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Kirby's Avalanche has arrived in the Wii Shop as we near the milestone of 150 different Virtual Console titles – and its debut comes with fairly little fanfare, as its other console clone, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, has been around since the first 15. It's really a matter of personal license preference between the two – whether you're more of a Kirby fan, or more of a Sonic one – because the gameplay of both titles is spot-on the same. We'd probably give Kirby the slight edge, overall, for puzzle fans who haven't yet downloaded either, but those who don't have access to two Classic Controllers for multiplayer play would be better served to choose Robotnik for its compatibility with solo Wiimotes.
But it's still fun, especially with a human friend or exceptionally well-trained pet, and the game makes good use of the SNES technology with crisp sprites and impressively clear speech samples. If it weren't for Nintendo's bafflingly rigid pricing structure, it'd definitely be worth a download. But it's a SNES game, which means it must cost 800 points - around £5.60 or 8 Euros. It seems weird to quibble over such low prices but, when judged alongside similar games, it's just enough to shunt this gently away from the impulse purchase zone and into the fenced paddock marked "only for the fans".
In any case, Kirby's Avalanche is an interesting puzzle game that you should check out if you have enjoyed games like Tetris, Columns, or Panel De Pon in the past. The game isn't necessarily good enough to pick up if you've already doled out the points to buy Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, but if you haven't spent the cash on either yet, Kirby's Avalanche is definitely the way to go.
Kirby’s Avalanche is a solid puzzle game, but it is marred by what else is on the Virtual Console. You’re better off saving an extra 100 points for the import title Puyo Puyo Tsuu. The gameplay in Tsuu is far more balanced, has custom rules, improves on the basic formula, and doesn’t suffer from Kirby’s multiplayer issues. If you’ve only got 800 points, Dr. Robotnik is recommended unless you absolutely need that Kirby theme.
Puyo Puyo or Kirby fans should check this game out. If you're only a casual player with no preference for Kirby or Sonic, though, I would suggest Mean Bean Machine, as it has a slight edge over this game due to the password system and (In my opinion) has a better soundtrack.