The Kirbean Dilemma


Here we are again. Another multiplayer-focused game with a cute and fun concept is nearing release and I’m once again tempted. How did I talk myself through this last time? Going by the previous posts about that particular bean-based competition game, I convinced myself that the game, which at the initial release didn’t have much if any sign of going free-to-play while also screwing over at least a portion if not most or all of the playerbase in some way along the way of doing so, was going to do exactly that eventually. And would you figure that exact thing happened, even well within the timeframes I estimated in the followup post. If anything, history repeating itself should be enough to put this out of my mind. I didn’t get fooled twice so the shame’s still on the company that bought out that game and the rocket car soccer game.

The game in question is Kirby’s Dream Buffet. Essentially it’s that bean game but more focused around the iconic all-powerful adorable orb character, and with the additional focus of making said orb as orbtacular as possible. Gorging the orb on the way to victory so it becomes survival of the fattest. Really, it’s a great concept all around, and also why the previous bean game that wasn’t about hiding murders seemed so good up front as well. But it’s also a paid multiplayer game, a sort of genre I’ve been turned off of due to previous incidents described above. Less so the game going free-to-play in general and more the way they went about it.

Here’s the thing, in this ironic and/or hypocritical twist regarding my stance about platform exclusivity, Kirby’s Dream Buffet is a Nintendo game, which means that it’s incredibly likely, if not guaranteed, that it’s going to stay on the Nintendo Switch only. Essentially, exclusivity means that there won’t be a “surprise” exclusivity deal later down the line, unless for some absurd reason Nintendo actually decides to start putting their games on PC. Given how much they like to keep things in their platforms contributed to how surprising it was when they actually made regular phone stuff that seems to behave like regular phone stuff, it seems unlikely because the Switch is still doing pretty well from what I hear, in terms of sales of stuff.

So now I’m going to make another table and see where that gets me.

Kirby’s Dream Buffet Fall Guys
  • Main locomotion is rolling
  • Has limited offline in addition to local versus modes
  • Up to four players at once
  • Made by HAL with Nintendo publishing
  • Switch exclusive
  • Up-front cost ($15 USD) with no microtransactions that I can spot
  • Doubtful of any eSports scene coming from this
  • Player characters become visibly fatter over playtime, increasingly spherical
  • Main locomotion is waddling and ragdolling
  • Cannot be played offline
  • Up to about 100 players at max
  • Made by Mediatonic, previously published by Devolver, now fully published and developed by Epic
  • Epic exclusive on PC, previously paid game on Steam ($20 USD), also on consoles
  • Now free-to-play with massive amount of micro and macrotransactions
  • May have some vague remote eSports setup but nothing I’ve really seen break out
  • Player characters stay in about the same chubby bean shape, costumes may vary this
  • Game is a multiplayer race/minigame sequence battle
  • Bright and colorful environments
  • Playable on Switch
  • Player characters are cute and customizable
  • Still an interesting base concept though a bit dated now

So, there’s that. There is one more thing to consider, however, and that’s the paid multiplayer subscription. As this is a paid game on the Nintendo Switch, this apparently necessitates the use of Nintendo Switch Online. While it is the cheapest of the console subscriptions per period, it’s still an additional cost, and free trials are infrequent. They’re here and there, at least, and I might occasionally look into one even if I don’t do any multiplayer and just play old games or look at random Smash stages that may or may not be crudely pornographic. And I think even Sony decided to add a trial option to PlayStation Plus now that they added tiers to their thing, but I may be mistaken or it may only be in certain regions and I forget which ones they picked if so.

This game is also coming out right before Splatoon 3, which is likely to make people forget about this particular release, and that’s coming with its own bonus trial code as well, since that release party demo thing also wants to necessitate the use of Nintendo Switch Online, there’s some possibility there. But it’s still an up-front cost for a multiplayer game, which is a double-edged sword. And Splatoon has been known for having an at least decent if not great singleplayer campaign, to the point of doing the opposite of other usual strategies for DLC and adding single-player DLC to extend it.

So then the question might end up being either buying Splatoon 3 or Kirby’s Dream Buffet. And some people are likely to get both. Others, such as myself, are likely to just sit and wait and play other stuff they already have access to while the rest figure out which one’s more worth it, the cheaper multiplayer-focused cute fat orb roller or the latest in the four-times-as-much squid/kid ink splatter extravaganza with a solid singleplayer mode on top of that. And even then I’d wonder if I’d get the other game either. For one thing I haven’t played since the Wii U, but I might try the demo thing later.

I don’t even use the time-to-dollar metric when I buy games, I just think “do I want to buy this thing for this much” like anything else, including getting a bunch of donuts, where they’re good donuts, though pricey, but you also have to not take too long to eat them before they get incredibly hard and stale. Sometimes short and sweet is just that. And sometimes, actually a lot of times from the many attempts I’ve seen, multiplayer stuff has a short shelf life, which is part of why stuff goes free-to-play to grab as many players as possible before the publisher or whoever has to liquidate the company or something. And sometimes it gets paired with terrible monetization, somehow worse than before when they were monetizing a paid multiplayer game past the initial cost, which is already not a great thing to do. I don’t foresee either Nintendo game going free-to-play later because they seem firm in their pricing strategy to where they rarely discount their own games, and I’m pretty sure Super Mario Run still costs about $10 USD for a full unlock, but still.

As far as console subscription stuff, I still think it’s strange I was convinced to pay up front at a significant discount for a couple years of Game Pass a while back, using the old Gold conversion trick. It was an oddly good deal to look at a specific variety of games I likely wouldn’t buy anytime soon, including big iconic Microsoft releases featuring Master Chief and Car, but mostly random indie stuff that I might have eventually gotten for a few bucks on Steam or in the latest charity bundle that just includes a bunch of random stuff. I do still buy games occasionally. Maybe about as often as I would without having Game Pass, as that’s generally slowed down overall as my interest in anything new is often not high and I’m just picking up older stuff mostly.

As far as the new Sony equivalent goes, I feel less likely to check that out, at least while I have Game Pass active. I’m not sure what they have on offer that I don’t already have somewhere and that’s interesting to me in some capacity, plus the impending phasing out of the PS4 where some benefits are only available on PS5, and I’m very unlikely to pursue one of those anytime soon, but I mainly don’t want to deal with multiple subscriptions in the same category like that. Also, given how Game Pass keeps exchanging more interesting games for less interesting ones as everything’s on some short-term rental contract there, plus perhaps the general feeling of being tired of whatever modern games might be on average, I might be fine with not renewing that whole thing by the time it expires, even with the ability to extend it out a bit at no extra cost with the accumulation of rewards points. Maybe points better spent on random gift cards for places where I can get other things.