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Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES) artwork

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES) review

"Although not with plenty of flaws, Kirby Super Star was a giant step in the right direction. Having several moves at your disposal that varied with each power and combining multiple styles of gameplay was much better than the previous aging Kirby formula. The game was only slightly above average, but at least there seemed to be some life in the Kirby series. "

Although not with plenty of flaws, Kirby Super Star was a giant step in the right direction. Having several moves at your disposal that varied with each power and combining multiple styles of gameplay was much better than the previous aging Kirby formula. The game was only slightly above average, but at least there seemed to be some life in the Kirby series.

Kirbyís Dream Land 3, the Dream Land seriesí true successor, was released over a year later. Instead of adopting the good parts of Super Star, as well as everything that made the NES and Game Boy games great, it completely ignores all of the positive aspects. As a result it plays far worse than the original on the Game Boy (or the NES if you want to go back that far). It is an absolutely terrible platformer that wonít even please the most diehard Kirby fan.

The three main things Kirby is noted for are the abilities to float in the air like a giant balloon, suck up and spit out enemies, and use swallowed enemiesí powers. Unfortunately none of this is fun in Dream Land 3, partially due to the terrible controls. You see, Kirby cannot move and perform an action at the same time, such as moving and floating. This isnít too much of a problem when youíre on the ground, since the ďrun Ďn suckĒ concept was never implanted into a Kirby game, but it really makes floating and swimming very difficult, especially the former. If you want to move while floating, you have to float up, glide to the left/right while descending, and then float upwards again. So basically you canít move forwards (or backwards) unless you descend about halfway or mash the ĎBí button quickly enough to tire you out in a few seconds.

Having to move that way makes this ability more tiresome and annoying than fun. But itís the lack of secrets that makes floating pointless. In past Kirby games, the camera would move with Kirby, and sometimes allow you to float to new areas. In Dream Land 3 the camera stays in a fixed position, which completely restricts you from going anywhere but forward. Because of the camera and poor controls, the floating feature is worthless, unless youíre at one of the few points in the game where you have to get to a ledge that canít be reached by a single jump. The floating was one of the best parts about a Kirby game, and the exclusion of it takes away half of the fun.

Too bad the ground/water portions are just as bad. Dream Land 3 is one boring, uneventful, and linear game. Each level will give you the perception that there are multiple paths, but in reality there are just many doors that all lead to the same place. You can take the first door or the next door down at the end of the corridor, but the only thing traveling a little further will do is drop you off a bit later in the next room. Kirbyís Dream Land 2 was a freaking Game Boy game, and it still managed to offer several different paths and tons of secrets. Dream Land 3 is on a machine thatís more than twice as powerful as the Game Boy, yet it canít offer as much as a game that came before it on an inferior system did.
Since the levels are so linear, you would at least expect something new, right? That isnít the case here. Thereís still a grassy world (with Wispy Woods as the boss), a water world, a mountain world, etc. They fail not only to provide something new, but something somewhat interesting. Everything has been done before with a better variety of enemies (more on this in a second), a greater challenge, and more secrets. Go figure.

Many of the powers from past Kirby games are present, such as fire, stone, wizard, and cutter, but you will rarely come across most of them. Iíve probably encountered about 6-8 powers (which is meager compared to Super Starís 30 or so), but most were seen only once or twice. Swinging a boomerang with cutter is pretty cool. Too bad I only saw one or two enemies throughout the course of the game that offered this ability. Most enemies donít give any abilities at all, and are super easy to defeat. To spice things up your animal helpers are back, although with the exception of the fish they arenít much of a help (the only reason why the fish isnít worthless is because of the unresponsive swimming controls without it). The giant hamster was great in Dream Land 2 for running through levels which required it, but now he moves too sluggishly and makes life more difficult. The owl and bird would normally be great for cruising through the sky, but they are plagued by the same problems that Kirbyís floating has.

Dream Land 3 doesnít even look good. Normally I wouldnít care about graphics for a 16-bit game, but this is just bad. Everything is clear and distinguishable, but somethingís wrong when a SNES game released six years earlier looks better. The saddest part is older SNES Kirby games, such as Super Star and Dream Course completely blow it out of the water in terms of visual appeal. Kirbyís Dream Land 3 is certainly no Mohawk and definitely not unplayable, but the entire game is completely insipid, sloppy, and ugly. Unfortunately worse games do exist, but practically anything will give you a more enthralling experience.

Halon's avatar
Community review by Halon (December 03, 2008)

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overdrive posted December 03, 2008:

I bought this game a long time ago and "beat" it, but realized that to fight the real final boss, you had to complete each level's task vaguely given to you by a random person/object. It didn't take long for me to give up on that. I think it might have been Samus' Metroid-killing job that did it for me because there are no ice power giving monsters in that level and after finally finding one somewhere else, I screwed up and lost it. Got pissed off and never played it again.

I'll have to play it sometime. I remember not really liking it, but not disliking it to the same level you do. Like a 4 or so level. So it'd be interesting to see what I think about nowadays.
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Halon posted December 03, 2008:

I played it just over a year ago for the Alphabetolympics (what this review was written for) and got about as far as you. It has nothing going for it; it looks like ass (even Kirby's Super Star looked better), plays sluggishly and sticks to the same tired formula and made it duller than ever before. I wasn't expecting it to be any good but at least thought it would be half decent.

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