Review: Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES)

Kirby for beginners

Kirby's Dream Land 3 obviously had a lot to live up to - It was released not long after the amazing Kirby Super Star (Kirby's Fun Pak in Europe), which is still regarded as the greatest Kirby game ever.

The game returns to the gameplay from the second Dream Land game for Game Boy - It's got rather standard Kirby platforming, but you can get aid from sidekicks if you need. Simply make your way through every stage, defeating a boss at the end of every world. Each of the five worlds has six regular stages and a boss stage.

When you first play Dream Land 3 the first thing you'll probably notice will be the graphics - The game has a unique visual style, featuring characters, objects and backgrounds that appear to have been drawn by crayons. Although some people might use the age-old arguement that this looks "kiddy", it actually looks really good - Which really should be expected of a game released in 1997, after the Nintendo 64 was already out!

If you've played either of the previous two Kirby's Dream Land games or Kirby's Adventure you will know exactly what to do - Suck in enemies with your amazingly powerful mouth, copy their power (If they have one) and use it for yourself. Powers can be "combined" in this game, but it doesn't work like in Kirby 64, where you could combine them with other powers - Here, if you have a power and are currently riding on (Or in!) a companion, they will gain a unique attack. For example, while normally Kirby would shoot boomerangs straight forward with the Cutter ability, if you've got Nago the Cat at your side, they will be shot diagonally upwards. Every power works differently with every companion, so it can be fun to experiment and see what works best for you.

Unfortunately, while the graphics and gameplay (For the most part) are great, the game is lacking severely in other things - Almost all of the music just sounds off, with almost no classic Kirby songs even being in the game. The gameplay is also noticably slower than it is in other Kirby games - Even while running, Kirby moves at a snail's pace. Maybe this was the reason the game wasn't released in Europe - With a 50Hz conversion it would've been almost unplayable!

One of the biggest problems, however, is the lack of difficulty - You might think I'm just overreacting, but this is one of the most insultingly easy Nintendo games ever made. Kirby can take 8 (!) hits before dying, and his life bar can actually be extended even further. On top of that, 1ups and health items can be found literally everywhere, and you can collect star shards strewn about stages to obtain extra bonus 1ups! The enemies and bosses also seem to have softened up from the other games, because not only are there fewer, they also don't seem as aggressive.

The only actual "challenge" comes in the form of hearts - You can obtain a heart in every level by beating it under certain conditions. This can range from not treading on any flowers to finishing the level with a certain sidekick. Getting a heart in every single stage will allow you to fight the true final boss (Again much like in Kirby 64), but sadly, even he won't really offer a challenge.


Kirby's Dream Land 3 could've easily been a great game - It mostly relies on exactly the same things that made the previous Kirby games so good, but for some reason HAL decided to drastically change the gameplay by making it too slow and too easy. Diehard Kirby fans will no doubt get some enjoyment out of this title, but it isn't very hard to see why it's usually considered the worst Kirby game together with Kirby 64. If you look at Kirby 64 and this game's credits you'll see why - Kirby's creator, Masahiro Sakurai, didn't work on either.

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