Game Review: Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land

06 Aug

Kirby NiDLOriginal Release: 26 September 2003
Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
Virtual Console Release: 17 July 2014
Price: £6.29

When you love a game enough, you’ll own multiple copies of it on as many platforms as possible. For example, I own Kirby’s Adventure on the Wii U (a terrible version owing to the limitations of the PAL NES), 3DS (as a 3D Classic, which is a fantastic version) and again on Wii U in the form of Nightmare in Dream Land, an enhanced remake for the Game Boy Advance.

Some might say that owning that many versions of the same Kirby game is excessive, but you couldn’t be more wrong. People who think that clearly just weren’t hugged enough as a child and have grown up to become stunted adults unable to see the wonder of having all these versions of the pink one’s first home console adventure. I don’t judge these people, and I certainly wouldn’t ban them from my home. But if they hang around they’re not getting the good coffee and they certainly can’t play with my Kirby amiibo.

Oh Wispy, it's time to give you another ass whipping!

Oh Whispy, it’s time to give you another ass whipping!

The Plot

Being as pink and adorable as Kirby is can be exhausting, which is why the little guy takes frequent naps. Unlike his other naps, however, this one wasn’t filled with glorious dreams. Worried by this Kirby goes off to the Fountain of Dreams to check that everything’s OK, where he discovers that the Star Rod, the source of the Fountain’s powers, has been stolen and broken by King Dedede.

The broken Star Rod pieces are now being held by Whispy Woods, Paint Roller, Mr. Shine and Mr. Bright, Kracko, Heavy Mole, Meta Knight, and King Dedede himself. Without the Fountain all of Dream Land’s inhabitants are starting to get a little ratty because, without dreams, they can’t get a decent night’s sleep.

To restore order to Dream Land’s nap times Kirby will have to journey long and far to beat the crap out of those holding on to the Star Rod fragments.

Let Kirby's gentle melodies lull you off to dream land...

Let Kirby’s gentle melodies lull you off to dream land…

The Gameplay

Nightmare in Dream Land is a traditional platformer, so the main goal is to get from the left-hand side of the screen to the right while trying not to take damage from enemies in the process. What makes most Kirby games more suited to young gamers is the fact that, unlike the likes of Mario, he isn’t bound to the ground and can inflate and fly whenever the player chooses. In most courses this means that the majority of ground-based obstacles can be avoided should the player so choose.

What Kirby’s Adventure introduced to the series (absent from Kirby’s first game, Kirby’s Dream Land) is Kirby’s signature copy ability. Most enemies have certain powers (a laser, a sword, etc.) that Kirby can steal by inhaling the enemy and swallowing them. These powers make getting around the levels significantly easier, but certain ones are also essential to solving certain puzzles and finding the game’s many hidden items.

As with most Kirby games Nightmare in Dream Land isn’t particularly difficult and won’t take you tremendous amounts of time to finish the main story. The main challenge comes in trying to find all of the hidden rooms and collectables, and it was with great pride that this became the first Kirby game I’ve 100%-ed 🙂

Graphically the game has all the charm you would expect from the Game Boy Advance, and it translates very well on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, either by playing it on the Gamepad or playing it full screen on the TV (in which case I would recommend turning screen smoothing on, otherwise the game can be a bit pixellated). As with all GBA Virtual Console games, however, multiplayer link up has been disabled.

A great personal victory.

A great personal victory.

The Feelings

As always, Kirby elicits feelings of pure joy and elation in me. I wish I could explain it (and all of the gods above know I’ve tried), but there’s just something about seeing this little guy dance when he beats a boss that gives me one of those smiles where happiness goes straight through you.

Kirby’s Adventure was a delightful little game that pushed the original NES’ hardware to the limits with its presentation. Nightmare in Dream Land retains all of the joy and fun of the original and breathes new life into it with its updated graphics and sound. You also get three mini games that weren’t included in the original thrown into the mix, so there’s really nothing here to complain about. But even if you were to complain, please don’t think that I would think any less of you or your inability to feel happiness.

My Final Rating: 7 / 10


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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in Game Review


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