If you haven't already guessed i'm a Kirby fan, how did i get into the series? i played Super Smash Bros Melee, and i enjoyed playing as Kirby, then I played Kirby Air Ride and Kirby And The Amazing Mirror was the first traditional Kirby game i had played and it was awesome.
Now i'm not a big fan of platformers, especially the ridiculously hard ones such as Super Meat Boy which i feel lack substance and serve only to provide a challenging experience for the player, (i also feel many other indie platformers are the same to be honest, note to indie devs, stop making your games so ridiculously hard!
sorry). The Kirby series is the only series where i can tolerate the platforming as it integrates more action into the gameplay through the use of copy abilities, plus the games aren't too punishing yet they can throw unexpected obstacles at you which can throw you off. I also like how the games reward you with collectables, they often lay out obstacles to throw you off, they sometimes even trick you, sometimes the item requires a certain copy ability to obtain, it really adds to the backtracking and replay value to the games.
Kirby And The Amazing Mirror is slightly different from the rest of the series in the sense that it's completely open ended, though this can tend to be confusing at times, it's cool that the game lets you freely explore different areas whilst putting barriers in your path which can be bypassed usually when using different abilities or simply by exploring other routes as the map is linked together in a web like fashion which connects each zone together through platforming segments. You could, for example end up fighting a boss in a later zone before a boss in an earlier zone. There are collectables all over the place as is standard for the series though they often vary from standard items such as maxim tomato's and batteries (which you use to call other Kirby's via cell phone, i'll get to that later) to collectables such as alternate skins and even extra lives as well as sound test music, but to use sound test you have to unlock it in the same fashion.
Dieting never really did any good for Kirby...
The level design and art design are both great as always, usual standard for a Kirby game. If you've played earlier installments, you know what to expect but on a more open ended layout. As each area is connected to each other by mirrors, there really aren't any levels, there are 9 zones on the map and each zone has several platforming segments, it is simple as that, however some areas on the map can be hard to access/blocked off, you'll have to check your map often to see where you have to go.
So many paths.....
The game play has made some minor improvements from Nightmare In Dreamland (the remake from Kirby's Adventure for the NES) but partly due to the limitations of the Game Boy Advanced, it still pales in comparison to Kirby Superstar though i still don't see the reason why the abilities were mostly returned to their standard forms (beam loses it's dash barrage and charge up attack etc) though there are a few new abilities into the mix such as Mini Kirby and some abilities were altered such as sword which allows Kirby to use his final cutter attack from Smash Bros. Even cooler is that HAL decided to add some Smash Bros cameo's. Occasionally you will fight Master Hand as a mini boss who drops the smash ability for Kirby which gives Kirby his smash bros move set.
Final Cutter can now be done using the sword.
The game's difficulty just happens to be a tad harder than most Kirby games. The open world can often be confusing to navigate, as the game is not split into levels it is hard to tell whether or not you are making progress and you will often end up in other levels you didn't plan on entering. The bosses can also be pretty tough in this game, particularly the last boss which is quite long and can be quite hard.
Thankfully my ai pals came to the rescue
The music is rather upbeat and quirky, typical fair for a Kirby game. I must say that i never got tired of the rainbow route music (the main hub area that connects the entire map) it is so upbeat and jolly that you will never get tired of hearing it. Overall the music is kinda so-so for Kirby game standards though it does have arguably the most memorable soundtrack... but that's probably just me because it was my first game. Nevertheless, the music definitely isn't bad and you never get tired of hearing the same beats over and over and my god will you have memorized every single song by the end of this game, particularly cabbage cavern's theme (originally appeared in Kirby's Adventure in the forest area), god that song is so funky... and it plays for pretty much half the game, the other half is the rainbow route theme, of course each area has it's own theme also, but by far the most memorable ones have to be two i mentioned.
Kirby And The Amazing Mirror is also the first in the series to feature 4 player co-op... if you have 4 Gameboy Advances and 4 copies of the game. I never got to use this feature though regardless of how many players you have, you will start the game with 4 Kirby's, you control one of them, the rest are ai controlled unless you have a friend with you who can control one of them. The best part about Kirby And The Amazing Mirror's co-op is you can go separate ways, you're not bound together on a single path, you can follow your own path and make your own adventure. If you get stuck you can just call, yes literally call your friend via cell phone and they will instantly teleport to your aid. This works with the ai too. This concept makes me think HAL could make a Kirby MMO someday... or perhaps online co-op, that would be sweet.
Everything's more fun with friends!
Overall, Kirby And The Amazing Mirror offers a great introduction to the series and fans of the series who haven't played it will find something new in it, though it is often overshadowed by the vastly superior Kirby Superstar and Kirby 64, this game deserves praise nonetheless. Oh and if you enjoyed The Great Cave Offensive from Kirby Superstar, this game is a must have as there are tonnes of treasures to be found but this time round, treasure chest contain unlockable items, as well as standard items plus it is very open ended with lots of secret areas.
Lifespan: Quite Long
Would you replay? Yes
Overall Score: Great