Nintendowe Meta

Nintendo We Volume 4: Meta Knight Mania: The Curse of the Castle in the Clouds

Up to now, I have talked about three different Nintendo franchises that I have dabbled in frequently, and that have had attached to them some of the greatest video games of all time. The likes of Super Mario 64, Metroid Prime and Lylatwars have played huge parts in shaping the success of the Japanese gaming giants in the video games industry, and have been the source of inspiration for many different developers over a wide range of different consoles for many years. But for the next volume in the Nintendo We series, I want to touch on a series that can boast comparable longevity to many other flagship Nintendo franchises, but one that I can’t help but feel hasn’t seen quite as much critical recognition as many others; admittedly, even I have neglected this series to an extent. The series I refer to is Kirby.


Created by the president of Sora Ltd, and frequent developer for Nintendo platforms, Masahiro Sakurai, Kirby has since become a character synonymous with the Nintendo mythos, with a Kirby game having been released on every single Nintendo console to date, pending the arrival of the new Kirby game for the Wii U in 2015. The basic premise behind the series is that Kirby travels across many galaxies and rescuing them using his various different abilities such as inhaling enemies to gain their abilities and puffing his own cheeks up in order to traverse high platforms or holes in the ground. His main archenemy is a gluttonous penguin named King Dedede, who sometimes also teams up with Kirby in several titles in the series. But another arch rival that Kirby has is a character that has intrigued me above many other characters across Nintendo franchises throughout the years, and one that I quite frankly believe deserves to be built upon in the same way that many other supporting Nintendo characters have been and are scheduled to be, even if he has been well-developed as a character across the franchise itself; Meta Knight.


Like King Dedede, Meta Knight has had a “friend or foe” role across the Kirby series, being either a close ally or a fierce enemy. But outside the main Kirby series, he has mostly been confined to either the Super Smash Bros games, sub-games within the Kirby franchise or the Kirby manga series. May Nintendo fans and critics, including myself, have commented that the character is certainly worthy of his own game, and worthy of more attention across the gaming community; his role perhaps making for yet another extremely memorable Nintendo experience. This is where the fourth volume of this series comes in.

I have noticed that although there has been a lot of very good video games across the Kirby series, including, Kirby’s Canvas Curse, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and of course, the various the Kirby’s Dream Land games, I can’t help but feel that there has been much less innovation across the series than many other Nintendo franchises, such as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong, which have had games developed demonstrating many different styles of gameplay. The Kirby games on the other hand seem to be made up mostly of linear 2D side scrollers, which whilst presenting many different ideas and changes within that particular formula, rarely try anything new beyond that. But one alteration to the formula that I would like to see in the series, which was presented to an extent in Kirby’s Epic Yarn, is the inclusion of an open world designed for exploration. And I think the inclusion of a new main character from the series, would help to not only pioneer a style of play new to the Kirby series, but would also potentially help to launch a new and exciting Nintendo franchise in itself.

Although Nintendo did pioneer the concept of a 2D open world game in the first place with the original Metroid, the formula has since been built upon by many other developers, including Konami, who released Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation, which used the same kind of map system as Metroid, but also made a number of innovations in terms of gameplay. Ever since, the term Metroidvania has been used to describe this style of gameplay; the title of the game concerning this article being a play of words on that term.


A rough idea that I have concerning the plot, which would be my own loose nod to Symphony of the Night, would be that a celestial castle has been corrupted and taken over by a new series antagonist, leaving room for even more variety in character and enemy design throughout the franchise, and Meta Knight could be either chosen, or could take it on himself, to explore the huge castle, and banish it of this enemy and his army, and either return the castle to its rightful owners, and take it over himself; as Meta Knight has been cast as both a hero and a villain across the Kirby series, this could also leave room for morality mechanics to be added to the gameplay formula. Meta Knight could have to make a series of moral decision, which could affect the outcome of the game, or events throughout it, similar to InFamous, Mass Effect or Fable. Morality mechanics within video games is something that Nintendo have rarely dabbled in, and I think the creation of a franchise like this could potentially be an excellent starting point.

In terms of the overall gameplay formula, the convenient thing is that it could be rendered in either 2D or 3D, or even some combination of the two, like what Nintendo tried to do with Super Paper Mario for the Wii. I think that a game like that would hep to appeal to both sets of fans; those who enjoy the 2D aspect of the Kirby series, and those who would want to see something new happen to it; as well as also appealing to players new to it. Combat and equipment variety could also play a massive part in gameplay, since Meta Knight has been shown to wield a decent variety of swords and abilities across not only the Kirby franchise, but also in the Super Smash Bros games too; for example, Meta Knight’s cloak has the ability to manipulate space, which could be the basis of a fast travel system throughout the castle. Having the castle in the form of an open world environment can also make for a number of additional gameplay elements, such as side quests, collectible items, additional moral decisions to be made, secret areas, etc; things that were included in the likes of Dust: An Elysian Tale, Strider and SteamWorld Dig, but things I think would have made those examples better games if there was more of them included.


Hopefully, with pioneering of spin-off series established by Nintendo on a regular basis, including Mario Kart, Luigi’s Mansion, Diddy Kong Racing, and the upcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for the Wii U, Meta Knight may one day have his own title developed, and I believe an alteration to the 2D side scrolling formula of the Kirby series on this scale would make for an extremely enjoyable game, as well as an extremely enjoyable new series to again show people that only are Nintendo not shy about trying new things, but also to prove that their games don’t always have to necessarily be just for kids. I think there’s also a lot that can be done with the atmosphere a game starring Meta Knight, which would deviate away from the usual happy and colourful vibe that most Kirby games give off, and the issue of personal morality is of course universal.