(SNES / Super Nintendo)

Kirby's Dream Land 3 (SNES / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Kirby's Dream Land 3 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Stephen Kelly

Third time's the charming

Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is the epitome of a lovable gaming experience. Carefree and popping with irresistible charm, this SNES platformer builds off the two previous Game Boy entries in the series and fulfills the potential they introduced. That doesn’t mean the core mechanics have suddenly become nuanced or up to par with your Mario and Sonic titles of the day, but boredom is successfully warded off with constant variety, abnormally beautiful artwork, and smiles. Lots of smiles.

If you’ve played just about any Kirby game on the market, your expectations are probably in the right place. There will be platforming of the 2D sort, emphasized by floaty controls and whimsy. Gobbling up bad guys to copy their powers is also in full effect, handing Kirby a huge range of creative abilities on a silver platter. Each tool of the trade is handy for a different situation, and although finding this out for yourself is half the fun, some areas demand certain abilities to gain treasure that's hidden away. It’s possible to stumble through most of the game without exerting a great deal of energy, but paying attention to your surroundings will make it a far smoother ride, not to mention reveal important secrets along the way. All of this this may sound awfully familiar, and it is. In fact, the heroic sphere of pinkness himself is perhaps the least original aspect of Kirby’s Dream Land 3; it’s the animal friends who steal the spotlight, with style to spare.

Kirby has rounded up a bunch of his buddies to gallivant across the countryside fighting evil and—more importantly—enjoying life to its very fullest. He can still clamber onto the backs of Rick the hamster, Coo the owl, and Kine the fish like in the old days of Kirby’s Dream Land 2, but a trio of new faces are introduced as well. Pitch is a pint-sized bird who carts Kirby about by land and air, ChuChu is a feminine octopus who can climb tentacle-over-tentacle from the ceiling, and Nago is a cat of gregarious nature who tends to roll Kirby along the ground as a dung beetle rolls… dung, as it were. But it’s way cuter than that, we swear.

Hopping on and off these friendly compatriots at will is a tactical advantage now at your disposal, allowing you to choose the right friend for the job. Not only do they each possess separate innate skills, but the effects of copy abilities take a sharp turn depending on the chosen character. The Spark power, for example, simply turns Kirby into a stationary ball of electrical energy, damaging enemies that stray too close. ChuChu, on the other hand, fires off wall-bouncing laser beams; Coo bombards the ground beneath him with electricity; and Pitch transforms into a remote-controlled rocket guided by Kirby’s nimble (albeit digit-less) hands. This goes a long, long way to keeping the adventure fresh, and you may very well finish the game without seeing every combination. They’re well worth seeing, too, largely because the happy-go-lucky critters are so adorable.

As the rotund Kirby skips across a pastel landscape riding atop a giant hamster, cotton-white clouds scrolling across a blue sky and flowers dancing in the crayon-inspired hills, smiling isn’t recommended; it’s required. It’s a shame the cheery music doesn’t quite match Kirby standards, but the SNES puts in overtime to deliver a splendid show of colour that rivals Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, which is saying a lot. Every character, every power-up, and every mixture of the two come to life with the most huggable animations you’ll ever see, keeping pace with the always-changing environment. One moment Coo is morphing into a feather duster to stave off cavern spiders and the next Kirby and ChuChu are joyously spinning around on a parasol carousel as the levels shift from horizontal platform hopping, to vertical tower climbing, to screen-scrolling chase scenes. The structure is straight-laced when compared to the amazing grab-bag of Kirby Super Star, and the amusing diversity can’t entirely disguise rudimentary gameplay, but the balance is just right for some breezy good times—and they don’t have to be enjoyed alone.

There’s one more pal we haven’t covered yet: the ever-gelatinous Gooey. This blob-like fellow is essentially a clone of Kirby, and while the troublesome AI will probably just get in your way, another human being can pick up a second controller and join the fray instead. The extra set of eyes are a welcome boon indeed, because each level comes paired with a bonus objectives, often hinted at with more subtlety than you might expect. A flower may want you to spare its brethren from your crushing feet, or perhaps the local janitor needs help sweeping up; save for a few overt mini-games, these challenges will pass you by if you’re not careful, leaving a very sad panda in your wake. You’ll need to fulfill these wishes if you want to fight the final boss and see the true ending, which is an excellent excuse to revisit old stomping grounds.


Kirby’s Dream Land 3 is a worthy sequel, improving and expanding just about every aspect of its handheld predecessors. The leap to home consoles gives it a delightful coat of paint and multiplayer support, both of which have become specialties of the series. What it lacks in compelling gameplay is made up for with buckets of charm supported by a whole lot of variety, perfect for short bursts of playtime with a friend by your side. If another helping of Kirby is what you seek, another helping of Kirby is what you’ll get — and it’s pretty delicious, too.

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User Comments (24)



Ryon said:

The first time I played this game the graphics threw me for a loop, I didnt know what i was looking at , it looks so great, so real and lush. I was baffled. I like this review Because I was really wondering how this version was on VC.



Pianist88 said:

I have always felt that this game was a bit underrated since it lives in the large and intimidating shadow of Kirby Super Star. This review more fairly assesses the game on its own merits rather than simply offering a comparison it to its big brother.



animalzer0 said:

This is my FAVORITE Kirby game! Yes I even like it more than Super Star or Epic Yarn!



ueI said:

I like this review very much. Even though there are better Kirby games, this one can still be enjoyable and got the relatively high score it deserves, unlike some others in the series. I also agree that this game is better than Dream Land 2, which bizarrely scored an 8 on this site.

@The-Chosen-one Get the DS version of Super Star if you can.



Pichuka97 said:

It's a matter of opinion but I prefer Kirby's Adventure or Nightmare in Dream Land over Super Star. Super Star is still a great game though.



TreesenHauser said:

I definitely prefer Super Star to this entry. Out of all the Kirby games, this one's the weaker link in my opinion. It's still a decent game though, considering it was released when the SNES was on the way out.



Rockman said:

We don't get this in te EU... bummer.. still no way for us Europeans to play Dreamland 3 as it never came on cartridge either..



evanescent_hero said:

Superstar is a terrific game, but I actually like Kirby's Return to Dream Land on the Wii the best. It plays a lot like Superstar, but with four-player co-op and more levels. Plus once you beat it you can play through it again with about half your health if you want a challenge!



TheAdza said:

I am a big Kirby fan. I would totally get this if it was coming to PAL regions, Maybe take to Miiverse to see if Nintendo will listen?



bahooney said:

@The-Chosen-one Kirby Super Star has never caught my eye or my attention quite like any other game in the series. Best? Kirby 64. Second best? Kirby's Adventure.



Kirbybrawl said:

The music and art of this game is fantastic but i couldnt get into it especially after super star. Id say kirbys return to dreamland is the second best kirby platformer.



Megumi said:

So glad I found out about this special Kirby deal on the eShop, this is the only game I don't own. Already have the other two, so I got this one for free. (and only for $3 too.) :3



TromaDogg said:

@Rockman It's been available on the European Wii Virtual Console service since 24th July 2009 (which you can still download games from), it's just not available on the European WII U Virtual Console....yet.



Williaint said:

I got this game for SNES, hoping it would be on Par with Superstar....
It may not have been, but it was a pretty good game. My favourite is Pitch's Spark attack...
There are so many fun combinations, I still go back because I've forgotten some of them!!
Now, back to Kirby's Dream Course!



allav866 said:

@ecco6t9 If a Kirby game should be made for the 3DS, it should be a Dream Land 4! I'd love to see Gooey and all the others return for a new game, along with a couple new animals for more wacky power combinations!



Megumi said:

I dunno...I can't decide which style they should go with for a 3DS Kirby game...Dreamland 3 style or just go Returns to Dreamland style. (3D models, very similar gameplay to Superstar, blah blah blah)

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