"20 Years and Kirby Still Sucks (Enemies)"
Twenty years ago, a round little ball with stubby arms and feet and a penchant for voraciously consuming all who opposed him entered the gaming scene… yes, you know who I am talking about. Twenty years ago, Kirby arrived on the NES. Through the years and consoles, the little pink ball (who was once white) has made a name for himself among Nintendo's impressive roster of characters.
It is these two decades of swallowing, spitting, hovering, and copying that are celebrated this year with Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition, a Wii anthology celebrating the series as a whole, while giving fans a chance to relive the early days of the franchise.
The meat of Kirby's Dream Collection consists of the first six of Kirby's platformers: Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby Super Star, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. All of the games are here in their entirety, and they provide an interesting and fun look at how the series began and evolved throughout the 90s and across multiple systems.
While the series' platforming gameplay remains pretty much the same throughout, each game comes with its own unique spin. Whether it be the original Dream Land's lack of Kirby's trademark copy powers (and Adventure's introduction of them), Dream Land 2's inclusion of animal partners who enhance Kirby's powers, Super Star's novel "multiple games in one" approach and the ability to turn a copy power into a computer-or-player-controlled partner, or 64's ability to combine two abilities into a more powerful one, each game plays differently from the others (Dream Land 3 is pretty much the exception, as its neat visuals are its main standout).
Of course, neither the games nor their unique features would matter much if Kirby's copy abilities were not inherently fun to play with. But these games haven't been fondly remembered for nothing. That is to say, the powers, from the more regular powers like the standard Cutter and Fire to more unique abilities, are all a blast to play with. Super Star's Yo-Yo ability, for instance, made me feel like the epitome of 90s hip. Even the more obscure and seemingly useless abilities (Broom Kirby? Really?) get a boost thanks to Dream Land 2 and 3's partner system.
If there is one thing I can say against the games in Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition is that they tend to be rather lacking in challenge and difficulty most of the time (Kirby 64, in particular, felt a lot easier than the first time I played it back in 2000). However, being as the series has always been designed towards beginners and less hardcore gamers, this should hardly be a problem for longtime fans. Just don't go in expecting a severe challenge.
The six classic Kirby titles may be what make up the majority of Kirby's Dream Collection, but the extras are definitely not worth skipping out on. Outside of the game is a mode filled with all sorts of challenges. These challenges are based on the ones found in last year's Kirby's Return to Dream Land, in that players use a set copy ability to reach the end of a stage in the fastest time possible whilst accumulating points by collecting coins and defeating foes. The challenge mode also comes with the addition of new "Magolor Races", which pits players against Magolor, the bad guy from that game, in a hectic race to the finish line.
Rounding off the extras of Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition is a bonus section containing a timeline of Kirby's history, which, along with featuring descriptions and digital box art recreations for every single game in the series, includes videos showing off gameplay for every game. It may not be as interesting as the main games and the bonus challenges, but the history section provides fans with an easily accessible hub for all things they want to know about the games in which Kirby has starred throughout the years.
With six whole classic games, a slew of bonus challenges, and 20 years of history to discover, Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition has something for all Kirby fans: a chance to rediscover the early days of the pink puffball, and an opportunity to celebrate the franchise's 20th birthday in style. Sure, the games and the challenges may be on the easy side, but that only makes it easier for gamers of any skill set to come in and discover the joy of Kirby.
Besides, who wouldn't want to be able to play as Yo-Yo Kirby? That is classic stuff, man.
GameDynamo's Score for Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition (Wii)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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