Kirby is back! I love this air-sucking, sometimes-floating pink ball with a can-do attitude that just turned 20 years old. If you don’t know a lot about Kirby, I suggest you check out what will probably be the final Wii game before Wii U console comes out: Kirby’s Dream Collection.
LEARN AND PLAY
|KIRBY’S DREAM COLLECTION: SPECIAL EDITION
(Nintendo for Wii)
Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older
Replay Value: 8.0
Pros: Six great Kirby games; excellent small book; some new, extra levels.
Cons: There should be more games and cartoons.
When you turn on the game (which features six different games), you’ll find a fascinating timeline of all things Kirby. The developers at Nintendo make the experience kind of like strolling through the halls of a Nintendo museum. Click on a year and you’ll see what happened to Kirby and to the real world in general. It’s really smartly done.
To play, you’ll turn the Wiimote sideways. There’s no shaking of the controller as in Kirby’s Epic Yarn. You just use the buttons on the controller to play the game.
You might say, “Hey, two of these games are for the Game Boy, and why would I play something in black and white? That’s too old school for me, especially in this day and age.”
But if you say this, you’ll be missing out on some great gameplay.
OLD SCHOOL IS COOL SCHOOL
Kirby’s Dreamland has a design that’s so challenging, it’ll keep you coming back for more and more. And the black-and-white palette actually lends a spooky quality to Dreamland.
Kirby’s Dreamland is just a joy to play. You might think a character with three simple moves would make for a boring game. All you have to do is inhale, spit and fly. But inhaling your foe is really fun, especially when you spit him out to take down another bad guy.
And early in the game when you meet that weird tree monster called Wispy Woods, you have to inhale falling apples and spit them at the tree to get past it. When you’re done, the signature carnival music plays, and Kirby does his victory dance.
Kirby Super Star features eight games in one. Back in 1996 when the game first came out, it was a big deal to choose your level of difficulty and play with a friend in co-op mode. Here, Kirby can try on different outfits and be a cook or a ninja. In The Great Cave Offensive, Kirby travels to environments that you usually see in the worlds of Mario and Zelda. (By the way, did you know that Kirby made an appearance in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening?)
By the time Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards came out, Nintendo was experimenting with 3D, but not the 3DS kind. This just meant more depth to the game than what a sidescroller like Dreamland provided. So you had to move all around Wispy Woods to defeat it and its minion, not just shoot it from one side to the other.
While the graphics were some of the best seen on the Nintendo 64 system, powerups like Kirby turning into a refrigerator and getting to control King Dedede are highlights of some really imaginative game play. To this day, it’s still a terrific game.
NEW STUFF, TOO
Finally, Nintendo has added some new levels to the collection. They’re just as hard, if not harder, than any Kirby game you’ve ever played.
Also included in this collection package is a CD of 45 songs, a few episodes from the Kirby cartoon series and a 46-page paperback book that is stuffed with fun Kirby facts. (For instance, did you know that Kirby originally was called Popopo?) These are extras you won’t get if you choose to buy some Kirby games via the Virtual Console store.
It would have been really satisfying if all the Kirby games had been included in the collection. But that’s asking too much. Still, I would’ve loved to have seen Kirby Tilt ’n Tumble in the box. My wish list would also include Kirby Pinball, one of the hardest, most fascinating pinball games ever devised. Just try the table with Kracko, and you’ll see what I mean.
But now is the time for the Wii U, and my Nintendo sources say a new Kirby offering is already in development. We may see it by this time next year. But if you really want to get a good grasp on what made Kirby what he is today, you’ll treasure the release of this special package as much as I do.