OK, so Nintendo has a colorful history of making some…questionable decisions. That’s what everyone expected out of a Kirby game that dropped on September 23rd with no warning, advertisement, and barely so much as a note on social media. It honestly even looked like Nintendo was trying to pop Kirby Fighters 2 out so they could quickly sweep it under the rug and move on to some Christmas time releases. That all said, I think we’ve happened upon what could easily turn into an overnight success.
Have you ever played Smash Bros and thought to yourself, “this needs more Kirby!” Neither did we, but this acid trip of a mash-up might just be the perfect cocktail of…well….just that. It didn’t take long to realize Kirby Fighters 2 seems to be built on a modified Super Smash Bros engine with some eerily familiar mechanics all the way down to Kirbys jump. There’s a total of 22 playable fighters mostly consisting of Kirby in his various abilities, with a select few “buddies” for the true fans like Gooey or Meta Knight.
The game has a rewarding story mode that can eat up a surprising amount of time. I found it loosely reminiscent of Classic mode on Super Smash Bros. Melee with many stages and bosses, just less repetitive perhaps. Outside of being surprisingly enjoyable for a $20 game’s story mode, it will earn you more and more characters as you progress to be used in single or multiplayer mode. To say this game felt the only kind of like a Kirby exclusive expansion to Smash Bros would be an understatement so much so, that I’ve even caught myself forgetting “I can’t choose young link next round” while in battle mode. I mean even the menu feels more like a skin to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate menu.
All of this being said, the Kirby Fighters 2 maintains its own identity. The multiplayer option for the story mode is a great addition to the largely neglected local multiplayer market. The gameplay dances the line of being fun and challenging alongside a kindred gamer, while still allowing the casual quarantine buddy who couldn’t tell an Xbox and Playstation apart in a lineup keep up and enjoy.
Overall, Kirby Fighters 2 is a hands-down must-have if you have a Switch. Between the price ($19.99), surprising depth of content, tried and true mechanics, local multiplayer, and story, this game is for everyone. I won’t stop wondering exactly what Nintendo was thinking with this one, but I’m sure glad they did! What can only be explained as a shameful release, might just end up being a new staple to break up Smash Bros with the boys.
Purchase Kirby Fighters 2 on the Nintendo eShop for $19.99, available now.