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Kirby: Battle Royale
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kirby: Battle Royale is a collection of mini-games with mild cartoon violence. Cute blobby characters hit each other with weapons including swords, spears, and bombs, but never do more than temporarily knock each other out. There's no blood, injury, or death. Designed for multiplayer, this game encourages players to work cooperatively in teams of two and engage in friendly competition with others. Kirby and the rest of the characters don't express themselves much outside of the cartoonish combat, but they seem pretty happy and eager to help when help's requested. Parents should note that this game supports amiibo, sold separately. Also, local multiplayer requires a 3DS for each player, but only one copy of the game.
What's it about?
KIRBY: BATTLE ROYALE sends Nintendo's lovable pink puffball on a mission to win a series of battles hosted by King Dedede in hopes of winning a delicious cake. The tournament is actually a series of party-style mini-games in which four contestants battle each other while undertaking various tasks. The simplest competitions involve little more than vying to be the last blob standing, while more sophisticated challenges see characters poking each other with weapons while trying to collect and deposit apples, or grab coins while avoiding a pesky ghost. The short single-player mode sees players working their way through five progressively difficult leagues against computer opponents, earning new abilities along the way. Multiplayer modes include the local-focused Battle mode, where you can set game parameters and play against friends in the same room, and Online Battle, which pits players against strangers online. You can also learn and practice techniques in Training mode, or view the items you've earned and medals you've won in the Collection menu. Download play allows multiple players to play together locally with only one copy of the game, but certain features are locked unless everyone has their own game card.
Is it any good?
Party games are pretty common on Nintendo systems, so genre newcomers need to be exceptional in order to stand out. Unfortunately, this one is merely average. Kirby: Battle Royale's collection of games isn't bad. The combat is enjoyable, the objectives simple and clear, and the length of each mini-game just right. And when you haven't any friends to play with, it's nice to be able to switch over to the short but nicely paced single-player mode, where you can get some practice while feeling a sense of progression as you unlock abilities, medals, and collection items.
But the experience suffers from a lack of variety and a sense of repetition. With only 10 "battle types" (mini-games, essentially) from which to choose, it isn't long before most players will start wondering if there's anything more to see. While players can unlock plenty of fighting abilities for Kirby that have potential to change up combat tactics a bit, they don't alter the primary objectives of each mini-game. The feeling of discovery and newness quickly evaporates. All you're left with is the prospect of mastering some pretty simple game mechanics. With plenty of meatier party games available for 3DS and other Nintendo platforms, it's hard to imagine why anyone other than hardcore Kirby fans would need to invest in this polished but surprisingly slight offering.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Kirby: Battle Royale's Battle mode allows players to set up tournaments lasting between three and 30 minutes, but is half an hour too short, just right, or too long to be a satisfying play session?
Talk about being a good sport. When playing against other people, how do you tend to react if you lose? How about if you win? Do you think about how others interpret your reactions?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.