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Kirby's Dreamland Review

Kirby'a Dream Land Cover

Released for the Gameboy in 1992, Kirby's Dream Land is the first game released in Nintendo's quirky Kirby games series. Starring the adorable and gluttonous puffball Kirby, this title represents a bold edition in Nintendo's Game Boy platformers, adding a great sense of verticality and scale to what was at the time, a very linear Genre. However although this is a fun title that did its best to shake up a very formulaic genre, Kirby's Dreamlands short run time and lack of core appealing gameplay holds it back from becoming a truly brilliant platforming classic.

Kirby'a Dream Land Gameboy

Kirby's Dreamlands most striking initial impression is in its character and game design, with a adorable and child like approach to its game world. The tone is set through the main character, Kirby, a white puffball with a sweet design and the ability to fly as well as to eat enemies whole (a rather dark ability in such a bright and upbeat game). Everything in the game is presented in a light and deliberately cute design, from anthropomorphic trees, bright stars to collect and even the enemies looking like they would be right at home in a children's toy section. This look gives the game a fun and light tone throughout, and helps gives it a unique and memorable appeal when compared to many other titles.

Kirby'a Dream Land Gameboy

Unlike most platformers of its generation which often funnel the player through a corridor designed level, Kirby introduces a great amount of verticality to its level design, with one of Kirby's key abilities being able to float through the air. This allows a fantastic deal of verticality to be added to the level design, and this allows the game to not simply follow a singular linear path like many other platformers of its day. However despite this gameplay element being added not enough is done with this ability, and floating across the map often offers the player a quick and easy way to complete levels without encountering much resistance. This is in complete opposition to the path the player can take at ground level, a much more difficult journey where dodging enemies and using Kirby's move set is key to progressing.

Kirby'a Dream Land Gameboy

This duality of playstyle means that Kirby can be a very different game depending on how you approach it. As mentioned above, the ground level will provide a reasonable challenge for players to navigate, and players of older platformers will be at home in the traditional jumping and avoiding enemies gameplay that is quintessential of the genre. However the sheer amount of enemies on the screen at once can become overwhelming, meaning that the player will often take to the air to avoid danger, often skipping large sections of the level with ease in the process. This is also combined with how short Kirby is, with experienced players being able to complete the game in under two hours.

Despite being a fun and lively edition to Nintendo's roster of games, Kirby's Dreamland does not deliver on providing a first class platformer, instead delivering a base that future Kirby titles would expand upon and refine.

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