Setup & Timing
Kirby Super Star Saga has a semi-complex menu system for the single-player experience, but but both of its Single-Card Download multiplayer options -- which are accessable before entering the single-player menu, are easy and simple to understand. The opening credits sequence is skippable and the download time is the quickest of any game: the download time for the group sub-games is very quick (like all games, the download time varies with the number of connecting guests) and it is under 5 seconds for 2-P Spring Breeze (due to almost no downloading / see below)!!!
Menus & Navigation
The menu system in Kirby Super Star Ultra consists of large, colored options with clearly defined borders that can be accurately tapped. The response to input is always exactly as expected.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
Group Sub-Games: All of the Group Sub-Games are controlled entirely via the touch screen. When there are only two or three humans (hosts and guests combined), game-controlled opponents will fill in the missing spots to ensure there are always four competitors. Sometimes, regardless what difficulty level you're playing at, a game-controlled opponent will have what appears to have unmatchable speed and accuracy, which can be frustating. The controls themselves are very intuitive and effective for the Group Sub-Games.
2-P Spring Breeze: 2-P Spring Breeze is a unique thing. The download takes practically zero time because the game doesn't download to the guest. A picture (with some blinking elements) downloads to each of the guest's screens and, instead, the guest's button inputs download to the host. Basically, the size of 2-P Spring Breeze would have been too large. Also, instant transmission of the enitre flowing game and the host's second-by-second reactions combined would have made two-way transmission of both players' instantaneous reactions pretty much impossible. Instead, it just sends the guest's inputs (direction pad directions, button pushes, attacks, etc.) to the host and the whole thing appears on the host's Nintendo DS system. Both players just have to look on. It's a little odd, but you can get used to it. The guest's controls themselves work with true 100% efficiency and are pretty much identical to the host's controls; the differences are ones trhat make sense, like helpers not having Kirby's ability to inhale.
Category Score: 12.5 / 15
Graphically, Kirby Super Star Ultra is a beautifully designed (re-designed) game. The look of the main game (2-P Spring Breeze) stays true to the original Kirby Super Star and the look of the Group Sub-Games stays true to the original Kirby Super Star and to the other recent games, like Kirby: Squeak Squad. The sound is a combination of music and sound effects. The music for the different features is a combination of classic and updated Kirby melodies, and they sound great. The sound effects are wholly appropriate and make sense. In other words, you'll definitely want the sound on when playing the game. As for the features, there are three new Mini Games and an entire four stage Co-op option for the first portion of the original, classic game. The only thing missing is the ability to leave the Mini Games with the guest(s) as a downloadable Demo like in Kirby: Squeak Squad, even though it almost seemed to be unintentional then.
Kriby Super Star was a fantastic game. Because of all of the updates, Kirby Super Star Ultra is even better. This time around on the Nintendo DS, the pink puff ball provides better Mini Games than were available in Kirby: Squeak Squad, as these provide a challenge and run a little more deep than shallow. The Co-op adventuring is fun -- a little awkward, especially at first, but fun once you get used to it, and it's far better than not having it at all. The team working on Kirby Super Star Ultra did a fantastic job and should be commended. I'm looking forward to more Kirby on the Nintendo DS. In the meantime, this one should keep my regural pink puff ball-sharing needs satisfied.
Moderate game-controlled opponents' skill level based on the selected difficulty level (in the Group Sub-Games).
Allow the Mini Games to be left with the guest(s) as a downloadable Demo.
Extend the two-player Co-op to include the other games in Kirby Super Star Ultra.
Offer Vs Play for the Gourmet Race.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 89 / 100 (a.k.a. 44.5/50)
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