The downside of all this is that, outside of puzzle solving, there is barely any benefit to powering Kirby up with elemental abilities, which include fire, wind, electricity, and ice. Enemies are total pushovers and require very few hits to take down to begin with, and even against the various boss enemies, it really doesn’t matter all that much because in most cases, all you need to do is spam the attack button for a minute until they fall. Rinse and repeat. Of course, no one comes to a Kirby game expecting an overly difficult experience, but Star Allies is overly generous with health and lives to a fault, so that it’s practically a challenge to actually die in combat.
Fortunately, there are moments that break up the monotony of too-easy combat and basic platforming that make up the majority of Star Allies’ level designs. Every so often, Kirby and his buddies can come together for various group team-up sections, such as forming a bridge to escort A.I. allies to a specific platform or, in one of the game’s most delightful sequences, assemble into a runaway choo-choo train. Moments like these feel inspired and make the best use of Star Allies’ cooperative focus, but it’s just too bad most of the core gameplay doesn’t provide much entertainment.
Also, for a game seemingly built for co-op play, Star Allies doesn’t really benefit all that much from swapping out A.I. for actual player-controlled characters. Additional players can jump in and out at any time, but Player 1 (Kirby) is the only one who gets to control the experience. Other players are restricted in what they can do, as they can only get so far away from Kirby before being unable to move on and must rely on Kirby to throw a heart on a new enemy if they want to play as a different character. That being said, for parents with young gamers, Star Allies could very well be one of the least stressful experiences on the Switch, so I could see its co-op offerings playing really well with that audience.