Kirby’s Dream Land

kirbys dream land box art game boy
7.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Controls: 8/10

Kirby's start!

Kirby was never my favorite, very short

Game Info

Game Name: Kirby’s Dream Land

Developer(s):  HAL Laboratory

Publisher(s):  Nintendo

Platform(s):  Game Boy/Switch

Genre(s):  Platformer

Release Date(s): April 27, 1992 (Japan)/August 1, 1992 (US)

ESRB Rating:  K-A

kirbys dream land screenshot game boy switch tree boss

The classic tree enemy

King Dedede and his minions have raided Dream Land!  Having taken all the Sparkling Stars and food from the people, King Dedede has established himself as ruler of the world.  It is up to a young Dream Lander named Kirby to liberate his people and defeat King Dedede and his forces.  Does Kirby have the power to free the people and restore the land?

Kirby’s Dream Land (Hoshi no Kâbî) is a HAL Laboratory and Nintendo platformer game.  The game was initially released for the Nintendo Game Boy in  and received positive reviews.  The game has since been included in multiple collections (including the Kirby’s Dream Collection from 2012) and is included as part of the Nintendo Switch Game Boy simulator.

With well-established characters like Mario, Link, and Samus Aran (aka Metroid), Nintendo was always one to realize the potential of character driven games.  Kirby’s Dream Land was the first of a series of games starring Kirby which has stretched from 1992 to today…and Kirby’s Dream Land introduces him.

kirbys dream land screenshot game boy boss cloud

Eye See You!

The gameplay for the game is rather simple.  Kirby can jump, fly, and swallow his enemies as he makes his way around the whimsy world of Dream Land.  The side scrolling adventure is composed of four worlds and four bosses that Kirby must defeat to reach King Dedede’s world and King Dedede.  Finishing the game unlocks a more difficult second version of the game which ups the challenge, but for the most part, Kirby is a game you breeze through in less than an hour.

Kirby is less developed in this entry, and the other enemies are also bland.  He is always a bit difficult to handle and control (in my opinion) and this game hasn’t added Kirby’s ability to absorb the enemies he encounters.  Instead, Kirby just sucks up the enemy and spits them out.  Occasionally Kirby will find food which allows him to shoot fire, but for the most part the battle is mostly vacuuming up enemies and spitting them back.  The bosses in the game include the classic tree, a blob cloud, and oddly Lolo and Lala from The Adventures of Lolo (where they were never villains).  The game also dips into Super Mario Bros. 2 for some of the enemies which is interesting because that game was supposed to exist in a dream.

kirbys dream land screenshot game boy king dedede final boss

King Dedede will rule!

The graphics for the game are what can be expected from Game Boy, but seeing Game Boy on modern TV as part of the Switch is a lot clearer than they ever were if the hand-held was used.  The design on Kirby is fine along with enemies, but I always felt the level design and use of screen space in Kirby games was lacking.

Of the major Nintendo “spokesmen”, Kirby has always been my least favorite (though he is a pretty good fighter in Smash Bros.).  I keep trying Kirby games in the hopes they will be better, but Kirby often leaves me a bit flat.  Kirby is built to be more accessible to the casual gamer and the games often are quite simple (this one included).  It is worth playing for a quick ride for fans of the franchise, and it definitely isn’t a commitment.  Kirby floats on with his next game Kirby’s Adventure which was released on the NES in 1993 but Kirby returned for Kirby’s Dream Land 2 in 1995.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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