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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Helper-To-Hero Gets It Right

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - How to properly make clearing the same sequence with several characters less repetitive and exhausting.

Earlier here on KoopaTV I said I'd write an article about how much Helper-To-Hero added value to Kirby Super Star Ultra compared to Kirby Super Star. Well, this is that article. I kept my word! To those who don't know, this remake-exclusive mode lets you play as a Helper character (one for each Copy Ability) as you go through a boss rush.

Presenting your cast of characters. That Bonkers time is crap, by the way.

Look at that screenshot above. Twenty different Helpers. And only one difficulty mode.

Compare this to Super Smash Bros. Brawl. You're expected to clear Classic Mode, All-Star Mode, Target Test, Multi-Man Brawl, Boss Battles, and Home-run Contest. You're required to beat Classic Mode with all characters, All-Star Mode with all characters, Target Test on all five difficulties with all characters, 100-Man Brawl with all characters, Boss Battles with all characters, and play Home-run Contest with all characters to get all of the trophies. There are over 35 playable characters in Brawl!

You may think, "well that's a lot of content!" No, it's fake content. It's fake length. Have you done all that yourself? I have. And it sure doesn't feel like I'm having fun with all of these different Nintendo characters. It feels extremely grind-y. And of course you want to do everything on Very Easy mode because you don't want to accidentally die and have to do everything over again. You just want to get this OVER WITH ALREADY.

The Sakurai checklist from HELL.

While Brawl presents a very boring experience, Kirby Super Star Ultra rises above to provide a truly enjoyable experience. For one, you only have to beat it once with one helper to get full percentage completion on your game file. But for those who want to go beyond, beating it with everyone gets you a ribbon and a special movie with Kirby Super Star cutscenes.

And it's not a grind-y experience because all of the characters actually feel and play legitimately differently. They don't share the same type of movesets at all, unlike in Brawl. The fact there is only one difficulty mode means you can't cheese your way through. You have to legitimately have an adequate handling on every power in the game to succeed, along with a close understanding of the boss mechanics. It's a test of skill that is higher than the True Arena, because this is the only mode in the game that keeps track of going through the mode with a particular power.

And if you're interested in leaderboarding and beating your own records, Kirby Super Star Ultra offers that. Tracking my improvement with every character is something I became interested in, so I actually have beaten the mode several times with every character. Of course I like some characters/powers more than others (Bugzzy!) and some powers are more difficult to clear with than others (Sir Kibble is quite weak), but that adds to the variety. Because the character changes everything.

So to sum up, I play Helper-to-Hero with every character because I want to, while going through the shitfest that is Brawl's "clear with all characters in every mode" is because I have to. And it'd only get worse if the roster is expanded. Helper-to-Hero adds enormous value to the remake because Kirby Super Star just didn't take full advantage of making you attached in some way to every Copy Ability.

Ludwig is slacking on keeping fully up-to-date with the Kirby Super Star community on Miiverse but now that he wrote this he'll be a better lurker. If you make a post there, he might read it! If you tell him to, he'll comment on it!

Ludwig has a much better Helper-To-Hero time for Bonkers in this article, which also discusses how great a port Kirby Super Star Ultra is.
It's interesting to think about Kirby Super Star Ultra vs. Super Smash Bros. Brawl in terms of subtractive design.

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