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SummaryA cross-genre game with truly innovative gameplay and great replay value
The GoodKirby's dream course offers a level of mathematical strategy that is generally reserved for challenging puzzle games. One must plan well in advance, accounting not just for shot levels and spin, but also how the special abilities gained from the 'enemies' will come into play. The game's capacity for befuddling your expectations is almost limitless. At the same time, the game incorporates traditional video game challenges, each shot involving precise timing, and several abilities, like 'tornado,' involve steering an unwieldy Kirby. The result is an extremely deep game that tends to draw its players in from the very beginning. 'Beating' the game completely takes a lot of time, as one has to get a 'gold' medal on each course to unlock a whole other 1st player adventure. That aside, the two-player mode offers an endless avenue of entertainment.
The BadThe aesthetics of the game are, like all Kirby games, childish and cartoony. This probably puts off a lot of people who have built up an aversion to such things since childhood. The style also can wear thing after hours of gameplay - yes, Dream Course can easily draw one in for hours. Just give it a try.
However, one should not underestimate the game's capacity to make its players laugh. The design very much influences how funny it is when you launch yourself after using the 'tornado' ability into a kracko, or when you 'fire' your opponent in two player.
There is little to critique about the gameplay. If one plays long enough, one can find a way to ace almost every hole in the game, at which point, one merely has to get the timings right. However, acquiring such knowledge takes a very long time, and even after completely beating the one player mode, the two player mode continues to offer a good time.
The Bottom LineKirby's Dream Course is a mesh between a Kirby game, where one fights his way through levels, acquiring powerups by defeating different enemies - and a golf game, where one times moving bars to determine the strength and trajectory of a shot. The two concepts are combined by Kirby using himself as the 'golf ball,' and propelling himself at a layout of stationary enemies on a given 'hole.'
In two player mode, two Kirbys compete to get the most enemies and to get in the hole first. Whoever gets in the whole first, gets to start the next hole, a considerable advantage. The two players can also use the abilities gained from the enemies against each other, generally with hilarious/aggravating consequences.
Kirby's Dream Course is a game from a classic console that has lost very little of its original appeal over the years. The level of strategy and geometric reasoning required to master it far eclipses many games being created today. It is a classic arcade experience, with a static, faux 3D perspective, but it is also a solid mental challenge. The best video games ever made tend to be immediately intoxicating and very simply fun to play - while also being deep enough for the player, once experienced, to play for many hours. Kirby's Dream Course is definitely such an experience and is too often overlooked in the halls of fame of gaming aficionados.