Kirby's Dreamland 3DS review

  • Easy to jump into every time
  • Catchy, memorable soundtrack
  • Hard mode aids replayability
  • Very short, like 30 minutes if you're good
  • No usual Kirby powers or abilities
  • No secrets or exploration incentive

Price: $3.99
Size: 34 blocks
First released: August 1992

Before he could swallow enemies and copy their powers, Kirby was a fairly unremarkable puffball. In this inaugural game that kicked off one of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, Kirby lacks his usual Mega Man-like trait and instead attacks by sucking down baddies and spitting them back out (or “right back at ya,” as the cartoon said). He can also blow out a bit of air as a short-range projectile, but in general, this is a far less capable Kirby than you’re probably used to.

That said, the game itself is still a joy to play after all these years. The levels are straightforward and easy, making this a fun, relaxing game that still has a bit more content to it than a similarly priced iPhone app. Even newcomers could blow through its four side-scrolling levels in 30 minutes, and experienced players could shave even more time off. So yeah, it’s short and easy, but there’s also a hard mode that, as you may expect, makes the game substantially more difficult and worth a second play through.

Brevity is actually one of Dreamland’s biggest strengths. The quick trip through each smartly designed, bouncily active level is so soothing it could probably register as a genuine stress reliever, and the impressive soundtrack makes the experience even more enjoyable. I’ve gone through it about three times since its 3DS launch, and will likely play it even more as the year wears on – it’s one of those simple games that has no barrier for entry and is pleasing each time through. However, there isn’t much in the way of secrets or replay incentives (other than the aforementioned pleasant feelings), so if you’re hoping for Mario-like exploration or surprises, they’re not here.

Above: The credits music, probably the best song in the game

It’s also worthwhile as a historical note, as this is not just Kirby’s first appearance, but also the only time he’s been white instead of the traditional pink. Even though his creator (Smash Bros’ Masahiro Sakurai) intended Kirby to be pink, the US box art (which is portrayed in the 3DS eShop) depicts him as white, in keeping with the black and white graphics of the original Game Boy. So you have a white, non-power-absorbing Kirby – really strange to think about in 2011.

Jul 12, 2011

More Info

Release date: Jun 30 2011 - 3DS (US)
Jun 27 2011 - 3DS (UK)
Available Platforms: 3DS, Game Boy
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: HAL
Franchise: Kirby


  • BodyDamage - July 13, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    this is one of my favorite old games. i played the SHIT out of this, which eventually led me to the NES one, which is one of my favorite games of all time.
  • Yahcoo - July 13, 2011 9:31 a.m.

    It's funny that and i quote "non-power-absorbing Kirby – really strange to think about in 2011." even though you can't absorb powers in his newest installment Kirby's epic yarn.
  • bl00dyvalen7ine - July 13, 2011 7:31 a.m.

    UP SELECT B still work?
  • Ariaka - July 13, 2011 5:05 a.m.

    I got this game from a friend when I was 9 or so. I love every second of it, even now. It's short, sweet, but beautiful, even if lacking its successor's features (like eating enemies to gain powers.)
  • metroid2099400 - July 13, 2011 3:02 a.m.

    @Kilburn474: Thanks alot for that info. I've looked at videos of both, but nothing compares to actually playing the games, or at least hearing from someone who has. I'd heard that SML was a bit weird for a Mario game, but not that the controls were also off. I think I'll go for Kirby's Dreamland, as it seems like a nice game that's fun and relaxing to play.
  • fatdog12300 - July 13, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    I's get this, but my 3ds has like $4.07 on it, since money is put onto the thing w/o tax, yet the games still have taxes, so the price would be too high.
  • UsernameLoser - July 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.

    Can we expect a LADX and SML review?
  • MySistersMenstruationTastesFunny - July 12, 2011 11:26 p.m.

    tl;dr But when the hell was Kirby EVER a popular franchise?
  • Weirdjedi - July 12, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    I still have this game on the Game Boy! Amazing. This game rules. I remember trying to beat it before being called up in the waiting room. Also did hard mode too.
  • Kilburn474 - July 12, 2011 10:07 p.m.

    @ metroid2099400 While i bought and finished Super Mario Land twice since the eShop launched, it has some big differences and frustrations. Look up some gameplay vids if you have to, but the jumping physics are REALLY wonky and that's a turn off for me. Plus, SOME of the music is just... Off.
  • metroid2099400 - July 12, 2011 9:43 p.m.

    @Brett: I'm really thinking about getting Link's Awakening DX and another VC game for my 3DS (along with Cave Story, which would round out my $20 card). Would you recommend this over Super Mario Land?
  • UserUnknown - July 12, 2011 9:29 p.m.

    Hell, for 4 bucks i'd give it a shot
  • BackwaterRifle - July 12, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    Basically what I got out of this review was Kirby's Dreamland is ecstasy.
  • DaveGoose - July 12, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    Good review, thanks Brett!
  • Daruniah - July 12, 2011 8:53 p.m.

    It was strange to read this review and see a 7 at the bottom.
  • ChiChiRocket - July 12, 2011 8:31 p.m.

    Man, I used to think Dedede was the hardest boss ever back in the day.
  • db1331 - July 12, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    I thought they already did Link's Awakening...
  • bigwill1221 - July 12, 2011 8:04 p.m.

    Is this a troll review?..
  • Nap1400 - July 12, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    So, you guys are reviewing VC games now? Could you do Link's Awakening DX next? Oh, and I'm calling it: This game is better than Halo: Reach.
  • yetanotherCid304 - July 12, 2011 7:44 p.m.

    my first gameboy game!!!!! so many memories...(sheads tear)

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000