The joy of playing with Kirby comes from the inhumane violence contained in his world. In Robobot, adorable puffball Kirby hops into mechanical killing machines – equipped with saw blades – to slice his equally adorable opposition into pieces. This is a world where enormous ice cream cones tip over due to an excess of sweetness and Kirby hoists a robot flamethrower to burn a pathway.
Years ago, the Naughty Bear series tried a similar approach. An angry living teddy bear became a slasher villain in an otherwise peaceful toy realm. It was awful. Kirby’s violence remains subliminal, never explicit. Wil E. Coyote or Bugs Bunny, with a charmingly funny mean streak. Music stays soft, colors bright, pacing pleasant, challenge inviting, and the murder of adorable squishy creatures reaches a record high.
Robobot has an otherworldly event masking Kirby’s home (steel machinery takes over his colorful play land), which serves to give the heroic critter additional offensive firepower. That’s a mistake. Kirby doesn’t even need the robots. He swallows anything whole. Giving him a mechanical suit stuffed with unlimited ammunition seems quite stupid. These invaders have no idea what they’ve created, which is one of the better Kirby’s since the perfect Epic Yarn.