This was definitely a very big title when it first came out and it’s safe to say that just about everyone was hyped to finally get to play this big masterpiece. The Dream Collection brought back 6 classic Kirby games to introduce them to the new generation. I haven’t really played any Kirby game before aside from the classic Epic Yarn so this was an enticing offer. I stayed my hand for a while until Christmas rolled around and then I made my move. I was able to blast through the games and can definitely say that it was worth the money. The Kirby series is here to stay. I’ll go through this review game by game.
Kirby’s Adventure is a fun little Kirby game. You got to suck up monsters and get their abilities, which was cool, but I decided not to use it. The ability’s not really worth it, nor would it be until Kirby 64. There’s not a whole lot to say about this game since the plot is fairly direct and not really deep…until the ending. The twist that King Dedede was just trying to help out is brilliant and Nightmare is super cool. The final boss is really intense and has the best final boss theme from any Kirby game. It’s also very difficult as you try to face off against both forms and I won with just one health point remaining. It’s truly a well crafted boss battle. Difficult, but never unfair. It’s all about learning the patterns and pressing on as you try to take the win. Kirby’s Adventure started the series off with the deep plots so I’ll give it credit for that. The graphics also look quite good considering how old it is.
Kirby’s Dreamland was the first of the Kirby games. It’s really short as this came out a while back and the plot is fairly minimal, but it was a fun way to start off the collection. I took to the air quite a bit as you could “break” most of the levels that way since dodging enemies became an easy thing to do. It’s slower than dashing so that’s the cost that you have to pay for choosing such a strategy, but it was worth it for me. The gameplay was simple and effective. You could pick up the game and 5 minutes later, you’d know what to do. Facing off against King Dedede and his cronies is also fun because the iconic character keeps his moveset across every single one of the Kirby games so there is definitely a strong sense of continuity across the titles. King Dedede also seems to be misunderstood and is actually a nice guy once you get to know him.
The sequel was naturally an improvement over the first. Kirby’s Dreamland 2 did everything that the first had done and also made some improvements. For starters, I actually liked the gimmick of having animal sidekicks to help out. When you would jump on one of them, you would gain a second health bar (For the animal) and then you could use their respective abilities. Super swimming, faster flying, etc. They were very helpful and while you couldn’t use your sucking ability while on them, you could still deal a lot of damage and didn’t have to worry about taking damage. This game also improved on the plot angle as the Kirby series finally began to get high tier in terms of the power levels. This was the first time that the Dark Matter would appear and the aerial boss fight was epic. You needed to do bonus things in the game to reach the final, final boss so I didn’t get to play it myself, but looked up videos of it afterwards. It’s impressive that the Kirby games had such cool final bosses back in the day. Kirby is certainly a skilled swordsman.
Kirby’s Dreamland 3 took a few steps forwards while also taking a step back. The main negative that I had with this game was the fact that while on the animals, you did not get an extra health bar this time. As a result, I avoided them entirely. I also avoided obtaining any special abilities because most of them simply are not worth it. Sucking up enemies is still the best way to play if you ask me. This was the first Kirby game where I actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the air. Flying felt slow for some reason so instead I played the games more like how they were meant to be enjoyed, on the ground. It was fun and I do enjoy playing that way even if I took more damage. This was the first Kirby game where I didn’t get any Game Overs though so that was a plus. The final bosses were even cooler in this title and the games continued to have that dark, cosmic angle that Nintendo’s other titles did not have. The stakes continued to get higher and higher, but things would really get ramped up in Kirby 64.
Kirby Superstar is a party game that’s mixed in with the other Kirby games. I’ll admit that I spent the least amount of time here compared to the other titles. Since it’s less plot oriented I suppose that I just gave it lower priority. I do like the fact that it feels like an Arcade Game. One of the minigames essentially plays out like a mini Kirby’s Dreamland, but with arcade gameplay. It’s hard to describe, but everything is just a little simpler and more to the point so you can dash through the levels and take the win. Absorbing abilities is actually useful here although it’s odd that the Gamecube controls randomly switched over a little here. It should be noted that you actually can exit a minigame once you start it. Just hold A and B along with 1 and 2 on the Wii remote and it’ll take you back to the main menu. A great way to get out of a jam. Another minigame is a reaction test one where you have to use a hammer to smash a star in half. It’s why Kirby’s so massively powerful..he just can’t be stopped! There’s another reaction test where it’s a sword duel. The minigames hold up quite well and make for a fun experience.
Finally, we had Kirby 64 in this collection. It was the first 3Dish Kirby game and also played out more like a home console experience than the others. We got full cutscenes this time and a big team up as Kirby allied with King Dedede and some other friends. Dark Matter and Dark Star are back and are corrupting everyone with the powers of darkness. It was very intense to make it to the ending as we actually get a horror esque stinger unless you have enough of the gems to see the true ending. Man, that’s definitely an ending that would scare and excite a lot of people and I wish that Nintendo would have more endings like this. Certainly the best ending to a Kirby game and one of the best endings to a Nintendo game in general. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this was easily my favorite Kirby game. I beat it very quickly in a few hours and didn’t get any game overs as I stuck to the ground, but the plot and the fun gameplay are why I really enjoyed it. The stages had a nice amount of variety and I actually used the abilities a little bit this time since you could always just spit them out and use them as a powerful projectile. Finally, I had a reason to absorb these abilities. It’s not hard to see why Kirby 64 can be seen as the ultimate Kirby game. It’s really tough to top it and Kirby continues to show us why he’s a great lead. His physical powers are amazing and the aerial fights at the end continue to help show why he’s a top tier fighter. Kirby 64 is short, but that’s fine since it’s such a great game.
This collection is certainly jammed pack with content and you can imagine how much replay value is in store here as well. There are lots of things to do even once you have beaten the main stories. You can go back to each game and collect the necessary artifacts to grab the secret endings and each game will take you quite a while to pull that off. The games are also a lot of fun so you can easily just replay the stories for the fun of it all.
The soundtrack from the games is certainly great as well. It’s a blast to hear all of the iconic Kirby themes from over the years. Many of them have certainly become popular through the Super Smash Bros. series and you can see where the popular fighting/party game series got a lot of inspiration from Kirby. Melee’s Adventure Mode as well as Brawl’s Subspace adventure incorporated a lot of elements from the classic Kirby games including the colored walls that would try to squish you and the gameplay in general. It’s like a great blast to the past.
Overall, Kirby’s Dream Collection is a must buy for all Kirby fans and even just for anyone who likes a good platformer. You can’t go wrong with the Kirby games and each one is fairly short so most can be beaten in a day. I typically tried to beat 1.5 Kirby games per day and it was a strategy that worked out quite well. In particular, Kirby 64 and the first Kirby game are probably the shortest ones and you’ll beat them before you know it. A lot of levels can be broken by flying the whole time in each game, but it comes at the expense of speed so you have to decide if it’s worth it. I did that for the first 3 games and then for the final ones, I mostly stuck to the ground. So, it really depends on how you like to play since both work out. The game officially came with a soundtrack, but my copy didn’t bring it. That’s fine, but worth noting as it is why I did not discuss the soundtrack CD in the review. Once you’ve played the collection, you can properly compare it to other 2D titles like DK and Mario. Mario still wins out for me, but Kirby holds its own. I look forward to playing more Kirby games in the future, I’ll probably end up getting Kirby’s mirror and the DS games before I get the next big title, but eventually I aim to complete the Dreamland saga.