Kirby’s Dream Land – Game Boy
Platform: Game Boy
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Release Date (NA): August 1st, 1992
Nerd Rating: 6 out of 10
Family Rating: 8 out of 10
Hello folks! ZB here. Are you ready for a f***ing family friendly review? (See what I did there?)
Well then. Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy. Doesn’t get any f***ing friendlier than that. Enough bulls***…on with the review!
Everybody knows Kirby, right? And everybody loves him too. So what’s the point of me even writing this review?
For the money, of course!
For those of you who don’t know, Kirby is a pink, round, puffball of a hero who made his debut in Kirby’s Dream Land for Game Boy. That’s right, Kirby was the original portable hero (Sorry Wario, you were over a year too late).
Kirby is kind of like that character your childhood friend would make up when you were playing pretend.
“My character’s name is Kirby. He can fly, and he can eat your character. But he can also steal your character’s powers. And anyone’s powers. And he can shoot enemies back at you that he sucked up, or eat them. So he can basically do anything. He can also body slam you. Oh, yeah, and if he wants to attack, all he has to do is swallow air and shoot it at you.”
That about sums him up. Only in this game, he cannot yet steal powers. If you press down while he’s carrying an enemy in his mouth, the trapped opponent will simply perish.
You do have a couple power-ups though, such as a bomb that will annihilate anyone in its path, a microphone that will destroy everyone on screen, that Super-spicy Curry we know so well in the Super Smash Bros. games, the obligatory invincibility item, and a mint leaf that grants you unlimited air puffs while you fly.
The graphics are cute and charming. Kirby and the world he inhabits are very simple in design – perfect for the original Game Boy’s capabilities. The visuals are sharp and Kirby is quite lovable and lively with his adorable little dances and his amusing antics during the delightful cut-scenes.
Before I go into game-play, let me indulge in a little personal history for a bit. I was given this game when I was around eight years old. That was the time I got my first Game Boy Pocket, so I was immersed in the world of Nintendo’s flagship handheld system. Oddly enough, I would later grow to not care for portable gaming that much. Either way…
I have an unequivocal memory of beating this game easily, even at such a young age. The low difficulty and rather short duration colored my experience with Kirby’s Dream Land and likely played a part in forming my negative opinion of handheld gaming. Although I think I enjoyed it, I traded it in rather quickly as it posed no personal value in my collection. I have not played it since.
Until this day.
As a result, harsh judgments were forming in my brain. And at first, the experience was conforming to my expectations.
Kirby’s Dream Land is indeed short. Very short. So short, you could probably beat it during a commercial break. In fact, I’ve prepared a small list of companion activities that are just long enough for you to complete this game:
- Taking a dump
- Cooking breakfast
- Brushing your teeth
- Getting adult-circumcised- whoops! Sorry, forgot this is a family-friendly review!
Okay…maaaaaaybe I’m exaggerating.
The game consists of five easy-breezy levels. I beat it on my first try. Heck, I beat it easily when I was eight.
Though a couple bosses may challenge you toward the end, their patterns are fairly easy and predictable. Even the final boss, King DeDeDe, isn’t much of a threat. I will note while we’re on the subject, Lolo and Lala from HAL laboratory’s Adventures of Lolo series appear as bosses, which is strange to me. Who ever thought those two innocent teardrops would turn to a life of crime?
The level design and enemies are all fairly simple. Controls live up to Nintendo standards, and even though Kirby can fly, the overall layout of stages prevents you from taking advantage of this ability…in most cases, anyway.
When Kirby inhales for flight, there’s a momentary delay. Jumping is much more immediate, but having a floating ability can encourage the player to ignore his regular jump. Certain circumstances will favor jumping over flying, and the sooner you embrace this, the less you’ll take hits. Not that it makes much of a difference.
Seriously, you will beat this game before you even know it. You might even be able to blow through it without receiving a single hit…if you’re a far superior gamer than myself. But once you beat DeDeDe…it’s not quite over.
Yup, you got it. This is one of those games with a “second quest.” Now I’m not a fan of this tactic. Some older games, such as Super Mario Bros. and Virtual Boy Wario Land, included the old “B” Quest as a way to lengthen the experience without having to design and program more content. I normally find it to be a cop-out, but in the case of Kirby’s Dream Land, it’s what saves the game. The B Quest is way more difficult with a ton of enemies thrown at you, faster bosses, and extra obstacles. You even see some opponents you did not encounter the first time around. This is the mode that will give you more of a run for your money. I don’t think I played the second quest when I was eight, which could explain why I had such a low opinion of the game before.
While this mode proves to be much more difficult, it is still very manageable. With an unlimited supply of continues, there’s not much at stake when you die. The worst thing you’ll encounter is strained vocal cords from yelling at the tiny screen after an endless supply of beatings from DeDeDe.
(Yes, it can be quite annoying after a while.)
Even before the second quest, Kirby’s Dream Land did impress me more than I expected. Despite its overly simplistic gameplay, it is fun. It even throws you a little space shooter-type boss to mix things up a bit.
The music, of course, is very memorable. The tunes are easy to hum and add to the delight of this already perky world in which Kirby lives. Perfect for the little ears, and fun and engaging for the obscene ears.
Kirby’s Dream Land presents us with a very clever character in a very imaginative world full of light, cheery imagery. It’s the beginning of a great franchise, and not a bad one at that. The game does lack in replay value, considering how easy it is – even with the second quest. And his ability to obtain enemy powers that would later be introduced in Kirby’s Adventure would only serve to improve what the first game brought to the table.
I’d say this game is safe for all ages. I would have given it a perfect 10/10 family rating, but then I saw these things…
Okay, that’s not entirely true. I give it an 8/10 because it’s not educational. And I guess technically there’s some mild violence?
(I mean…I don’t really know what is and isn’t appropriate for kids.)
All in all, Kirby’s Dream Land would be a good game to give to your kid. After all, it was made to be beatable by children. There is also fun to be had by adults, but just don’t expect too much. You can beat the entire game in a half hour and never need to go back, especially when there are better entries in the series.
Have a merry f***ing Christmas, Baconeers!
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