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Kirby's Dream Land Review

So brief it should be called Kirby's Power Nap Land

Inhaling things and then spitting them back out at other people is a horrible thing to do. But even with terrible manners and a near-featureless appearance (he is just a big face with arms and legs, after all), Kirby somehow remains one of Nintendo's most enduring mascots.

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Kirby's indefinable charm has carried him through the 19 years since this Game Boy debut in Dream Land.

Just like some of the other returning handheld heroes on eShop (Mario, Link, Donkey Kong), it's slightly miraculous that his first adventure's visuals and sound haven't aged as terribly as you'd expect.

Dream Land's backgrounds are surprisingly detailed, animation is slick, stages are full to the brim with enemies, and while there is occasional slowdown, we're impressed that this was possible on such limited hardware.

The tunes are chirpy and can be considered a real feat of lo-fi chiptune engineering.

This being the first-ever Kirby adventure, Dream Land sets down the foundations of the series by being primarily based on inhaling enemies (and by being too easy, but more on that later).

Full Of Hot Air

It's a platformer, but you won't have to pull off pinpoint leaps across bottomless pits. Instead you'll be engaged in hoovering up as many enemies as you can.

Our first instinct on gobbling a foe was to press down to take their powers, but that now-trademark quirk didn't come along until Kirby's Adventure on the NES. So without a great deal of variation in attack (although there is a shoot 'em up section), we're left with what feels like a stripped-down Kirby game.

Inevitably, that extends to the number of stages, with a piffling five on offer here. They're relatively long for a simple platformer like this, and without due care they can occasionally get tricky, but the main game still won't last a competent gamer more than an hour.

End-of-stage bosses provide the main challenge and some will knock one or two lives off your total. But you won't ever truly see the Game Over screen - there are continues to keep you going.

The suck-in, spit-out mechanic marks Kirby's Dream Land out as a platformer with a difference, but that and our hero's charm can't make up for a chronic lack of content. There is an extra, much tougher, game to play after the main one, but it's little more than the same thing with more enemies.

Stick to Mario Land or Donkey Kong for retro platforming.


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  1. Hams96 Thursday 31st May 2012 at 08:01

    It is indeed far too short, and absurdly expensive when you consider it's only 10 levels (including the extra ones)

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