Mario is the leader of the Free Video Game World. He is the most commercially successful video game character of all time, and leads the best selling video game franchise of all time (including several different subseries set within the same universe, all equally best selling). And he has just been shown up a pink puff ball named Kirby.
In celebration for Kirby's 20th anniversary, Nintendo has published "Kirby's Dream Collection", an anthology of six Kirby games, including exclusive new content. At this point you are either a Kirby fan or not. If you don't like Kirby nothing here will change your mind. But for those Kirby fans this is a Godsend. Kirby was originally a stand in until the developers could come up with a more sophisticated character design when they made the first "Dream Land" game, but they got so attached to the little puff they decided to keep him. And that's Kirby's appeal for even the "mature" games. There is something irascibly attractive about the character.
In every way, shape, and form, "Kirby's Dream Collection" trumps the rather insipid "Super Mario 25th Anniversary Edition" Nintendo released in 2010 for the Wii. The "Super Mario" collection was simply the SNES ROM of "Super Mario All-Stars" thrown onto a Wii disk with no updates whatsoever. They didn't even update the SNES controllers represented graphically in the game itself and there's so much wasted storage space on that disk it should be criminal. I love "All-Stars" and bought the game, but as far as an Anniversary celebrating the biggest name in Video Gaming (and Nintendo's single most valuable character), the results were underwhelming to say the least. It's even better than the "Mega Man Collection" from 2004, released on the Gamecube, Playstation 2, and original XBOX. Unfortunately Nintendo did not issue a disk like this in celebration of "The Legend of Zelda" either. If they can put Gameboy titles on a Wii disk, then they can release the Oracle games! "Skyward Sword" did reference the twenty-fifth anniversary as did "Super Mario 3D Land" in level 5-3. Apparently Iwata and Miyamoto did not want to release a "Zelda" compilation because Mario had just gotten one, for whatever sense that makes.
NEW CONTENT: There are new challenge stages (13 in total), based on the Wii "Kirby's Return to Dreamland". These Challenge stages are just that: challenging and also quite fun. The Museum section details the various games released staring Kirby. There are also three episodes from the Kirby anime "Kirby: Right Back At Ya!" ("Waddle While you Work, Kirby Comes to Cappy Town, " and "Crusade for the Blade"). There is also a 48 page book included covering Kirby's history and is also an activity book. Note that one of the answers (Cupid Kirby) on the quiz on Page 28 in incorrect. Also some of the art work has been updated.
CONTROLS: You can play the anthology with the Wii Remote, a Gamecube Controller (with those who have the older model Wiis that support Gamecube Functionality) and the Wii Classic Controller. My recommendation is to use the Classic Controller for the SNES and 64 titles.
SOUNDTRACK: There are forty five tracks from 16 different Kirby games. Much, much better than the palty 28 minute CD included in the "Super Mario" Anniversary collection, which consisted of a handful of songs and a good deal of actual sound effects from the series.
As other reviewers have noted all games use save state technology, so if you decided to stop a game for whatever reason, you can return to it at the same spot later on. This is great news for the games that originally had no save functions.
The only real noticeable flaw is that of omission of one key title that should have been included. Notably, the collection is missing "Kirby and the Amazing Mirror", a Gameboy Advanced title currently available only to 3DS Ambassadors who bought their 3DS before the price cut. This is one of the best Kirby titles and quite extensive, being a "Metroidvania" type game. It's a real shame that they didn't include that game, as it's probably my favorite of the Kirby series. Although there are several spin-off games not included, "Kirby and the Amazing Mirror" is the most puzzling omission from the Collection, as it's easily one of Kirby's strongest games and is no longer available commercially. I'm actually docking the collection a star due to not including this game, it's that good!
At this point, I will go over the individual games, as well as the spin-off games that weren't included, and then end the review with the official tracklisting for the Soundtrack that's also included with the game and the 13 challenge levels. There's a lot of info there and the review is rather long, so if you want to skip those sections I understand. For Kirby fans they will already know the games. For new comers you may find the blurbs educational and helpful on informing your decision to purchase this or not.
Bottom line: Buy this for the Kirby fan in your life! And if you never played a Kirby game, pick this up and see what you've been missing all these years! For those looking for a great compilation this is the one to get! And it shows hope: maybe Nintendo is on the path and will figure out this Anniversary collection after all, given how badly they botched Mario's anniversary. With only one glaring omission (not including the Gameboy Advance "Kirby and the Amazing Mirror", arguably one of his best games), this collection does everything right that Mario got wrong.
Like any good anthology, the stars of the overall package are the games themselves, and here they are:
"Kirby's Dreamland": Kirby's debut, and probably the only Gameboy title ever available to play on the WIi itself. Rather basic compared to subsequent installments, "Kirby's Dreamland" is a rather charming platformer from the early 1990s. Although many of the series' conventions get their start right here, Kirby's famous copy ability doesn't show up until the next game. Originally there was no save in this title.
"Kirby's Adventure": released in May of 1993 (the penultimate year of the NES's lifespan), this platforming game is Kirby's only NES release and also the first appearance of the popular Metal Knight and Kirby's copy ability. The game features seven different worlds and several boss fights. Kirby must collect the seven fragments of the Star Rod to return order to the Fountain of Dreams so others may dream again. Graphically, this is one of the best NES titles, featuring quasi 3D backgrounds and parallax scrolling. The game was 6 megabytes, one of the largest NES titles ever released in terms of memory. As a late generation NES title, like "Little Samson", "Duck Tales 2" and "Little Nemo: Dream Master" this is one of the key titles from this era of the NES's lifespan. Unfortunately (myself included), many gamers missed this title when it was first released, having moved onto the SNES and Sega Genesis. The game has also been released back in 2007 on the Wii's Virtual Console. The game does have a save feature.
"Kirby's Dreamland 2": Kirby's second Gameboy appearance, this game builds on the previous two titles, as well as including three new playable animal characters (think of the four playable characters from the NES "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse". Kirby can jump, swim, fly, and inhale his enemies for to shoot as projectiles or to eat and heal himself. The three new characters are Kine the Ocean Sunfish who carries Kirby on the swimming levels even against harsh currents (but isn't good, naturally, onland), Rick the Hampster who Kirby rides and who doesn't slip on the ice, Coo the Owl who navigates harsh winds and allows Kirby to inhale on the flying stages. The Super Gameboy version includes limited color and each stage has a specific color theme. The version on the disk is the regular Gameboy title.
"Kirby's Super Star": released in 1996, this was one of the last SNES titles released and also has had a DS remake called "Kirby's Super Star Ultra". The game comprises eight smaller games. "Spring Breeze" is a simplified remake of the original Gameboy "Dream Land". "Dyna Balde" is a four level platforming game where Kirby must battle a giant bird that is disrupting Dreamland's crops. "Gourmet Race" is a simple racing game (and probably the least substantial mini-game here). Kirby must collect treasures in a cave in the "The Great Cake Offensive" . Some of the treasures are winking nods to other Nintendo IPs, such as Captain Falcon's Helment, Mr. Saturn, the Screw Attack from Metroid, and the Triforce which is of course Zelda religious artifact pivotal to that series. Kirby must battle the Meta Knight's battleship in "Revenge of the Meta Knight" . "Milky Way Wishs" is the largest game in "Kirby Super Star", where Kirby must travel through nine different planets to battle evil. "The Arena" is an endurance challenge where Kirby must fight all the bosses from the various other games (a total of 26 boss battles spread across 19 stages).
"Kirby's Dreamland 3" is the second SNES title and third "Dream Land" tile, released within a year of "Super Star". Abandoning many of the game play conventions of "Super Star", "Dream Land 3" is based heavily on the first two "Dream Land" titles; as a result, critics were harsh on the game for not utilizing the conventions established in "Super Star". For those who like the original Gameboy titles and NES title you'll love this, though playing this after playing "Super Star" does make you feel that the series was regressing backwards. This was the last first party game released for the SNES.
"Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards": in the era of 3D obsession, "The Crystal Shards" along with "Yoshi's Story" is one of the very few 2D platformers (in this case, 2. Read more ›