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Kirby Star Allies (sometimes written Kirby: Star Allies), known in Japan as 星のカービィ スターアライズ (Hoshi no Kabi: Sutā Araizu, meaning Kirby of the Stars: Star Allies), is a game in the Kirby series, set to be released on March 16, 2018 worldwide. It is the first game in the series for the Nintendo Switch.
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In a part of space far away from Planet Popstar, countless Dark Hearts scatter as a result of a mysterious ritual. Many of them fall down to Dream Land, where they turn anyone they touch evil. When one dissolves into Kirby, however, it grants him the ability to throw hearts that befriend anyone they touch. He notices some Waddle Dees carrying a large amount of food to King Dedede's Castle, which has become surrounded by dark clouds. Kirby sets off to investigate this mysterious phenomenon.
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Kirby Star Allies is a traditional platformer Kirby game, in which the player controls Kirby, whose objective is to get to the end of each stage through the use of Copy Abilities. Kirby retains his traditional moves; the Inhale, Star Spit, Slide attack, Air Gun, and floating.
The game is a 2.5D platformer, meaning that the characters move on a two-dimensional plane in a 3D environment.
Two game mechanics return from previous installments of the Kirby series; those of Mix abilities (from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and Kirby: Squeak Squad, though in this game they are called Friend Abilities) and Helpers (from Kirby Super Star and its remake, though they are here referred to as "friends"). In a manner similar to the mechanic shown in the trailer for the unreleased Kirby GCN, there can be four player-controlled or CPU-controlled friends at one time. Kirby can throw a Friend Heart at certain types of enemies in order to turn it into a friend by using the X button; friends can also throw Friend Hearts in order to change their ability. Even if Kirby has no friends, another player can join, taking Kirby's current ability similarly to the helper mechanic in previous games; Kirby can also turn a friend into an ability item by performing "Unfriend," which replaces the Drop Ability function if Kirby has none; this can also be achieved by throwing a Friend Heart at an enemy while already having three friends, and opting to cancel the action instead of replacing one of them. Friends can assist Kirby in multiple ways, allowing for combo moves such as creating a circular formation that allows them to roll ahead in certain areas. The player can also mix Friend Abilities by holing up on the analog stick and having a partner using an attack on the player's character.
Additionally, there are two sub-games separate from the main game. They are small, competitive sub-games that also support up to four players at once. Star Slam Heroes is a timing-based game strongly reminiscent of Megaton Punch, where Kirbys power up a flaming baseball bat and attempt to smack a meteor the farthest distance. Chop Champs sees players using Joy-Con motion commands to try to chop as much wood as possible with their Kirby within a time limit, while avoiding bugs and Gordos.
The game will feature 28 standard Copy Abilities, as well as the ability to mix certain abilities together into Friend Abilities, similarly to how mixing abilities worked in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards and Kirby: Squeak Squad. Abilities in italics are new, abilities in bold can be imbued with an element to become a Friend Ability.
During Story Mode, the player can scan an amiibo. The Dedede, Kirby, Meta Knight, Qbby, and Waddle Dee amiibo can be used to get treasures.
This game greatly resembles the first attempt at Kirby GCN, a cancelled game for the Nintendo GameCube. It resembles Kirby's Return to Dream Land as well, though this is because Kirby GCN was reworked into Kirby's Return to Dream Land.
Helpers can be mixed with abilities themselves, a first for the series. This was seen in the portion of the trailer with Whispy Woods.
Helpers reflect the colors of the player playing them. Any helpers who are player 2 are yellow, helpers who are player 3 are blue, and helpers who are player 4 are green. This concept is reused from Kirby GCN.
This is the first Kirby game to be localized into Chinese, in both Traditional and Simplified forms.
For unknown reasons, when the official Nintendo website lists Kirby Star Allies in a recommended games section, it states the release date of the game is June 30, 2018. This is incorrect, as the January 11 Nintendo Direct confirmed the actual release date to be March 16, 2018.
Kirby Star Allies is the fourth Kirby game to have an E10+ ESRB rating.
On January 27, 2018, the My Nintendo rewards program released a Kirby Star Allies-themed calendar for the month of February. It was discovered to be a January calendar, as the month had 31 days instead of 28, and Valentine's Day was marked as the second Sunday of the month rather than the second Wednesday. This mistake was corrected shortly after.
When the official Japanese website of Kirby Star Allies launched on February 14, 2018, the URL initially misspelled the game's title as "Star Arise." This was corrected shortly afterwards, and the misspelled URL now redirects to the correct one. (The English words "Allies" and "Arise" have the same spelling in katakana.