Previews// Kirby Squeak Squad (DS)

Crouching Kirby, Hidden Treasures.

Posted 7 Nov 2006 15:00 by
One of the many great things about Kirby Canvas Curse was that it managed successfully to integrate stylus control with a traditional style of game: the 2D platformer. So, we were initially a bit disappointed to find that Kirby Squeak Squad, instead of running with the Canvas Curse template, regresses to old skool d-pad-controlled Kirby gameplay.

There is some touchscreen action here, but much of it is based in distracting mini-games (which we’ll come to later). For the most part, Squeak Squad is just a very good platformer with a daft central premise: King Dedede steals Kirby’s “sweet, sweet” strawberry cake, which enrages The Pink One to the point where he sets out to retrieve that fine dessert from Dedede’s sticky fngers. So no, it’s not quite Resident Evil 4.

The first few stages of Squeak Squad seemed a bit too easy for our liking, but then we realised that, like Super Mario World or Super Mario 64, this is a game which you can complete quite quickly but which takes a long time to actually complete.

There are three treasure chests hidden (and sometimes not hidden, just left out in the open) in most levels, totalling 120 throughout the entire game. It’s possible to see the end of Kirby SS (like our snappy initialising?) in about seven or eight hours – at least, that’s how long it took us to get there – but we finished with less than half of the available 120 chests. And we’re glad to report that these chests aren’t mere tokens of which you can make macho boasts in your ‘hood (“Yeah, well, I finished Kirby Squeak Squad with all 120 chests, yo”); no, they actually contain treasures and a few Easter eggs too.

In the Collection room, which is accessible from the world map and/or main menu screen, you can enjoy all the treasures you’ve accumulated: change Kirby’s skin colour to something less porcine, listen to the game’s banging tunes in Sound Test, alter the pattern of Kirby’s stomach lining (really!) or simply gaze in wonderment at the trophies/keys/stars you’ve amassed since beginning your journey to have your cake and eat it.

While you’re still thinking of Kirby’s intestines, we should mention that access to Kirby’s bowels (in a completely non-sexual way, you understand) is Squeak Squad ’s major new feature. The upper screen is used exclusively to display Kirby’s world, while the touchscreen shows Kirby’s innards. Kirby’s stomach can hold up to five items at once, including as many as three treasure chests – the benefits of obesity! But the clever part is this: you can mix items to forge new powers.

There doesn’t seem to be a great amount of logic behind the results of combinations, so it’s not that clever, but when you have two unnecessary items and need another that you don't have, it’s worth blending powers because they may deliver what you need. And in more desperate situations, specifically when you don’t want to see a ‘Game Over’ message and have to restart a level – it’s possible to blend some power-ups into extra lives. Anyway, you can tickle Kirby’s guts.
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