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Start Your Rollers!

Kirby: Mixing Old with New

By Chad Serrant

Staff Writer

Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble (Nintendo)

Rated E for Everyone


This game brings back memories. It reminds me of the old days when it was just you, the end of the stage, and a lot of retries. But there are two major differences. For one thing, it’s on a Game Boy Color. For another, there’s a motion sensor device! Do you know what this means?

This game is rad to the max!

In this Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, our round pink hero Kirby has to recover all of the lost stars from his home planet, Popstar. Kirby acts as a ball in this game, and the game has an overhead camera angle. The motion sensor device can detect how far you have tilted your Game Boy. This means you can tilt your Game Boy slightly forward, and Kirby will roll downhill. If you point it at the floor, Kirby takes a nose dive. You can also tilt him to the side and he’ll move there. If you quickly “pop” the Game Boy towards you, Kirby will jump.

The real fun of the game is that Kirby is set in stages where careful aim and timing is required. There are several areas, for example, where Kirby has to move in a circular motion to hit several switches in a limited amount of time so he can reach a platform that will catapult him over a bed of spikes. There are other stages where Kirby has to move over several small islands, and you have to time his jumps properly. This is the meat of the game. It will undoubtedly remind old-school gamers of when games weren’t about flashy graphics or cool 3-D models; they were about failing time and time again until you had so much skill you could beat the game in ten minutes with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back. You owned the game, and you were damn proud of it.

Anyone who has ever played Contra, Megaman, Super Mario Brothers, R-Type, or any other “keep losing ‘till you conquer it” game will remember. But in Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, you get a lot of extra lives (I had 30 lives when I was in stage 2-1) so you don’t have to annoyingly restart the game at every turn.

This isn’t as easy as the games you’ll find in the realm of 3-D, and that’s a good thing. Instead of just wowing you with good graphics, Kirby’s Tilt ‘n’ Tumble will force you to think. If you go too fast, you’ll make careless errors and fall off the edge. But each stage is timed (yes, a timer that shouldn’t be there due to story! Go Ninja Gaiden!) so you can’t just sit there. Kirby gets mad when he runs out of time.

The graphics are great, as far as Game Boy games go. Everything is bright, cheery, and recognizable. There is a lot of animation as well (it’s amazing how many frames it takes to rotate Kirby once.) The checkered floor look common in every Kirby game is here too, so it’s fun to see that they kept the Kirby theme intact.

The game also shows closeups of his face in between stages. His various facial expressions range from happy to intrigued, and that was fun to see (albeit a bit scary).

Many people don’t listen to Game Boy’s sounds, but I’m happy HAL laboratories didn’t skimp on the music. The music is happy and cheerful yet encouraging as usual in Kirby’s lands. Kirby also has several synthesized voices in the game, from his universal “Hiiii!” to the strange grumble he makes whenever he loses a life (don’t forget the sound of his yell whenever he falls off a cliff).

I recommend this game to everyone who has a Game Boy Color. It makes good use out of its new motion sensor device while it forces the gamer to use old school-style guerrilla tactics to survive. Resurrect the old NES game fanatic you used to be, or just abuse the new motion device. It will be one of the greatest experiences you will have on the Game Boy Color.