I've had this topic on my mind for a long time now. However, it is just now that I finally got all of my thoughts out on the matter! I made a big post about it on my tumblr here: http://mrgameandpie.tumblr.com/post/179 ... tty-bright
I'm probably gonna submit this for the Fan Thoughts section too. Still, I figure this area will probably be more likely to spark some discussion of the matter since while few people regularly use these forums these days, even fewer people respond to Fan Thoughts at all.
I have read all your article too, and it's very interesting.
There are a couple of things I have different opinions on, but overall I agree with what you are saying.
I don't really want a "darker" Kirby game, I'd prefer a "deeper" Kirby game, something that puts more effort in the artistic direction, with a more consistent in-game universe, with more focus on emotions such as many indie games (including 2D platformers) already do.
I want to point something about collectables:
I agree that unlocking music and color palettes for Kirby was very cool, but I think that having a true ending like in the Dark Matter Trilogy was even more satisfying.
Unlocking not-canon extras is a nice reward but having the ending of the game change if you collect a certain amount of items in the game makes it feel like your actions and your effort are actually worth something, you changed the ending by improving your skills and collecting more stuff.I'm glad that alternate ending returned in Heroes in Another Dimension, with the 100 hearts thing. It was missing since Kirby 64 and it was something that I wanted back since a very long time.
But I must say, why not both? (to reference a certain meme). We can have a game with nice rewards for collectables, like Amazing Mirror, and at the same time, you get a different ending if you collect a certain amount of them.
Additionally, I liked how in Kirby's Dream Land 3 there were NPCs with little stories, and in order to get the collectables you had to help them. It in a way felt like Majora's Mask's Bombers diary. I'd like that concept to be expanded, it made the world of the game feel more lively.
When you talk about difficulty, you reference bosses and levels. I agree, though I want to add that to me the thing that really needs to become harder is the level design in platforming levels. Some bosses are already challenging and the only reason why they are easy to defeat is because Kirby has too much health and being hit doesn't mean much. You can just decrease Kirby's health a bit and the difficulty would change completely (think of the Metaknight fights, or pretty much all the bossfights from Robobot). What annoys me is that the levels are always too easy! Even the levels from the new DLC of Star Allies are easy for most of the time, they only get hard when you are trying to solve the puzzles, that are optional (kinda); you can complete the mode with 0 hearts if you want.
Also, about Kirby's personality, I think that's not completely true that he's just a kid. Recently, they have said that he has infinite power, and they have made implications hinting that probably he is some destructive god turned good due to positive energy.
What you say about the fact that he cares is totally true, but as a character, he is also special in different ways, compared to the others.
Reading that part I was thinking more of Sonic, who, without the emeralds, is just one of the many characters in the cast and not even the most powerful one (at least until Sonic Forces' bad writing ruined this completely), and he's special because he cares about those animals and the other characters.
Now about what KEEBY64 said about Kirby's voice, I have to say that I can see where he comes from.
I also find Kirby's continuous "HI!" a bit annoying and it makes me a bit uncomfortable when I'm playing a Kirby game with other people around me who hear those sounds and don't know what Kirby is.
I think that Kirby's voice should be toned down (I mean given less importance, not toned down literally) and used only in some specific situations, instead of everywhere in the game (including when you select a level and every time there is a jingle in the game).
I don't prefer the Kirby 64 voice because, well, it sounds like the voice of a little girl, and I think that it doesn't fit Kirby at all. For years I was confused about that voice when you start a level, I thought that it was Ribbon's voice all the times.
His current voice is more fitting, though I think that it's overused; also it seems that it became a trend to put annoying voices screaming all the time, with the most annoying being Francisca's water gun attack, but Susie and Haltmann aren't any better (I admit that Haltmann's scream at least fits the theme of him being crazy; I still wish he made other sounds other than just screaming all the time though). Since they were planning to give a voice to Adeleine as well, I'm glad that they scrapped the idea at the end, especially if she was going to scream like Susie each time she did the flail attack, or something.
Imagine if Luigi in Smash would scream "WAAAAHHHAHAHAAAAAHAHAHA" each time you perform a dash attack.
I liked the classic games where Kirby only did some little sounds occasionally, and I would like that version of Kirby to come back too. That's not just Kirby, I even find Mario annoying, with all his constant "YAHOOOO YIPPIIEEE WIIIHUUUUUU" since Mario 64. I'm sure that there's a way to keep those voices while still making them less annoying.I wish that the "dream button" that turns Kirby into his classic version would also replace his voice with 8 bit sounds, but nope. I hope they bring back the button in future games, maybe from the start in the options, and I hope the next time they actually replace his voice with 8 bit sounds, I would instantly select it.