The Pink Puffball at his worst.
Kirby has always been one of, if not, the best franchise for me as every game starring the plucky little guy is a blast to play from start to finish – well, almost all of them. Kirby’s Dreamland 3 is the very late SNES edition of this classic series and is also the least enjoyable in my mind.
I have never appreciated when a game makes you go out of your way to find all the extra pieces in levels in order to beat the game’s final boss. Dreamland 3 has an extra thing to find/do in every level, and these range from obvious to the completely obscure. Most of the time there is no hint given beyond a small picture on the level select screen as to what one is meant to do in order to achieve this extra goal (that you have to do to unlock the final boss), thus making it pretty much impossible to achieve all these extra goals without the constant aid of a guide or walkthrough. As such, I have not actually managed to completely finish the game and received the “half credits” for beating King Dedede; I may go back to do these extra things at a later date, but to be honest it doesn’t seem likely.
Despite this being a great sticking point personally, some could see that having to achieve every single extra goal in order to beat the final boss as a good way of increasing the game’s length and difficulty, but I doubt anyone could argue that the game could do a much better job at giving you hints as to what to do in order to achieve all the extra goals in every level.
However, despite this (in my opinion) major flaw, the game does play as well as Kirby 64 (which has a similar problem involving having to collect everything in order to beat the final boss) but Kirby 64 was never the best the series had to offer. Dreamland 3 plays a little too slow, and the level design is not up to scratch with the best of the franchise; the levels play out a tad too long due to the overall slower pace of the game and often feel a little empty.
As the game came very late into the SNES’s life you can be assured that it is a lovely looking game. It has a very artsy crayon style to it, bringing the game to life and presenting Kirby in a way that has not been seen since. At times however, there is too much going on in the foreground – vastly obscuring the playing field. On the other hand, these foreground effects often look very good and really liven up the screen. Animation is where the game brings its own – every character on screen is brilliantly animated to the point of perfection, bringing every single unique characteristic to each enemy and hero fantastically to life. At times this fantastic sprite-work and animation is so great that it genuinely made me laugh (the helper characters are brilliantly devised and animated to the point of hilarity, particularly the fish).
Kirby’s Dreamland 3 is not a bad game; it is a bad Kirby game. It looks fantastic, has wonderfully animated characters brimming with unique personalities and plays fairly well; but on the flipside contains one of my personal pet hates in video games (forcing you to do extra things in order to beat the final boss), its general slower pace, the occasional slight emptiness and the complete vagueness of how to achieve the extra elements In each and every level make what could have been a good Kirby game into a bad one.
Kirby’s Dreamland 3 may be the worst Kirby game, but it is still worth a play for any fans of the franchise if not only for the brilliant animation and graphics.