Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES) Retro Review

We're really putting the pedal to the metal in 2010. Let's continue with our first retro review of the year. My older brother and I recently played through this game together, so I figured why not jot down some of my experiences and opinion on the game. It's Kirby's Dream Land 3 for the Super Nintendo.

If I could talk to the animals...

The cute and cuddly Kirby originated on the Game Boy with the original Kirby's Dream Land. That game would a second sequel on the portable platform, but Kirby's first console offering would be late in the Nintendo Entertainment System's life with Kirby's Adventure. While not his first Super Nintendo outing, that would be Kirby Super Star, his last would again be late in the Super Nintendo's life, Kirby's Dream Land 3. With the addition of color and a cast of animals to ride, Kirby's Dream Land 3 is an impressive title.

It's a peaceful day on the planet Pop Star when all of a sudden, a mystical force invades the land. It sprinkles harmful dark clouds all over the planet, and as hero of the world, it's up to Kirby to save the day! He must travel to five worlds, solve simple puzzles, battle baddies, bosses, and his ever-hungry stomach while cleaning up the mess this evil entity has caused. Are you up to the task to join him? Of course, you are, so let's get to it!

They see me rollin'.

For those who have never played a Kirby game before, Kirby is a pink powder-puff who can suck up enemies and take their powers. If Kirby gets hit enough, he'll revert back to normal. There's plenty of powers for Kirby to possess, but he can only hold one power at a time. Kirby can burn enemies, freeze them in place and kick them into other enemies, turn into a powerful stone, ball of spikes, and much more.

The new addition to Kirby's Dream Land 3 is that of ride-able animals. There's six or so in all each with different abilities. For example, the hamster can climb up walls, the owl can fly around, and the fish is an excellent swimmer. Combined with Kirby's power-ups the animals attack in a variety of different ways. You can only ride one animal at a time, and plenty of times there will be paths that only a certain animal can take-- adding to Dream Land 3's longevity. There's also blocks that can only be taken out by using a select power which also adds to the replay value.

Also new to Kirby is the advent of having a partner around. This partner can be played by a second player making for some very enjoyable co-op fun. If the partner gets too far away from Kirby, he'll be automatically transported close to Kirby's side. If the second player dies, there's no real loss, but every time the second player enters the game thereafter, a part of Kirby's health decreases. Another change is that unlike some Kirby games, in this adventure, the titular hero can float for an infinite amount of time. This makes some levels as easy as hovering over entire rooms similar to using a P-Wing in Super Mario Bros. 3 to bypass dangerous stages.

There's six different animals to
utilize in Kirby's Dream Land 3.

In Kirby's Dream Land 3, there's five worlds to explore, each with seven individual levels. The seventh level always holds a big bad boss to take down. These are simple as waiting for a foe to strike, sucking up the star they let loose from their attack, and spitting it back at them to damage them. Of course, if Kirby has a power, it makes the battle all the more easy. The in-game levels are comprised of several elongated rooms either stretching vertically or horizontally. Sometimes the screen is scrolling, but most often it is not. Kirby will enter red hot mountains, underwater exploits, and grassy wildlands on his quest to right the wrongs of the world. The game itself isn't terribly long perhaps taking an ordinary player but a few hours or more.

Sure, players can just breeze right through the game at their leisure, but there's a catch to unlocking the final battle of the game. Each of the game's 40+ levels has a hidden goal that must be completed in order to obtain a heart star. Collect all the heart stars, and Kirby and friend can tackle the game's true final boss aside from King Dedede. Level goals include things like not stomping on flowers, completing a level while riding a certain animal, completing a mini-game, collecting a set number of collectibles, and tackling a hidden mid-boss within a level.

After all the heart stars are collected, some belonging to recognizable Nintendo characters, the final boss will be ready to be attacked in the center of Pop Star. The boss fight is a multiple phase affair and uses a 2-D side-scrolling shooter mechanic instead of the traditional platforming action the game has been using all along. After the foe is bested, the day and Pop Star have been saved all thanks to the indomitable little pink puff, Kirby... and friends!

Old and new friends get help from Kirby.

One of my main problems with Kirby's Dream Land 3 is that it's very easy to beat and complete. Sure your lives reset every time you restart the game, but it's easy to obtain anywhere of upwards of thirty lives in one sitting. Health items are also abundant making the game a cakewalk for most players, but to be fair, it certainly is one fun and delicious cakewalk!

Kirby's Dream Land 3 uses an incredibly impressive crayon-styled art style to showcase some impressive visuals unlike any other on the Super Nintendo. It's quite the site to look at, and the soundtrack helps create a happy go-lucky mood, too. There's plenty of hummable tracks and familiar ditties to sing along to.

Kirby's Dream Land 3 may be on the easy side, but there's something about it that's enjoyable to play regardless of this fact. It has loads of charm, enchanting visuals, and simple enough gameplay for anyone to get involved in. Kirby's Dream Land 3 is a highly recommended title to look into, especially since you can find it for only eight dollars on the Wii's Virtual Console.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]

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