I bagged on Kirby’s Dream Land, and in hindsight I feel a little bad about it. It was ludicrously short, and childlike in difficulty, but it was supposed to be and in retrospect I don’t really think some of my issues were fair. So going into Kirby’s Adventure I tried to remain a little more open minded.
Kirby’s Adventure is a platformer, you navigate the level and take on the foes of Dream Land. While the game Dream Land introduced the core mechanics of Kirby eating things, Adventure refines the formula to such a point that it didn’t require updating until more modern consoles.
Eat an enemy and press down makes you absorb that enemies power. Pressing up will fill Kirby with air, and the rest is easy. Run, jump, float and shoot your way to victory.
It sounds simple, and it is. The joy comes from the surprising depth to the game as not all skills are useful, but all have a purpose or are simply fun to use. Case in point, the “back drop” move. The back drop is a wrestling suplex, which takes much longer to perform than the other attacks, but is 1000 times cooler. It gives you reason to experiment.
Also, if you lose a power you can chase after the power star to try and regain that power.
Basically King Dedede has stolen a magic wand that prevents the people of Dream Land dreaming…
Further plot happens and it turns out King Dedede was actually trying to protect Dream Land by breaking the Dream Wand and once Kirby fixes the wand a new enemy appears (Nightmare) who was planning on using the Dream Wand to his advantage.
Basically, there is more plot going on here than in the entire Mario series, and the game deserves some credit for this.
Since Kirby is designed to be child friendly is is easy. However it isn’t patronisingly easy, there is always an easy solution to progression. But there are some slightly tricky platforming sections that are entirely optional, secret areas that have switch boxes that open up secret areas ala Mario World, and minigames which add to the difficulty, but this is mostly optional. It means a kid can piss through the game in no time, but a more experienced gamer will at least be able to find some challenge to it.
Since extra lives are abundant and you can have around 20 by the 2nd world you shouldn’t be getting gameover if you’re reasonably competent (I got gameover twice).
I was pretty converted to Kirby early on in my *ahem* adventure, but what really swung it for me was the Gameboy level towards the end, complete with the Dreamland music. If you’re wanting a hardcore platformer than Kirby obviously isn’t the game you, but Kirby has a solid mechanic, and it does everything it attempts to do well.
The game actually isn’t that easy (I lied earlier), as the difficulty slowly ramps up to such a point that a kid could beat it, but it’d take even a skilled gamer a few tries to bear some of the levels.
As it is, Kirby’s Adventure is a pretty fun platformer with a tonne of secrets so is well worth a play.
Pros: Music, lots of variety in powerups. Decent difficulty curve you don’t really see ramping up.
Cons: first few worlds are too easy, having to press up to inflate means you’ll often press up by mistake.
Back in the Day:
Kirby’s Adventure was released very late in the NES’s lifecycle, yet still managed to be one of the top selling games on the console. It also won numerous Games of the Year, and scored well in to the 80s across most reviewers.