It’s time to look at a recent Kirby game for the DS. Kirby is one of those titles where I’ve lost track of how many portable games there are. There are just so many and then you have the remakes and ports to deal with as well. I figured I could at least get a little closer to being caught up with the series though and what better way than with this one? Squeak Squad is one of the shortest Kirby games out there as it’s barely over 2 hours. That means it is the perfect pick to blast through. The gameplay is pretty solid but the length is hard to ignore.
The plot involves Kirby getting ready to eat a nice slice of cake. Unfortunately the cake is snatched away right before his very eyes. It appears that the group known as the Squeaks have stolen it. Kirby makes it his mission to track all of these guys down so he can get his cake. He will have to travel across multiple lands in order to do this, but nothing is going to stop him from getting his meal. I know how good a solid slice of cake can be so it is definitely hard to pass that up. Meanwhile, is there something more sinister at play here?
The story doesn’t move much as you only get a quick cutscene at the start and then for the final few worlds. Still, I’m always glad to see a story of any sort. It may feel rather low stakes but this is Kirby so you know that something will change by the end. Kirby has come to be known as the title with all of the extremely high end cosmic villains by the end and the games do not disappoint with this. As they go on you can always count on some pretty big villains showing up to cause damage and take people down. The final boss here is enough hype being with a cool design. In general the boss fights are pretty solid.
I also expected them to be a walk in the park but 1 in particular was actually a real challenge where I lost some lives. A big thing in the Kirby games is to make sure you have the right power for each situation. If you lose a power then a boss or level can be a lot more difficult than it would have been otherwise. That’s exactly what happened here. I lose my boomerang power so that I could make a space for the chest. Then the cloud boss that showed up was hard to deal with. I kept falling or I would get stunned for a while. The boss design was actually pretty clever and worked quite well to be honest. This was a true threat that just wouldn’t go down very easy. The rest of the bosses were more standard but I was still reasonably impressed with this.
As for the gameplay, it’s your standard Kirby style. You run through a level as you try to get to the goal. A new wrinkle is that you can hold up to 5 items in storage in addition to the ability you already have. This can be pretty handy for sure. You’ll also need those spots because some levels can have up to 3 chests. They each take up a slot so this prevents you from holding more food or special abilities. You don’t actually need to collect all of the chests in this game to clear it, but I wasn’t taking any chances and grabbed half of them during the game. In particular the important ones appear to be the mega chests at the end of a level. These have the potential to carry the Star Brands and you will need those brands in order to access the final worlds. Most of the chests aren’t really hidden during the opening worlds and only get a little more difficult in the second half of the game. I’d say that’s the main thing to be aware of but otherwise you should be good to go.
The levels are a lot shorter than I expected which makes sense for why the game is so short. There are around 50 levels in the game and you don’t have to actually clear all of them. Each level comes with a bonus level that you can skip so most worlds just have 5 levels. Each level shouldn’t take you longer than around 2 minutes to complete if you’re looking for chests. I liked the pocket size of the levels. They’re part of the game’s charm and it makes this game very easy to just pick up and play. The level designs are quite excellent but that’s no surprise.
The graphics are definitely pretty good. I liked the little illustrations we would get to progress the story as well. The artwork was definitely on point and it helped to show that this game had a reasonable budget. The soundtrack is very good. That one has a lot of remixes from previous games and all of the tunes end up feeling pretty iconic. This is definitely more in line with what I would expect from a Nintendo title and they did not disappoint. These tunes are memorable and really get you into the spirit of things.
In terms of replay value there is some although not a whole lot. Completing the whole game with half of the collectibles only took a little over 2 hours. If you go back to get the rest of them then I guess you could maybe stretch this to 4 hours. That’s about it though so I can’t give the game a whole lot of credit for that. 4 hours for 100% completion rate is not really amazing at all but the sheer enjoyment factor of the game will keep this one operating at a positive level. If anything I would just say as a disclaimer that you shouldn’t buy this game for a high price. Make sure you get it for around 15 or something and then it’s a good deal.
Overall, Kirby Squeak Squad was pretty fun. It’s a brief experience but I certainly enjoyed the smooth gameplay and fun plot. This is a game I could recommend to anyone who likes platformers or wants to start the genre. Despite that one boss being a little tricky, the game is pretty easy so it works perfectly as an introduction. After clearing it you’ll be ready for some more adventures and slightly more difficult titles. I have another Kirby game coming up which is supposed to be tougher to complete so I look forward to seeing what challenges that one has in store for me.