E3 2011: Kirby Wii

QUICKTAKE: Kirby Wii is a new side-scrolling platformer on display at E3 this year starring the incorrigible pink puffball, but is more structurally akin to games like New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns than it is to the recent Kirby's Epic Yarn. It includes cooperative play for up to four players, but (as one would expect) the star of the show is Kirby, himself.

Kirby returns to the Wii for some colorful, cooperative platforming.

THE DEMO: Diving in to a four-player game, I assumed the role of Waddle Dee, a cute, short little guy wielding a spear. Besides Kirby, canon-familiars King Dedede and Meta Knight also joined the fray. Kirby Wii's candy-sweet visuals are immediately appealing, and the platforming action is about as straightforward as it gets. Each character has their own style of attack, but Kirby (in traditional fashion) can inhale enemies to assume their abilities. Super abilities are Kirby-only power-ups--and they're quite over-the-top in their effects and presentation. One ability allowed Kirby to wield a giant sword that could destroy parts of the level to reveal secret areas, and another let him breathe fire across the screen, burning enemies and obstacles in his path. After battling through several colorful landscapes, the four of us engaged in a boss battle against a giant (evil?) tree. DETAILS: Kirby Wii, while full of personality and enjoyable to play, was certainly on the easy side, especially when compared to its recent Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong counterparts. Furthermore, none of the other characters seemed able to use special abilities. Much like Diddy Kong's role in co-op sessions of Donkey Kong Country Returns, the supporting cast isn't as compelling to play. That aside, the game looks like it will end up being a great family-friendly title, well-suited to players of various skill levels. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.