Wednesday 9 March 2022

Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble (Game Boy Color review)

Developer: HAL Laboratory, Nintendo R&D2
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 2001

Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble is a platform game that uses the cartridge's built-in tilt sensors.

It consists of eight worlds (with four courses each) and your mission is to reclaim the stars of Dreamland that were stolen by the evil King Dedede. You control Kirby by tilting the console as he rolls around the levels, while flicking the handheld upwards causes you to jump. Button A is action-based allowing you to shoot when flying or paddle when on a raft. The amount of gameplay variety on offer is stunning, as while one minute you'll be travelling over land, the next you'll be airborne shooting down enemies, before shortly entering a castle with minor puzzle elements. The latter are especially interesting, as the concept of collecting keys to open locked doors in this particular scenic setting is very reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda (1987, NES) and it's a really fun throwback that works well. The controls are surprisingly responsive, and while they can be a little sensitive at times, using the built-in motion capabilities makes for a more immersive and unique experience. Saying that, tilting the console away from your line of sight can be problematic and this is no more apparent than when you have to flick upwards to jump as it temporarily obscures your vision until the handheld is back at eye level. Also, the bosses are underwhelming and unlike the preceding action stages each battle is fought in almost exactly the same way. On a plus though, there are five entertaining mini-games that make great use of the tilt sensors, and the cartridge includes three save slots.

Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble features highly engaging gameplay and the tilt controls are well implemented and feel vital rather than gimmicky. Additionally, the level design is sublime and it's a credit to the developers that they managed to constantly surprise players with new ideas, even deep into the adventure.

Random trivia: In 2001, a sequel called Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble 2 was announced for the Nintendo GameCube, but was ultimately cancelled.

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