Review: Bomb

Ability : Wheel

Title : Kirby's Adventure, Kirby Super Star, Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, Kirby Triple Deluxe, Kirby: Planet Robobot

Reviewer : Mrgameandpie

The wheel is often seen as one of mankind's earliest major innovations. While time has certainly improved the technology of the wheel in a variety of ways, its core elements have remained much the same. In this way, Kirby's Wheel ability follows a very similar evolution as the real life wheel has!

Wheel was first available in Kirby's Adventure. Yep, the moment copy abilities were introduced, Kirby obtained the power of rolling around. But not just rolling around at any speed, no, he rolled about exceptionally fast! Even, perhaps, at the speed of sound! In any case, Wheel was easily the fastest method of travel in the game, allowing the player to barrel through enemies and obstacles without a second thought. At least, until you hit a wall. This was Wheel's main weakness, as fast as it could move horizontally, the best vertical capability it had was falling. No jumping allowed. Its second weakness was perhaps even more dangerous though. While going straight forward would provide Kirby with a reasonable amount of invulnerability, turning around would create a moment of time where Kirby could be hit as easily as ever. Considering most bosses and mini-bosses had a tendency to stay right up against the walls of any given room, fighting major opponents with this power was nearly impossible. Despite its incredible speed, its other mobility and combat weaknesses relegated it to specific sections designed with Wheel in mind.

Its next appearance would be in Kirby Super Star, and it operated mostly the same. The player could now slow down with a brake command, but this meant little, and turning repeatedly could make Kirby do a little hop, but this couldn't be effectively used to scale walls or cliffs as the hop was far too small. However, Super Star's helper mechanic was used to great effect with this ability, like no other ability in the game. The Wheelie Rider could, as its name would imply, be ridden by Kirby! While riding this helper, Kirby had access to the Wheel ability as it normally operated but with one major twist: the Rider could jump while rolling at its high speeds! On top of that, if one were playing multiplayer, the player using the helper would control the Wheel ability while the Kirby player could fire off stars. This added jumping capability would be a major help to the ability, but even so it still didn't really shine in locations not specifically dedicated to Wheel.

The next time the ability showed up was in the anime. Bizarrely, the series had two stories where Dedede held a race. In both stories, Kirby would wipe out and inhale a wheel to obtain the Wheel ability, zoom past all opposition, and proceed to not win the race regardless.

Back to the games again, Amazing Mirror gave the ability a slight tweak in that Kirby would be able to jump on his own. Given that partners were, for a long time, exclusive to Super Star this was really the only way to keep that game's improvements. Squeak Squad added another minor element with its ability scroll, allowing Kirby to pick up certain elements while in wheel form. Running over lava or fire would set the wheel on fire, allowing it to burn more things. Running over snow or ice would give the wheel ice properties, freezing any water it ran over. Running over electricity would give it electric properties, causing sparks when it ran over metal or water.

For a long time, it seemed like Wheel had reached its final form. However, that all changed when Triple Deluxe showed up. This game added a whole slew of new moves, holding down while in wheel form would stop Kirby, allowing him to charge up and proceed to launch himself forward at even higher speeds than before! While in the air the player could press down twice to have Kirby launch himself straight down. As great as these additions sound, and they are great, they're minor compared to the unseen buff this ability was granted. Previously mentioned was a move where Kirby would do a small hop if the player turned left and right repeatedly. This move would become the power's trump card in all combat situations. Kirby was now completely invulnerable during these hops, and they could be chained infinitely without ceasing. While bounding back and forth, nothing could damage Kirby, and he could still shimmy slightly side to side if need be. Using this technique, one could go through the Arena and True Arena with no threat whatsoever! Well, almost. Many bosses in Triple Deluxe had endless pits in their arenas. As such, a player would need to be very careful during such battles, or else they could easily hop straight into their death!

This brings us to Wheel's final appearance so far. Kirby Planet Robobot brought back the Triple Deluxe iteration of wheel without any changes to the ability, every game breaking technique present there stayed, and even became more powerful in some respects as none of the new bosses brought about endless pits in their arenas, making the bouncing method even more safe than ever before! One new addition was still made, however, through the game's gimmick of the robobot armor. It, too, had a wheel form, and this was quite a special form! It wasn't granted to the player like other abilities were, but instead it had special sections for Wheel alone, much like how levels are typically presented when the designers want you to use the Wheel ability. The robobot, now acting more like a car or motorcycle, would ride forwards just like any other version of this ability, but it also used the game's multi-lane gimmick to its maximum effect. Normally going into the background or foreground would be determined by certain warp stars that would take you there, but with this armor form the player could decide on their own, at any time, to shift to a different lane! This made for excellent moments of jumping from foreground to background to avoid all walls and hazards the armor couldn't plow through on its own!

For as long as Wheel has been in the series, it hasn't changed a whole lot. Each game brings minor tweaks and changes, but it wasn't until Triple Deluxe that this power truly began to shine. It may be some time before Wheel shows up again, or it may be no time at all, it's always hard to tell with a power like this. Still, if the power keeps getting better like it has every time its appeared, well, that makes it one ability I'll always ride into the sunset with.

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Last Updated - July 17th, 2016