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  • 8.8: IGN gave this game a 6/10. Fans were NOT amused, claiming IGN is "biased against Nintendo" and "unreliable". The fact that the reviewer went on to say that no one over the age of twelve should get this game only made fans even more angry. Weirdly, just a month before, the same writer posted a preview that made similar comments about how it's a kiddy game but said that that isn't and shouldn't be a problem for people.
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  • Anticlimax Boss: Queen Sectonia's final form fought with Hypernova, which only has two laughably easy-to-dodge attacks. Justified as it's played as a resolution, not a climax (as Kirby has beaten her the normal way before this).
  • Awesome Music: As usual.
    • "Beautiful Prison," which plays in Stage 5 of Royal Road, where Kirby is rescuing the People of the Sky. It sounds like something right out of The Legend of Zelda and Kingdom Hearts, and it works. It also just happens to be Queen Sectonia's Leitmotif.
    • The final secret level's theme, a remix of the Fountain of Dreams. This specific arrangement was first heard in Kirby Air Ride.
    • There is a remix of the Ripple Star theme from 64. Fittingly, it is used for this game's mini-boss rush.
    • "Mountains in an Angry Sky" includes dubstep. It works surprisingly well in conveying the theme of a hostile and dangerous volcanic landscape.
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    • Not only are there well done remixes of music from the other Kirby games (such as the EX Stage Mini-boss music being the boss music from Kirby Super Star, Kirby Fighters using Coo and Rick's themes from Dream Land 2 in a stage, and Dark Meta Knight getting his theme from Amazing Mirror when he Turns Red), but much of the original music is just as great, getting more catchy as you progress further into the game. It helps that Triple Deluxe's soundtrack seems to have a bit more variety of music than Return to Dream Land did, which is saying something.
    • The game features a good portion of Return to Dream Land 's soundtrack reused for the EX stages, most notably its remixes of Kine's theme, Grape Garden, the Super Star boss theme, and King Dedede's theme. It even features an all new remix of Return 's first stage, Cookie Country.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
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    • The Big Bad of the game, Queen Sectonia. Some think she's an interesting villain and a departure from the usual Dark Is Evil Kirby villain, not to mention that she's a Dark Action Girl, but some don't like her because she doesn't show up until the very end of the game and comes off as less developed than most villains (nearly all of her backstory is only told through boss descriptions). Additionally, while nearly everyone considers her first fight to be the among the best in the game, the actual Final Boss portion (where she fuses with the Dreamstalk) is another story; for some, it's a unique, beautiful fight that works as a good contrast to Magolor's fight in the previous game, but for others, it feels unexciting because you only fight Sectonia's flower-eyes without ever landing a hit on her, with less dramatic attacks and a more annoying platform layout.
    • The True Final Boss of the True Arena, Soul of Sectonia after ripping herself from the Dreamstalk, is either a cool throwback to the soul forms of Drawcia, Marx, and Magolor, or a disappointing finale whose lack of original attacks make for a forgettable experience.
  • Best Boss Ever:
    • Flowery Woods is this for players expecting the usual Whispy Woods fare, only to get caught up in a surprisingly difficult, spectacular first boss by the series standards.
    • Paintra if you're a fan of Canvas Curse, since her fight is one big Call-Back to Drawcia.
    • It's generally agreed that Queen Sectonia has one of the best first stage fights for a Kirby final boss, if only due to badass choreography and music.
  • Critical Dissonance: Among fans, this is one of the top platformers for the 3DS. The critics gave it less enthusiastic (but still positive) scores because It's Easy, So It Sucks!.
  • Ending Fatigue: Royal Road is considered by many to be a weak final world for this reason. While Dangerous Dinner from the previous game was a deliberately shorter world leading up to the finale, and Access Ark from the next game keeps introducing new foes, puzzles, and environments, Royal Road is just long. Three of its stages are some of the most expansive in the game (and two of them contain substantial Hypernova segments), while the other two consist of reused bosses, and there's two long bonus levels as well. There's not quite enough variance in environments to counteract the length, but the levels are still enjoyable and the final boss sequence is considerably shorter than Return to Dream Land's.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Paintra, who has quite a bit of fan art due to her cool and unique design.
    • Taranza is popular, mostly from him having a cool design, being a Tragic Monster that lead to Queen Sectonia causing everything purely from just trying to give her a gift, as well as pulling a Heel–Face Turn to help out Kirby.
  • Even Better Sequel: To Kirby's Return to Dream Land. Although it ditches four-player co-op, it makes up for it by adding in a better Limit Break in the form of Hypernova, which, unlike the Super Abilities of that game, actually requires more skill to solve puzzles with it, instead of the "Press 1 for One-Hit Kill" that those were. It brings back the fan-favorite Wheel ability and introduces other creative Copy Abilities, like Bell. The bosses were vastly improved, with much more intricate attack patterns. Also, Kirby Fighters is widely regarded as one of the best minigames in the entire franchise, to the point it was later released as a standalone game.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Taranza/Queen Sectonia, even though it ends really badly for the former. Still, the fanart is staggering for an innocent series like Kirby. It probably doesn't help that subsequent games still have Taranza treating her as his own Lost Lenore, making this pairing at least one-sidedly canon on his part.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Hammer, as usual, for its high damage output (especially with Hammer Flip) and generous invincibility frames.
    • The Beetle ability makes all other weapon-based abilities like Sword and Spear redundant as all of its attacks (even its rapid-fire combo attack) do a massive amount of damage coupled with generous invincibility frames. It can even smash in pegs like Stone and Hammer, cut ropes like Sword and Cutter, its flight damages enemies, and it can use powerful grappling moves like Suplex from earlier games, making it overshadow other abilities even more.
    • The Stone ability, just like the previous games. Considering it has both massive offensive and defensive capabilities, to the point where you can transform right in front of an enemy, hit them multiple times for huge damage as you're changing, and be fully invincible after you finish your transformation. The best part is the fact that you stay invincible until you choose to return to your normal form. This means you can attack bosses and wait for them to move away from you with absolutely no fear of taking recoil damage and eventually take away all of their health. Even the Final Boss, The Arena, and especially The True Arena can be beaten easily using this power.
    • Archer makes a lot of boss battles a walk in the park. Its arrows, when charged to the maximum, rival the Hammer in terms of power, have excellent range, and if that weren't enough, the ability includes an evasive maneuver that makes Kirby immune to damage akin to Leaf's guard (by crouching). Its only disadvantage is that it makes for a poor close-range ability, but its potential to let you snipe enemies from a safe distance clearly outweighs its cons. Kirby Fighters noticeably tones it down, however, with the arrows taking far longer to charge and there being a slight delay on going into the invincibility camouflage.
    • Although the Hi-Jump ability itself is gone, it got incorporated into the Circus Ability as a trampoline bounce. You have a temporary window of invincibility while you use it and if you use the button combinations correctly, you can slice through bosses, especially those from the True Arena.
  • Goddamned Boss: Pyribbit isn't a terribly hard boss, but compared to the bosses that came before and bosses to come, he spends the most time sitting in the background, invincible, only coming onto land for one or two attacks before jumping back, and he'll do this even more often once he Turns Red. The DX version is even worse, with new attacks that all take place in the background, spending even less time in the foreground, and the existing attacks coming up much faster and leaving the ground on fire to keep you from setting up attacks.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The first stage in Old Odyssey has you using the Hypernova ability to suck up giant turnips and spit them back at giant birds called Gigant Chicks. Then came Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, where battles with a giant bird named Wingo involved throwing giant turnips at it.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Though the post-game can be quite challenging, the main campaign is pretty much a walk in the park, which hurt this game's reception among critics.
  • It Was His Sled: Someone named Queen Sectonia exists and Taranza has a very good reason to be The Woobie.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Queen Sectonia blasting Taranza out of the tower as punishment for his failure to do away with Kirby and responding to his Et Tu, Brute? line saying that she has no use for a "fool who cannot follow orders". It's even lampshaded by the pause-screen description for Soul of Sectonia, which states that "a voice once called out to her but it has since fallen silent".
    • While a generic villain in his first appearance, Dark Meta Knight sets himself apart in the backstory by being the one who corrupted Sectonia, leading to her own Horizon crossing.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • Carried over from Super Smash Bros., Kirby's "Hiiiiiii!"
    • The 1-up sound.
    • The sound that plays when you get a Sun Stone — it's a remix of the first 10 notes of the Green Greens theme.
  • Narm: The Death Glare Kirby gives Queen Sectonia at the end of the game is probably supposed to be dramatic... but it's a bit ruined by Kirby's pudgy, full-mouthed appearance at the time.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Paintra's inhuman giggling can be rather unsettling.
    • The look of sheer horror on an enormous eel's face upon getting caught in a Hypernova gust and its frantic struggle to break free. While it's obviously supposed to be played for laughs, there's something quite disturbing in watching Kirby swallow it whole as it desperately tries and fails to escape.
    • The monster piano from Super Mario 64 returns with a vengeance in stage 4-3. The rather detailed gums and tongue don't help matters.
    • Soul of Sectonia's scream when Kirby defeats her in the True Arena. It sounds like she's in utter agony, and her frantic twitching doesn't help either.
    • The official soundtrack release of Sectonia's theme, Sullied Grace, abruptly includes a full half minute of just her laughing in an increasingly giddy fashion, and ends with the sound of her defeat. It's likely to catch anyone listening to it off-guard the first time.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • This isn't the first Kirby game to have background enemies, that first happened in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. This is, however, the first time that Kirby has moved in a 3 dimensional environment outside of a racing game (even if only because of the Warp Stars).
    • This isn't the first game where there's an archery-based Copy Ability. Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards had the Burn/Needle combo that let Kirby shoot fiery arrows, while Kirby & the Amazing Mirror introduced the Angel/Cupid ability, which attacked primarily with a bow.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: "Kirby Fighters". Who can resist using an ability to fight other Kirbys with their own abilities? HAL even developed it as a standalone eShop version: Kirby Fighters Deluxe.
  • Surprise Difficulty:
    • In Dededetour!, enemies are more plentiful, quite a few of them are bigger and stronger than normal, and the bosses have been buffed with new, stronger attacks. Underestimating this mode's difficulty will destroy you, especially the last few bosses.
    • Dedede's Drum Dash can be pretty difficult, since 100% completion requires Gold Medals on the regular three levels and the completion of a Brutal Bonus Level.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Some Copy Abilities in Kirby Fighters are just bad. Notoriously, Ninja and Archer, both of which are Game Breakers in the game proper, were nerfed to the ground in Fighters. They take roughly as much effort to master as Fighter, while having only a measly fraction of the possible DPS.
  • That One Attack:
    • Coily Rattler has an attack where he waits at the top of the screen for a few seconds and then lunges for you if you stay in the same place too long. If he grabs you, he drags you through the background for loads of damage and then spits you at the wall for even more damage. He will repeat this attack several times until he hits you, stopping at about five or so.
    • Pyribbit, once he Turns Red, immediately jumps to the background and summons three waves of giant lava pillars. These are very difficult to dodge — one variant has a tiny gap about Kirby's width, the second has a gap to the left and right sides, and the last one has no gaps but can be avoided by flying over. If one hits you, it'll drag you off the screen and drop you off, which will cause you to drop your ability. Pyribbit DX amps up the annoyance on these attacks. The first two waves sink down and disappear, while the last one has a gap in the wave but constantly moves back and forth.
    • The vines attack that Sectonia (both normal and Soul) deploys. It aims at you for a few seconds, and then comes at you at a blink of an eye.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Dedede's Drum Dash has a hidden fourth level, which can only be unlocked by playing the first three levels flawlessly, in order to obtain the respective Gold Medals.
    • The game has 256 keychains to collect, which offer no purpose but are a nice throwback to previous games in the series. Unfortunately, the keychains obtained at the end of the level are random, and it' possible to obtain more than one copy of the same keychain, meaning 100% completion requires absurd grinding.
    • Upon beating the Arena minigame, The True Arena is unlocked, which forces Kirby to defeat stronger versions of all the bosses with much weaker healing items.
  • Unexpected Character: Dark Meta Knight, the Dragon from Amazing Mirror, is the final boss of the extra mode and, if Word of God is anything to go by, the true villain of the game.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The game looks very, very nice, with crisp models and a wonderful art style. And it's enhanced even further with the 3D feature.
  • The Woobie: Taranza's Undying Loyalty for Queen Sectonia is "rewarded" with a blast to the face. Word of God further reveals that the entire game happened simply because he gave Sectonia a gift that he couldn't know was possessed by Dark Meta Knight.
  • Woobie Species: The People Of The Sky were enslaved by Queen Sectonia for a long time and likely woud've never been saved had Kirby not been lead to them.
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