Review by Psycho Penguin
"The original Kirby game still is a fun romp years later, but don't expect a classic."
I always assumed Kirby's Adventure was the first Kirby game, but it turns out the old cotton candy ball of fun had a previous adventure for the Game Boy. Unfortunately, the game is not a classic like its NES sequel was, but I still found myself having an enjoyable time progressing through each of Kirby Dream Land's five outstanding levels.
The level designs are definitely the highlight of this game. From the typical forest to a maze-like castle, there's not much innovation here, but the levels are full of winding paths and hidden items to break up the side scrolling monotony. Levels are multi-sectioned into smaller areas, and they range from typical side scrolling fare to vertical scrolling areas. Some levels are wide open affairs with a few different paths to go through, especially as you progress through the game.
Enemies are placed in interesting spots, although they are really easy to get by due to Kirby's unique floating ability. If you hold down up, you can fly in the air as Kirby holds his breath. This makes getting through most of the levels a lot easier than if it was just the usual side scrolling jump and attack type gameplay, and it's one of the several unique features that makes Kirby such an endearing character and series.
Unfortunately, another one of those unique features is not implemented in this game. In most of his adventures, Kirby can suck an enemy and push down to steal its power. This enables him to use everything from fire breath to a sword. However, that ability is simply not in this game. I found this to be lousy and is one of the main reasons I reduced the score to a 6. The game is still fun, but without being able to steal enemy powers, it feels a little too much like a regular platformer. Heck, if you took out the flying ability, I would barely be able to recognize this as a Kirby game!
One "feature" that the developers managed to leave in was the obscene lack of difficulty. There's only five levels in the game, and four of them are super easy and prevent little challenge. The bosses have simple patterns that take about 4 seconds or so to figure out. The only mildly challenging part was the end, where you have to defeat harder versions of all four bosses in a row. However, once I figured out their patterns (10 seconds this time!), they were a breeze as well. I managed to beat this game in 32 minutes flat my first time through, only dying twice. I got 3 extra lives, so technically I gained a life throughout my playthrough. What a challenge.
Graphically, Kirby's Dream Land is a terribly dated game, but I am sure the graphics were fine back in the day. The enemies are designed decently enough and do have some decent variety to them. The backgrounds are black and white and dull, but some levels do have some life to them. The music is standard Kirby fare. Fun and upbeat but not particularly memorable, except for the classic stage complete theme song that has been carried through the series for years.
The game does have an extra mode when you complete the first mode, making everything a little more challenging, so there might be some replay value there. Unfortunately, percentage completion would not be added until the next games in the series, so there's not too much replay value here. It's good for a quick runthrough, but you'll probably find yourself going through the better games in the series before trying this one again.
That's pretty much all there is to say about this one. While nowhere near a classic like some of the other games in the series, it was the first and manages to be an easy, yet enjoyable, experience, and definitely is a game I recommend playing. It's worth a shot just to see how Kirby got his roots.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/07
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