Kirby's Dream Land 3 (1)

Genre: Platformer
Year: 1997
Developed by: HAL Labratory
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: SNES
#495
Feeling Like: Suck it up!

A bad Kirby game still has a lot to offer. Kirby is never not cute, or endearing. Especially to me, who has an unrealistic affinity for the little pink blob. I don’t need to justify why an A loves a game series that is probably more appropriate for the K’s; Kirby’s Dream Land for the Game Boy was one of the first games I ever beat and that kind of loyalty doesn’t go away.

Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is not anywhere close to my favorite in the series. It’s a mediocre platformer and being long in the tooth doesn’t improve that stature. However, as the last first party game to be published on the Super Nintendo, a worse swan song could’ve been sung.

You play as Kirby. You defend the impossibly cutesy forests, plains, waterways and more against an enemy has little motivation and offers less challenge. OK so not an incredible level of difficulty; where’s the charm?

Everywhere else. The graphics abandoned any sense of tradition and went with a really cool crayon/pastel look. I always love when developers try something new, even if it’s not a home run. This sort of experimentation would be evident in many Kirby iterations in the future, so we’re seeing the start of something special here. Props to HAL (not 9000).

Coo, the Owl, was easily the coolest part of Kirby’s Dream Land 2, in no small part to his amazing theme song. It’s one of the best songs on the Game Boy which is like saying it’s the least stale donut in a box of old Timbits, but still. Coo and several other animal buddies return. The fact that your abilities you stole from enemies transferred to your animal buddies was a very nice touch.

There’s so much weird here. Like how there are heart-stars. Or the ability to use a broom. Or the cameos from other Nintendo characters. Or the Simon-says mini-games. Or how the octopus really doesn’t look like an octopus.

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (3)
The COOlest animal buddy is far left.

 

Levels are a bit drab. I’m all for simplicity, but a lot of the areas are pretty flat, with not that much to explore. Thankfully, turning into a deathball of spikes while you land on top of an already pathetic minion is disturbingly satisfying. The soundtrack is whimsical, but was a constant reminder that Kirby’s Adventure basically did the same thing, but four years earlier and without Yoshi rip-0ffs.

C’est la vie, Waddle-Dee!

This title didn’t have a chance to make any kind of stamp. It was released nearly a year and a half after the N64. Oh sure, retro gaming and SNES appreciation is big now but back then, to say SNES graphics were more impressive would have gotten you excommunicated. Times change; the end credits look straight out of a children’s book. I mean that as a positive.

Speaking of, I shouldn’t be so harsh. Sometimes it’s nice to sway through colorful blocks with an octopus friend. I don’t need Dark Souls level of difficulty all the time, certainly not in my Kirby games. He’s not as tough as his Super Smash Brothers edition, but this cuddly crayola critter has something to say.

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