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I've been slooooowly working my way through the Kirby games, but in general I find them to be incredibly easy and boring. I'd tried out the free-to-play Kirby game Team Kirby Clash Deluxe on 3DS when it released in 2017, but progress was slow and it didn't have online multiplayer, and coming near the end of the 3DS's lifespan didn't help matters either. Its port to Switch, Super Kirby Clash, had the benefit of being able to be played on a TV, and it also has easier free-to-play progress (in the original you get far fewer "gem apples", the game's currency, than in the Switch version), along with some additional content apparently.

It was easy to make progress in the game just by signing into it to pick up the daily rewards every time I turned on my Switch, and after dipping into it off and on and enjoying the game I did end up shelling out a few bucks to show my appreciation for the entertainment value. The game has a pretty simple setup. It's basically a series of boss fights with you part of a mandatory team of four, and although local co-op is supported, filling the empty spots with CPUs seems to work fine. You can use the CPU teammates who are provided and are at the same level as you are, or you can "recruit" teammates offline, who may be at a slightly higher (or lower) level. You can also recruit teammates online, in which case their level and equipment are drawn from your friend list and random players online. There's also online co-op, although it's quite a crapshoot. Oftentimes you'll luck out and get matched with someone who's at a way higher level than you are, which will net you a lot of experience points if you're tackling a battle that's above your level, on top of the bonus XP multiplayer you get for playing online. The downside is that because the game relies on peer-to-peer connections, you may experience huge amounts of lag or annoying disconnects.

As for the gameplay itself, you choose from four classes (sword, axe, healer, and beam mage), and the movesets are simple but effective (and presumably closely follow the movesets of those abilities from the mainline games). The bosses, also drawn from the main games, are nicely designed and appear at several different variations of difficulty, although the core approach to defeating them doesn't really change that much from battle to battle. The game uses two stamina systems, one for solo play and one for online play, although it's pretty easy to make progress by bouncing back and forth between the two and earning enough experience to level up, which refills (and extends) both meters. It's not too hard to win each battle, but there are definitely parts where you'll have to grind a lot to reach the suggested level for the next set of battles. The game helps keep you engaged by throwing an onslaught of achievements at you, all of which earn you the in-game currency. Each solo battle has four achievements and each co-op battle has eight, and one of them is almost always to earn the "platinum" ranking. These are purely based on reaching a par speed, and although they're much easier to achieve when you're overlevelled, even then they still requires precision and recognizing the enemies' attacks. Completists will have plenty to keep them occupied, although the game does get repetitive.

Overall Kirby fans will definitely get more out of this game since it references enemies from previous titles, but I still enjoyed the time I spent with it. It's not the deepest or most memorable action game out there, but the aesthetic is as cute as ever (some of Kirby's weapons and armor are particularly awww-inducing), and it's more fun with friends. The free-to-play aspect seems pretty fair on the whole, and although online play with randoms requires a lot of patience, the addition of online multiplayer with friends makes this an obvious upgrade from the 3DS version. I appreciate that this was one of the less mindless Kirby games I've played thus far, although I probably won't really be coming back to it any time soon.


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