Kirby, much like our friend Mario, has never been afraid to offer his own take on different genres — and in Kirby's Dream Course, the puff ball takes on the world-renowned sport of mini golf. Unlike other pitch and putt games, such as EA’s Zany Golf on Mega Drive / Genesis, Kirby has a few tricks up his sleeve. To destroy enemies in your path you roll into them rather than sucking them up, and predictably you can steal their special abilities, which will be familiar to fans of the series: there's the umbrella, spike ball, rock and more. Yes folks, this is still the Kirby we know and love.
The isometric view works really well and still looks great even today. The different levels all have their own look and there's a lot of variety. The gameplay isn’t shallow either. Factors like where you hit Kirby, force, angle, obstacles and the enemies all have to be taken into consideration. There's a handy zoom function to help you plan your stroke, but this game is no pushover. You're going to need a bit of practice to progress through the many courses.
Every shot you attempt eats up one of Kirby's four hit points, and if Kirby runs out of hit points or flies out of bounds, you lose one of your three lives. You recover one hit point by knocking away certain enemies and by sinking Kirby into the hole, so there's quite a lot of incentive to eliminate the bad guys, as well as finish the hole in as few shots as possible. But doing so is no small accomplishment; the size and layout of each hole make it easy to quickly run out of hit points.
The two player mode is a fun addition to the game. It’s a race to get the bonus stars and sink Kirby into the cup. The added element of strategy is that you can attack your opponent with the stolen powers to snag the victory. Priceless!
Kirby’s Dream Course is definitely worth checking out. The eight worlds won't take too long to complete, but the perfectionist in you will be nagging you to keep tweaking your game to get the gold medals. This isn't easy to do, so there's certainly value for money to be found if you putt in the effort!