Review: Metal

Ability : Metal

Title : Kirby Squeak Squad

Reviewer : Mrgameandpie

While Kirby music has tended to stay with genres that would evoke a joyous, light-hearted feel, a variety of tracks have strayed from this trend throughout the series. Today, we'll be looking at the few songs in the series that could be put within the metal genre and...

Wait, wait what? You're saying this is for the Metal ability!? Oh well that's totally different.

While the Metal ability proper had its first introduction, and only true appearance, in Kirby Squeak Squad, it would be remiss to talk about this ability without discussing a moment in the anime first. For a portion of the anime's four-part finale, Kirby used a quartet of fan-submitted abilities. Baton and Top have, so far, remained exclusive to the anime, Water would later go on to become a full ability in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and the Iron ability is the one we have come to discuss. Iron was presented as a better iteration of Stone, featuring Kirby starting off in an Egyptian-style outfit with a snake themed crown. After deflecting some attacks with his iron staff, he proceeded to transform into a gigantic iron version of himself and roll over the opposition, nothing standing in his way. While the name of the ability changed on its way to Squeak Squad, and the yellow coloration of Iron was replaced with a gray color, there is no doubt in my mind that the Metal ability was heavily inspired by this anime-specific ability, especially given the various anime references already present in the game.

When using Metal, Kirby is always in his metallic state. He walks and flies at a much slower speed than normal, and can't swim upwards at all, but this is all for a very worthwhile trade-off. Metal Kirby is completely invulnerable to harm. Technically the ability does come with a few moves, but they're all irrelevant with this revelation. The feeling of power slowly plowing through all who try to stand in your way is unparalleled. Unfortunately, the copy ability scroll for this power is very underwhelming, Kirby smooths out his jagged edges to become a perfect metal ball, allowing Kirby to quickly roll down hills like Stone normally does. It is nice to be able to move a little faster in specific locations, but this is hardly a regular occurrence. The only other move the ability has is a ground pound, and the only reason to use it is to break objects like metal blocks.

Unfortunately, Metal does have a single weakness. Major opponents like bosses and mini-bosses ignore Metal's invulnerability. Due to Kirby's severely limited mobility and the lack of range on his ground pound attack, fighting any large foe becomes a near-impossibility. In this way, Metal could be seen as a counterpoint to Stone. Usually Stone is rather cumbersome to use in stages, but consistently one of the best boss fighters in the series, a complete inverse of what we see with Metal. Of course, Squeak Squad is a rare instance of a Kirby game that does not feature Stone whatsoever, making it impossible to ever team these two abilities up. Metal appearing specifically in Squeak Squad also brings with it another major issue. For most Kirby games, mini-bosses are not especially common, and in those games one could likely bring Metal through quite a few levels at a time before coming to an opponent who could stop the mechanical menace. However, in Squeak Squad, every level has at least one room where the player will find a large treasure chest and challenge one of the titular Squeak Squad. While the Squeak Squad do have some properties that differ from regular mini-bosses, one thing that doesn't change is that they're still able to pierce Kirby's metal shell. Because of this, the only reliable way to consistently abuse Metal's invincibility is to ignore the big chests and the Squeaks entirely.

The Metal ability has one thing going for it: its invulnerability makes most stages an afterthought as far as difficulty is concerned. It can let even little kids safely pass through tougher sections of the game, certainly an appropriate mechanic given the target demographic for the series. However, its ability to be hurt by anything above the rank of a regular enemy severely limits its overall usefulness, and its emphasis on taking the game slowly is a sharp contrast to how the series has progressively gotten more fast paced with time. It would seem this ability was just too heavy for the series to handle, and was dropped to the side, perhaps never to be seen again.

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Last Updated - July 13, 2017