Kirby’s Dream land is one of the few games that I missed out on when it was originally released in 1992. I didn’t want it. The game looked too cute back then and it still stands out as an adorable game today. A fat cheeked protagonist, named Kirby, but hidden beneath his marsh mellow exterior is the soul of an indestructible monster. In this 2D platformer, Kirby’s appetite for destruction, chaos and carnage makes him the true villain of his own franchise.
He easily devours his enemies whole then spits them out as projectiles. Later Kirby games will have him gain the powers of his enemies. If that wasn’t bad enough, this unstoppable monster can also fly by holding up. There is very little that he can’t eat. Even fat bulbous enemies are no problem for his expanding balloon of a body. He is still vulnerable. Falling from great heights will plant him face down, temporarily stunning him. Running too fast into a wall will stun him too, but that’s less frequent. The game is a lot of fun, but short. There’s so much diversity to the action. The graphics are big, cute and detailed. Even the backgrounds are very detailed especially when compared to other Game Boy games. The music is fun and fast paced, perfect for a video game and the start of a new franchise for Nintendo. There is a diverse array of areas, castles, grasslands, sky lands, the and outer space itself to name a few.
At the start of each level is a charmingly amusing cut scene that adds to the fun of the game. I don’t like many cut scenes, but these are very brief animations without dialog. Kirby riding a star to a whale. Then in the next scene, its jammed into the blow hole and Kirby is water blown into a sky level. Its adorable. Enemies are numerous, but they’re all just fodder since Kirby spits them out as projectiles. There are only a few that stand to challenge his ravenous appetite. Projectile throwers that can still be eaten, cannonballs which can’t be eaten, Pikachu looking enemies that when Kirby tries to devour them, they get mad and explode.
Kirby’s tour de force is broken into four simple levels. Each level has a halfway point with a star that will rocket him to the mini boss and the second half of the level where he faces an end boss. The mini bosses are more like a hint of the final stage boss. A lesser version, so you can get used to the patterns and how you need to kill them. Its a tasty way to give bite size examples to little kids playing this game. These levels are diverse and make good use of fresh backgrounds and art. You won’t just be platforming to the right, because there are extra rooms to find and multiple routes through some levels. There are parts that force the game into a shoot’em up with a power up that grants Kirby infinite flight and fireballs to break through blocks and incinerate enemies. Its timed, so if you don’t make it to the next safe platform, he’ll fall to a bottomless pit and lose a life. Kirby has plenty of health and there are water bottles to quench his thirst from so much eating and replenish his energy.
After munching your way through the first four levels, the game puts you in the final castle with four more quick levels themed from the first four. Each of these levels goes by pretty quick with the first half requiring you to touch another Kirby at the end in order to open the door. The second half of the level has a boss at the end that was taken from the original level it was based on. So its an extended boss rush. Losing all of your lives here results in having to start over again and complete these final four mini levels from scratch. Each boss has a different pattern and dynamic that makes them feel unique. From the easy tree that just requires you to mercilessly spit apples at it, to a blimp that fires cannonballs at you while you spit fire to burn it down. The last two bosses really incorporate multiple attacks that are randomized. Every so often letting go of an enemy for you to use them as ammunition.
Since the game is so short and easy, once you complete it, there is an advanced quest that adds a heap of enemies to the levels you just played through. It adds some replay value and much needed difficulty. It is well worth the 30 minute play through and the extra hour challenge of the second quest.