GamingReview: Kirby's Dream Course

Review: Kirby’s Dream Course

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Seems like Sega was not the only one to experiment with their video-games in the nineties. Nintendo clearly did a few experiments of its own given the original release of Kirby’s Dream Course on the SNES.

This Kirby title is unlike anything that the pink creature has starred in. Even when compared to the likes of more unique recent title such as Kirby: Power Paintbrush. Perhaps one of the mains reasons for this is how it is played. Although newer Kirby titles make use of touch screens to control him, at the very least it still gives the player a meaningful method to interact with the character.

Whereas Dream Course is similar to playing golf without any of the benefits of feeling confident about the direction of the ball. The idea is to complete several levels within a course. Each level consists of defeating enemies until there is only one enemy left that transforms into an exit hole.

Kirby's Dream Course

It’s a straightforward concept that barely changes with progress, despite the few obstacles introduced in harder levels, such as spikes. There is also the fact that Kirby can fall over the edge of the level map. Not only that, but there is a limited amount of health points and Kirby will lose a life if all are used before reaching the exit. A health point is lost when moving and by getting hit by certain enemies or obstacles. At least, it is possible to regain a health point by defeating an enemy or reaching the exit hole. There is certainly a few ways of dying in this Kirby title. Perhaps that is what makes losing all lives so frustrating as it means having to restart a course from the very beginning. Lose every life on the last level of the course and it’s back to the start. Fortunately it’s possible to at least create a Virtual Console restore point at the start of every level, for those who do not mind making use of features that were not included in the original release of the title.

Before moving Kirby, it is necessary to give him a set of instructions. First it is possible to pick a move direction. Then it’s necessary to quickly decide how far Kirby will move. In practice these somewhat rudimentary movement controls make it quite difficult to ascertain where Kirby will move. If trying to move Kirby to somewhere far away it is difficult to know to know for sure that he won’t fall out of the map. The mere fact that there is no direct control over Kirby when he is moving only makes it worse.

Even the use of abilities such as jumping in some levels doesn’t make it any easier to control the pink guy, once he has started moving. In fact, these abilities usually make it harder because it’s quite difficult to for example use the jump ability to go to a higher platform with a fast moving Kirby.

Given the nature of the title, it also means that there isn’t much variety. It’s surprising given that typical Kirby titles are usually enjoyable to play, despite the fact that they are easy to complete. The lack of any other modes makes the lack of content all the more apparent. Even the two player mode feels redundant given that it would mean having to share the Nintendo 3DS handheld to take turns.

Kirby's Dream Course

At the very least Dream Course makes good use of the colourful assets from the land of Dreamland. Each course is filled with familiar enemies and locations from the Kirby universe. It’s just a shame that it’s not as pleasant to play the title as it is to look at it. The soundtrack is also another area that the title excels in with some catch music tracks.

As a Virtual Console port, Dream Course is easily one of the better ones available on the Nintendo 3DS. Perhaps it is due to the simple nature of the title, but there were no technical issues, such as noticeable frame rate drops. Given the simple nature of the title it also doesn’t suffer from only supporting the native resolution and slightly wider resolution with the side black borders.

Despite being one of the better Virtual Console ports on the latest Nintendo handheld, this is also easily one of the weakest Kirby titles. Whilst there is no doubt that it was good of Nintendo to try and experiment with one of its key brands, it is still a mostly unsuccessful experiment. With this in mind, it is difficult to recommend the title to anyone besides hardcore Kirby fans, when there are much better Kirby titles already available.

SUMMARY

+ Really good use of the Kirby universe in terms of visuals and soundtrack.
- Terrible controls that make is difficult to plan where Kirby will move to.
- Uninspiring level design.

(Reviewed on New Nintendo 3DS, also available on Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo Wii)

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Review: Kirby's Dream Course+ Really good use of the Kirby universe in terms of visuals and soundtrack. </br> - Terrible controls that make is difficult to plan where Kirby will move to.</br> - Uninspiring level design.</br> </br> (Reviewed on New Nintendo 3DS, also available on Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo Wii)