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Game Review

3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

A great game gets an underwhelming paint job

In 1993 the NES got a latter-day boon from a truly brilliant addition to its library: Kirby's Adventure. Still regarded today as one of the strongest titles on the console, it boasted an unforgettable soundtrack, stunningly creative visuals and gameplay innovations that became Kirby staples from there onward.

It was, in short, a fantastic game, and in our Kirby's Adventure review we reflected on how impressively it held up as an experience. Its controls are still tight and not one ounce of charm has dissipated over the years, and that holds true even today, as Kirby's Adventure sees another release as a 3D Classic.

Unlike the Virtual Console release, however, 3D Classics: Kirby's Adventure comes with some additional features, the most obvious of which is, of course, the fact that it's in 3D. Unfortunately that effect, and a few other alterations, are somewhat underwhelming.

Kirby's Adventure finds the pink puffball traversing a large, sprawling and varied Dreamland in order to restore the dreams stolen by the evil King Dedede, who absconded with the precious Star Rod. The various worlds are all imaginative and lovingly realised, with background music that ranks among the best in the series. Many levels have special exits that lead to additional minigames, and completionists will have a ball finding all of them, many of which are quite well hidden.

That was all true of the original release, of course, and that's the main draw of the 3D Classics version as well: a tight, fun, replayable gameplay experience. Sadly the potential of an upgraded re-release was only partially fulfilled.

We'll deal with the 3D effect first, as that's obviously a big selling point for the game. In honesty, it's not that impressive. Whereas previous games like 3D Classics: Excitebike used several background layers for parallax scrolling, nearly all of the backgrounds in Kirby's Adventure are one-layer affairs, making the effect somewhat more dull than one might expect. Several backgrounds do display multiple layers of depth, but those are easily outnumbered by the flat, unimpressive backgrounds that dominate the game.

Kirby, the platforms and the enemies are all in the main layer of play, of course, and every so often a tree branch will appear in order to make use of the foreground, but beyond that the depth adds almost nothing, and that's disappointing, as the other 3D Classics we've seen so far — TwinBee in particular — have done a great job of making that depth feel organic, and not at all like the afterthought it appears to be here.

There's a puzzling disregard for the bottom screen as well. The game displays nothing there at all, which is strange given the fact that each of Kirby's abilities has an information card that could be displayed at the appropriate times. There's no map, no hints, not even any filler animation. It goes totally unused, and considering the fact that even the mindless Urban Champion found a use for the bottom screen, that's just lazy.

The game does save your progress automatically, and it also saves your highest scores, but the score resets if you stop playing the game — whether or not you lose all your lives — which seems rather bizarre, and limits the usefulness of keeping track of the scores in the first place. It's destined to be the least useful high score table in the entire 3D Classics library.

All in all, though, the game itself remains as fun as ever, and the bite-sized levels and extremely fun mini-games (we particularly enjoyed the quick draw showdowns) make the game perfect for portability. For those looking for Kirby Adventure on the go, your wish is granted. Anybody who expected something more of the 3D Classics upgrade, though, might find themselves disappointed.


There's no questioning the quality of Kirby's Adventure: it was one of the NES's standout titles, and every ounce of its charm remains intact today. Hidden exits, fun minigames and fantastic stage design all come together to make this an endlessly replayable experience, but the 3D Classics upgrade doesn't really bring much to the table in addition. In fact, aside from portability, there's really nothing to recommend it over the Virtual Console release, and that's a shame.

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User Comments (72)



SuperSpank said:

I already own and beat the VC version and i couldn't see the 3D effect in the trailer. So i wont get this one.



6ch6ris6 said:

already played through this game on the wii's VC.

very cool game. i would recommened it to everyone who never played it. sadly the 3d effect is not so great from what i have seen in trailer avaible in the e-shop



Supremeist said:

I've already decided on this one, I'm definitely going to get it. Never played through this one, would love to give it a shot in 3D.



FluttershyGuy said:

In that case, I'll stick to Wii VC Kirby, and save a few bucks in the process. I hope they do better with Kid Icarus!



MasterGraveheart said:

I'll pick this one up eventually, but there are other titles I need to download first, like Super Mario Land 2 and Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge. You know, games I got gyped out of when I got a Game Gear instead of a Game Boy... OH THE SHAME!!! ;_;



Monsti said:

I totally agree that this is a week update, but the portability got me...



cheetahman91 said:

Kirby's Adventure is a great game but $7 is a bit much, especially if the 3D effects aren't even all that great.



SLiM said:

I agree with the price tag being a little high. When I decide to pick this up I might buy the Wii VC one and skip the lackluster 3D.



warioswoods said:

Disagree! For me, the 3D effect added makes all the difference in the world.

Original NES titles like this one, using a lot of color and saturated settings, had one big visual problem: distinguishing the layers of foreground and background. I can't tell you how many times in an NES game I thought something was a platform when it was part of the background, or vice versa; everything kind of ran together. The SNES had parallax scrolling to create the necessary separation, but the NES couldn't do much to help itself here.

The 3D effect actually handles the problem even better than 2D parallax, IMO, and makes the layers of the world pull apart like papercraft in a diorama. Everything just looks so much more crisp, clean, and defined than ever before.

This effect alone would make me gladly replay all my favorite NES platformers.



NintyMan said:

Really? I think this is my favorite 3D Classic so far. It's a portable Kirby's Adventure with the 3D giving it a papery look. It's certainly better than Urban Champion. If anything, I think the shrunken top screen is odd, but it would have been nice if they found some use for the bottom screen.

Here's hoping 3D Classics: Kid Icarus comes soon. I'm not sure if you would like it much better since it's also a platformer that will likely have the 3D backgrounds, but it's going to be a classic that's portable too.



sc100 said:

I really like the 3D effect of this game and think it adds a lot. It's not as amazing as in, say, Ocarina of Time 3D but I think it makes the game look a lot better with the backgrounds looking less stale and with different depths. Plus, these NES games look really good on the 3DS as we saw with the 10 NES ambassador games. If you really like Kirby's Adventure, I'd say definitely pick it up.



Philip_J_Reed said:

It's certainly better than Urban Champion.

I don't think anyone would disagree with you there!

Original NES titles like this one, using a lot of color and saturated settings, had one big visual problem: distinguishing the layers of foreground and background. I can't tell you how many times in an NES game I thought something was a platform when it was part of the background, or vice versa.

I never had that problem with the original, but yes, for folks who did, then this should help a good deal.



alvieao said:

Nintendo, HAL Laboratory and Arika did a splendid job with the 3D Classics version of Kirby's Adventure. Everything remains intact in this 3D Classics version, especially the iconic intro of the Kirby's drawing sequence. The 3D effects are subtle yet pleasant to look at, even more when you set it to maximum. While an NES game it may be, I really wish Kirby's Adventure was redone in a widescreen presentation instead of using borders. Also, the bottom display could at least included something like filler Kirby animations, a stage map, or even info on Kirby's copy abilities (instead of just pausing the game to see them). All that being said, Kirby's Adventure remains a classic platformer that must be experienced.



iphys said:

Kirby looks tiny. They should have put the bottom panel on the bottom screen and tried to scale the rest to fit the 3DS top screen approximately instead of having the border. I liked the way they redid Excitebike and Xevious to use the whole screen instead of just using a border.



warioswoods said:

"I never had that problem with the original, but yes, for folks who did, then this should help a good deal"

Hey, you tricked me, I wanted to make this about your defective eyes not appreciating the 3D.



Raylax said:

"Additionally, the game's introductory sequence — in which the game adorably teaches you to draw Kirby — has been excised from this release."

Actually, it's still there. Leave the title to run for a few seconds without pressing anything, it's in the idle cycle with the storyline screens, demo play and control tutorial.
Still a little odd that the game doesn't start with it and instead cuts straight to the title, but it's certainly in there.



grumblegrumble said:

"the 3D doesn't bring much to the table"... ARE YOU KIDDING? I think it's 'just right', anymore 3-D and it would be a strain on my eyes, seriously. It sounds like you are just reaching to find something wrong here. $6.99 to me is a good price for this game (some have complained of the high price point. The Nintendo website lists it at 5.99.) In order for Nintendo to have added more 3-D to this release, they would have had to work on this way longer, which is probably why the 3-D is one layered here and not more intense. I find it to be perfect! This is a fantastic game, superb playability and the 3-D makes it much more in depth and fun. The mini games are cute and the characters are unforgettable. I would give this a 9/10.



grumblebuzzz said:

I really feel like the 3D in this game somehow isn't seen the same way by everyone. To me, I see plenty of layers of depth and the backgrounds and foregrounds almost look like construction paper cut outs, leaving me pretty impressed with the 3D effect. It's odd how some people are saying they can't tell much difference but a few (like me) can.



BenAV said:

I have all the 3D Classics so far and I don't have this game in any other form so I'll be sure to pick it up as soon as I have the money.



6ch6ris6 said:

does it has the same framerate issues like the original?

would add even more nostalgica xD



Doobah said:

The drawing screen is still there. It looks great. 3D is subtle but looks nice ( I went into options and bumped it to full ). Colors look more vibrant then the NES version. It's super loud. Controls are spot on.

There is none of the flicker or slowdown of the NES ( Wii VC ) version and it has complete audio at all times ( audio drops on occasion in the NES version ). This version has none of the NES limitations.

This is the best version of Kirby's Adventure.



theberrage said:

I'd give the game itself a 9/10. I wish I knew about the screen size before I bought it. Woops! Now I'm having buyers remorse. The small screen bothers me and brings my score to 6/10.



bboy2970 said:

Nice review! I had bought this game on the Wii VC when it came out but due to other big releases around the same time, the poor thing unfortunately got buried before I really got into it. I decided to buty this because let's be honest, its a Nintendo property, I'm gonna buy it! I am in the 4th area and am really enjoying it a great deal. I think the 3D while not super noticeable is still a nice addition. A 2D platformer with 3D layers just looks very appealing to me and really whets my appetite for similar games on the horizon such as Mutant Mudds. Also, as others have said, the fact that the 3DS splits up the layers makes it WAY easier to distinguish foreground from background and leads to a whole lot less attempts to land on a platform that is in fact in the background. Overall I'm very happy with my purchase and would certainly give Kirby a very solid 8/10...maybe 9 on a good day



SunnySnivy said:

@34 Wow, 3 points for screen size... seriously? The other VC games on the 3DS are the same...

Portability is enough of a reason for me. Will download.



Dodger said:

@SunnySnivy But the VC games aren't in 3D. This should of been in widescreen because it just looks weird with the 3D and no widescreen.

My problem with this is that it just seems lazy. The graphics in Excitebike and the other 3D classics are creative and good looking. Nice pixel art, stuff added in the background, Etc. Even Urban Champion looks nice. It seems like they wanted to do that with this game but then looked at it and noticed that Kirby's Adventure is actually a long game and added minor 3D and a pink border to a 3DS Ambassador game. I might get it because I wanted this game on my 3DS but the 3D adds so little that I'll probably play with it off. None of the new features add anything, actually.



Link79 said:

If you don't already have this on Wii VC I highly suggest you get it.
It's one of the best Nes platformers ever!
Also the 3D effect can be adjusted to be more noticeable.
What is seen in the trailer is not the maximum setting.



AVahne said:

Already got it and beat it 100% on VC and I have the GBA remake too, and 100% that too. So not much point in getting this one.



accc said:

What're you talking about Brutus? The drawing tutorial is still there! I agree that the 3D is pretty underwhelming, though.



StarDust4Ever said:

The 3D effect is definitely adequate. I may have to adjust the 3D effect a bit in options and set it to max. I'm currently mid-game and the options menu is not available until I return to the title screen. The reviewer obviously did not thoroughly investigate all options as there is a menu which displays the top 5 high scores. The 400,000 something points from my first play session is still there.

Additionally, I have stumbled upon a glitch (I'm currently playing in Level 4 Grape Garden). I first noticed it when I was playing the Kirby toy machine level and the background music stopped after a few seconds. Now everytime I enter a level, the music plays for about ten seconds, then stops, and the entire rest of the level is silent except for sound effects. It's kind of disconcerting as the BGM music of Kirby is one of the best of any NES game. It matches the whimsical colored graphics perfectly, and it saddens me that the audio has stopped. Has anyone else experienced this bug? Hopefully it corrects itself after I restart the game.



Kyloctopus said:

Maybe I should just get it for Wii. It sounds like it feels better for wii, especially with Ontario's 13% taxes. Sometimes I wish I lived in Edminton Alberta. With their not small but not big look, the West Edminton Mall, and the taxes are only 5%.



Henmii said:

"Additionally, the game's introductory sequence — in which the game adorably teaches you to draw Kirby — has been excised from this release"

That's stupid! It's such a iconic sequence!



accc said:

^It's also factually incorrect! The sequence is still in there!



WolfRamHeart said:

I was going to pass on this game due to the price but I decided to take a chance and download it so I could try it out for myself. So far I am really enjoying it. The visuals are extremely nice. Very colorful, the graphics are sharp and crisp. The 3D effect isn't mindblowing, it is subtle yet effective. I haven't experienced any slowdown which was apparently an issue in the Virtual Console version. My only complaints are that the screen display is really tiny and it is kind of expensive compared to the other 3D Classics in the eShop. Still, I feel that I got my money's worth out of this purchase. This game is great and lots of fun. I definitely recommended it.



James said:

Review updated to reflect the game's inclusion of the drawing sequence. You can all relax now



Geonjaha said:

I disagree about the 3D. Sure, there isnt as much 3D used here, but thats because instead of finding a game where 3D would really fit in well (eg. All other 3D Classics) they decided to pick a good one based on gameplay, which makes this one much more enjoyable than all the others anyway.

The 3D may not be the best, but later on in the game it shows nicely, and while at first I thought it wasnt used well enough, later on I came to see that the 3D they used was enough to make the game seem much nicer - at least from my perspective.

Overall - yes, it wasnt the best 3D-Classics makeover, but its still the best 3D-Classic out there, because the gameplay of the other games never comes close to this.



StarDust4Ever said:

I exited and rebooted the game and the audio bug has not resurfaced (see my post #45), which is fortunate.

To those complaining about the button layout and 3d depth: these are fully customizable in the options. I did not like the default button settings, so I changed them:

A/X: Jump
B/Y: Inhale or use ability
L/R: drop powerup (so I don't accidentally hit the buttons).

3D -> Max
Illumination -> Off

Illumination features "backlight" effect, that when turned off, makes the backgrounds slightly darker, which in my opinion adds depth to the 3D effect. With the setting turned on, all layers have the same brightness as the original NES palette.

My biggest complaint with the options menu is it's hard to find if you don't know it's there, and can only be accessed before you start the game.

I managed to get to the boss on level 4 (the cloud thingy) and it keeps licking my tail. (I never managed to beat the level 5 boss on the NES original, and only got to play levels 6 & 7 because the previous owner unlocked them for me). Why are NES bosses so much tougher than on modern consoles (Kirby's Dreamland Returns)?



Shock_Tart said:

@ Wiggler_Kart_7 the reason why you cant see the 3d effect in the trailer, like ALL 3d based games on the 3ds, is because you have to 1 own a 3ds to see the 3d. and 2 you have to actually have the game on said 3ds to see said 3d.

its a solid game, i got it for my 3ds and i have been playing it, 8 out of 10 i have to say is a good rating for this game. it definatly deserves it



grumblegrumble said:

@James Gee, thanks. I was waiting up just to see the review changed. Now I can sleep peacefully. LOL! Goodnight. I still think the review is quite harsh, but I like the score, so I'll hush now.



MakeMyBiscuit said:

I LOVE Kirby. I was actually introduced to Kirby on the 3DS VC. After beating it I immediately got it for the Wii VC. I was looking forward to this title but seeing how it is basically the same as the Wii VC version I might have to pass. At least on the Wii the screen was stretched to widescreen. The 3D is a big disappointment especially seeing how much effort they put into the 3D on a low quality game like Urban Champion. Who knows, I might still pick Kirby's Adventure up. At least I will be able to have the first 2 Kirby games on one system.

I'm still waiting to see some SegaScope 3D games on the 3D Classics like Space Harrier 3D. Come on Nintendo and Sega. Make it happen!



KeeperBvK said:

@ Shock_Tart: And what do you think where he watched the trailer? He's probably talking about having watched it on the 3DS e-Shop on his 3DS in 3D, d'oh. Try thinking before flaming.



Skotski said:

...well, in one defense: the eShop trailers kinda' are a poor judgment on 3D. They hardly pop out as much compared to in-game.



Rensch said:

The GBA version, released as Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland, was amazing. Too bad this one doesn't have much added content.



theberrage said:

grumblegrumble- Nope, not kidding. I have a hard time seeing the game due to the screen size, that's all. It makes playing the game significantly less enjoyable compared to the original.



Henmii said:

"It's also factually incorrect! The sequence is still in there!"

That's nice to hear!



Odnetnin said:

Wish it wasn't so overpriced--my money is going towards VVVVVV and NightSky instead.



JeanLuc_Vaycard said:

Not really overpriced with the amount of polish that went into it. $2 more for a very nice cleaned up version with beautiful 8 bit graphics and the occasional cool 3D effect. There is also no slow down or really any bugs that the original had. It's a nice version of my favorite Kirby game.



TKOWL said:

Nothing to recommend choosing this over the VC version?

Ummm, portability?



julianozuca said:

Very informative review. I would love to get this and replay such a classic but I just can't stand Nintendo's lazy approach to its re-releases...



mayhem13 said:

I dont know what people are seeing but I think the 3D effect looks great. Just as good as excitebike or any other 3D Classics games which means everythings looks like cutouts on various levels. Background is far away, foreground in the middle, Kirby, enemies and ground are in the front. You can also go to the options and make the 3D effect stronger if you want. Beyond what your slider will give you. You can make the whole screen bright or have it more honest to the NES Version. Something you have to see to understand. Beyond the portability, the other big thing is no slowdown. It plays smooth as silk.



SamsonCat said:

I bought this game today. The sound seems to be really loud. This is my first 3D classics game and it's an okay game. The 3D is a little shallow. I thought it would be ALL 3D, meaning it would have actual 3D polygon stuff going on instead of the original ROM-enhanced game. This game is just Kirby's Adventure, but with SHALLOW 3D GRAPHICS!



TikiTong said:

I just got it today, and I LOVE IT!!! I never experienced the original, and I can now, and it's amazing. I actually like the 3D, it adds depth to the platforms to make them stand out and it makes the backgrounds colours stand out and expand. I'd recommend it to anyone who has never played the original



TimboBaggins said:

I agree with the rating and the comments on the bottom screen, letterboxing, and lack of potential improvements.

However, I think the 3D effects are GREAT. The pictures (and preview) don't do it justice. There are some backgrounds that really work for 3d, like a waterfall that is flowing towards the screen, multilayered clouds, forest with lots of stuff in the foreground and background. This game is great in 3d....if they could have changed anything I wish they had just made the colors a little more vibrant, it looks a little washed out.



UnseatingKDawg said:

After playing through this (and Kirby's Dream Land), I have to say I'm impressed. I never really played Kirby games growing up. I do like the 3D visuals; they're quite nice and make many platforms stick out. My next task? Complete the Extra Game on both titles, and beat The Amazing Mirror.



Gioku said:

Never played the game before, and I got it as a gift, so it was great! I really like the 3D in it, too.



SonicTheBluBlur said:

Anyone else think Kirby is the most dangerous Nintendo character because of his deceptively cute appearance and personality? I mean, he can suck his enemies up and either spit them out as stars to take out more enemies or swallow them (I don't know how he can even eat since he doesn't seem to have a stomach) and use their powers!

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