player or a group of friends for many hours. As a multiplayer game, it’s probably not going to have the longevity of something like Mario Kart, but I can see myself coming back for more action over the next few weeks and maybe even months.
Part of this depth comes from upgrading your character. You earn experience points for each battle, which in turn increases your stats. These are usually helpful attributes, like strength or defence, but can also be more comical ones, like beauty – “not that it matters!”. You also earn different gems, which can be traded for items at ye olde shoppe. Weapons, armour, even new stickers are available here, with more unlocked over time.
Generally, you’ll need a combination of different gems to purchase an item. For example, you might need four yellow gems, two red gems, and five Gem Apples to purchase a weapon. While all types are collected as rewards for defeating foes – and some by the daily tapping of an amiibo – Gem Apples can also be purchased via microtransactions.
Before you get too concerned, you actually earn a lot of apples for your quests anyway. Plus there’s a tree in the main plaza that grows them. The tree defaults to 10 apples every 12 hours, but a Gem Apple purchase – with real-world dollars – will upgrade your tree, providing more fruit. I actually think this is an OK way to go about microtransactions – especially considering you can purchase 50 apples for 75c. You could also splurge on 5000 Gem Apples for $60 if you’re really impatient. I didn’t see a need to buy them for myself and never found myself lacking; but if you’re keen, hey, go for it. Sometimes it’s nice to have a choice.
The other reason to keep returning to play is the ranking for each battle. The faster you defeat your foe, the higher the grading – like bronze, silver, gold or even platinum. If you like to get a perfect score, you’ll want to replay levels once you’re a little stronger.
Kirby can adopt one of four roles, which can be changed before each battle. You can play as a Sword Hero, Hammer Lord, Doctor Healmore, or Beam Mage. Each one feels slightly different to play; for example, the Hammer Lord can’t jump as high because he’s hefting such a large weapon.
Each character class also carries a different moveset. I’m the first to admit that fighting games are not my forte – give me a platformer or RPG any day – and I’m not great at pulling off fancy moves. I appreciated how easy it was to find the movesets – simply press the + button. There are four pages of moves for each character, so there’s a lot to master. Again, this does add a little depth to the gameplay.
So what’s not to love about this game? Sadly the biggest concern is the online play. It’s a fantastic idea that’s very easy to set up and join groups – but it fails due to a significant lag that borders on being almost unplayable. I finished a few battles but it’s just not as satisfying to watch Kirby float in slow motion and attack five or ten seconds after you’ve hit the appropriate button. Such a shame!
The other (less drastic) issue is repetition. The battles are really fun but do begin to feel same-y after a while, making it feel a little like grinding. You’re still working towards a goal of leveling up your stats and weapons, plus each villain is new and exciting to unlock, but the combat varies little. This is why it won’t have the longevity of classics like Mario Kart.
Overall, Super Kirby Clash is a fun little title that’s great as a solo adventure or with friends – sadly, the online lag leaves much to be desired. Leveling up your Kirby and achieving higher ranks keeps things interesting while providing a replay factor. There are some cool battles to be had, though it does become a little monotonous. Yes, there are microtransactions – if you choose to use them – but this is a free game at heart, so it’s hard not to recommend. There’s really no reason not to give this one a try.
Review: Super Kirby Clash (Nintendo Switch)
Super Kirby Clash is a fun game that makes fighting somewhat adorable. The battles with AI and local friends and fast and fun, although a little on the repetitive side. Online battles are too slow to be truly enjoyable but overall this is a free game that provides entertainment in short bursts as you level up your Kirby.