Kirby Fighters 2 was a surprise to everyone. Including Nintendo, which accidentally published the game on the eShop earlier than expected: at that point, after being quickly removed from the list, it was made available again along with the launch trailer. The “damage” was now done anyway, so we immediately fly in to see if this second offspring has anything to offer.
How do you describe Kirby Fighters 2 in a nutshell? Simple, take Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, take away the rhythm and variety that sets it apart, replace the roster with Kirby on repeat and that’s it. However, aside from the obvious redundancies, the content that won’t make SSB players scream wonders, and clearly downgraded complexity, this unexpected fighting game has its own voice. For example, there is a wide variety of levels from the different chapters of the series, or the possibility of having an ally on our side that is controlled by another player or by the AI – this is because the battles are largely 2vs2, which is not benefit in its entirety, but when played in company it makes the different sessions enjoyable enough.
Unfortunately, for those used to dealing with Kirby in Super Smash Bros., Kirby Fighters 2’s gameplay doesn’t go beyond a rather superficial level. Each of the characters has a number of basic attacks, depending on its shape, to which moves are added, such as floating or expelling the air against enemies. How clumsy it is to control them is amazing when you think of Kirby’s smoothness in Super Smash Bros., but again, you’re not playing at the same level. Basically this game can be defined as the alternative for anyone who wants Super Smash Bros. a bit too complicated: AI that is very bad both in health and fighting skills (enemies prefer to run across the screen instead of bringing the fight to life) adds the ease of combat to the point of being reduced to a continuous button mash. Items have been introduced to spice things up, but ultimately they are useful for causing chaos or pushing us to victory even faster without providing any real strategic depth.
Most of these battles take place in online / local multiplayer mode, but there is also room for a story mode, which is a climb to the top though as you have to face increasingly challenging battles and not an adventure like we are used to. Considering its non-difficulty setting, it’s clear that Kirby Fighters 2 is a title aimed at a very young audience, yet there is very little and rather tasteless meat in the fire. Multiplayer is focused on 2vs2 clashes but online is undermined by a frequent lag making the games impossible to play. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen too often, but the times it happens, you can’t help but witness the slow (literal) demise of our character. Matchmaking itself can take a few minutes, but that can be spent practicing while the CPU waits.
The battles take place within two minutes and the victory allows us to earn Fighter Points, essential for raising the rank of fighters, allowing us to unlock new content, including new Kirby abilities, levels, stickers and costumes. In short, who has more of it and it has to be said that it gives a little satisfaction to get something new. Also nice is the mechanics that let you, defeated in battle, return in the form of a ghost to try to undermine the fate of the battle; too bad the excessive chaos on the screen makes it difficult to use properly.
As for the story mode, which we’ve already mentioned, there are some interesting twists and certain limitations that will make you turn your nose up. For example, it is not possible to choose a character other than Kirby, although it is possible to be assisted by companions such as Bandana Dee; Additionally, there is a single player mode that allows us to play as Kirby as one of the five available characters, so this limitation in the story path is a bit upset. Finally, it’s not possible to change Kirby or the companion for the entire course of a chapter: once chosen, you’ll have to settle for those characters until the end of the chapter.
Overall, Kirby Fighters 2 looks like the offshoot of a more extensive adventure: secondary content that could have gone well with a main game, while not offering enough gameplay variety on its own. It’s all too easy, even for the target audience that would have the game in mind, and while in the eyes of historical fans, it offers some memorable glimpses in the form of stages where they offer fun commemorations to other games, it’s just flat surfaces on which platforms float where combat and incidental hazards add to the confusion. If the fight had been more manageable, we would have turned a blind eye to certain aspects in all of this: unfortunately, even the latter does not show up well with that lightness and fluidity typical of Kirby, which is reduced to a slow and clumsy character, even with the different attacks available – even if you’ll use at least the same ones in the momentum of button stomping.
Kirby Fighters 2 is the simplistic answer to the difficulties Super Smash Bros. can represent for less hardcore players. The experience is very similar, but it may differ too much, also in terms of gameplay. Kirby is slower and clunkier than its SSB counterpart and there are some lag issues in online multiplayer, making matches unplayable if they do. Apart from the unlockable content, the game offers little else, be it multiplayer, story mode, or single player mode: it can be with friends for a few hours, but after a first moment it becomes redundant.
Kirby Fighters 2 is mainly aimed at fans or younger gamers, but even then the game offers too little to keep you entertained for a long time. Smash Bros. fans may find this game too little to satisfy their fighting hunger.