Look in the mirror, fat little marshmallow, and tell me what you see?

Kirby & the Amazing Mirror (2004)

I reckon I picked the wrong time in history to be unphotogenic, you know. Of course I’m arrogant enough to believe I’m a tera-hunk, but it only takes a rogue camera to catch you at your worst and it’s all over, the entire illusion is shattered – it’s ten chins, my hair’s a silvery mess and the gut is hanging right out.

Worse still if you’re photographed alongside somebody who knew where to look and nailed their pose. I’m surrounded by models, experts at getting papped. It got so that I’d dread those social media notifications, where people would snap a single night out using what’d be the olden days equivalent of ten rolls of film. With that many candid photos of you floating around, there was bound to be a few stinkers in there, for the object of your desires to find and cringe at, and for you to gloomily reflect on. After all, you can’t filter every photo to within an inch of its life, can you?

This is why I’ve got to be terribly vain, you see, I have no alternative. I know it’s a deadly sin and all that, but do you know how much of a social suicide it is to look bad in photos? Suicide is a mortal sin too, but if the photos are bad enough then this may become a preferable option, perhaps the only option. And you can’t have a go at me for that, because I guarantee you that I’m no worse than your typical low self-esteem girl preening herself online, or a typical low self-esteem guy for that matter.

This is why, when my hair approaches its biggest, its most bouffant, I need to give it constant maintenance and observation, because you just never know where the next camera will be. I don’t pass a single water source without applying a bit of it to my hair if I think it may have gone a bit flat and lifeless. Even sweat could do the job, in a pinch. Or, worst case scenario, I’ll break my long-standing rule that forbids me from buying bottled water (at them prices!) if I have a hair emergency going on, or God forbid, a full on hair crisis. Bad hair days, they ain’t just for women, you know. 

Sick of hearing all about me? Don’t lie, I know this stuff is applying to you too. How else do you all leave the house looking like models these days? Yous are snakes, and it means I can’t keep up with yous. My best is barely about Chad Thundercock’s worst. And see when the nightclub lighting suddenly flashes on at the end of the night, brighter than the sun? Can you say “double chins” and “forehead folds”?

Only one thing for it, I just don’t leave the house anymore. No more public appearances from me. I’m like the Olympic Flame you know, I just never go out. A shame to have to be housebound, but at least it saves me from the ignominy of embarrassing photographs. It was all getting just a tad stressful.

Still, might as well try one’s best anyway, else there’d be no point in me getting out of bed in the mornings. Hence I spend an awful lot of time looking in the mirrors around the house. We sure got an awful lot of them around here, though I assure you there’s none on the bedroom ceiling – yet. Is that the height of decadence or what?

Anyway, here’s where it still gets puzzling, sometimes frustrating for me – I seem to look wildly different in all the mirrors. No, I’m sure I don’t live in a Haunted Hall of Mirrors, although when I haven’t had enough sleep and I see myself, I sometimes wonder if I’m playing the starring role in a freak show.

But why is it that I look like a goddam Greek God in the safe embrace of the bathroom mirror, but when I pass by the hall mirror, the last one I gaze in before (theoretically) leaving the house, I look like Bela Lugosi? Then I have to tramp back upstairs to gel my hair just right, get my wrinkles ironed out, any tooths rebrushed. It’s the trouble with mirrors, and much as I’d like to smash rogue ones out of spite, you can’t do that can you? All you’ll get is years and years of bad luck, and how many bad hair days is that gonna cause you?

None of that superstitious nonsense deterred, erm, Dark Meta Knight, in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror for GBA. He just went right ahead and smashed that supposedly amazing mirror into pieces, those pieces being strewn across 15 different locales dotted throughout the galaxy. Kirby, who is immune to bad hair days and always looks great, if a little bloated, jumps in once more to save the day. After all, it never seems like anyone else is up to the task around here, especially when local scrotes like the real Meta Knight get involved.

Although strictly speaking, Kirby isn’t actually alone today, nor is it just one Kirby;  a few of his colourful clones join the fray as well. Mirror images, I suppose. Truth be told, I’m still not entirely sure how it all works; you start the game in the first area and suddenly, three of your boys start cutting up rough and causing all sorts of trouble and noise in the stage. You can just leave them to it, in the same way that you’d leave your pals to it on a night out if they’ve started bothering randomers.

Kirby can even get on his blower with a tap of the shoulder button to try and bring his mates back. I’m not sure where Kirby keeps a phone; perhaps it’s the same place girls do when they don’t have pockets. Someone might kindly explain the idea of the other three Kirbys to me someday, but it’s always a great buzz when you’re meandering through the areas and you stumble upon one of your pals giving the enemies an awful time.

Anyway, aside from all that, this is a Kirby game in the vein of a Metroidvania, which is a genre oversaturated beyond belief these days, but you may have slept on this one the first time around. I know I certainly did. Think of this game as a much larger extension of the Great Cave Offensive or Milky Way Wishes from Kirby Super Star – pick up the right abilities and see more of the world, that sort of thing.

A Metroidvania game must be a hard thing to create, and even harder to do well. I think Kirby’s passed inspection on this occasion, critical as I’ve been of the little puffball. This sort of adventure is where Kirby is at his best, never mind the perfunctory platform Dream Land stuff, which is way too easy anyway. I certainly wouldn’t call Amazing Mirror easy, at least in terms of making progress – the areas are labyrinthine and it’s pretty darn difficult to know where to go next at times. A guide for a Kirby game? Why, it may finally be happening.

I think the graphics look brilliant as well, Kirby’s spritework is amazing. He definitely looks good in a mirror, that much is certain. And there’s even a lot of nice music, not just the same old remixes either. I’ve got to be honest, I’m quite impressed with Kirby for once. This is a very good game, or to use a cliché, it’s a hidden gem. And I’m proud of wee Kirby for that.

But it doesn’t matter what I think of him. For a performer like Kirby, all that should really matter is if he can look himself in the mirror and be happy with what he sees. And after this trip to save the Amazing Mirror, I think the little pink guy ought to look pleased as punch.

30 December 2022

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