Retro Review: Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (SNES)

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Many years ago, the first Kirby game I ever played was Kirby Super Star on the SNES. I enjoyed that game so much, I wanted to absorb everything Kirby. I no longer remember what order I played most of the rest of the Kirby games, but one of the next ones I played was Kirby’s Dream Land 3 for the SNES. At the time I thought Dream Land 3 was a weaker Kirby game than Kirby Super Star. While I still think that to this day, I still feel like taking a look back at and review Kirby’s Dream Land 3.

To start, Kirby’s Dream Land 3 might be an overlooked game. It was one of the last games released on SNES in the United States, being released over a year after the Nintendo 64 was already available. So while most players were moving onto a console capable of 3D graphics, this game was one of the last released on a console that featured mostly 2D gaming.

KirbyDreamLand3Animal
A look at the gameplay of Dream Land 3. Notice the animal friend that is helping Kirby.

Particularly odd about this game was the unique art style it used. Much of the game looked like it was hand drawn in crayon. Despite that, the look was fairly detailed, and made it stand out against most games released in the history of video games. In addition, the music is wonderfully dreamlike, and suits the series well.

Now we should look at the gameplay. Like earlier Kirby games, this is a 2D platformer where your main means of attack is to inhale enemies, and then to spit them out at other foes, or to eat them and gain their powers. One of the reasons I didn’t like this game in comparison to Kirby Super Star was the fact that each copy power only had one action per power in Dream land 3. Kirby Super Star was more fun due to each power having multiple actions based on different button inputs. That being said, Dream Land 3 is still a fun game to run through, and has a few features that most other Kirby games don’t.

Of note are the animal friends that Kirby can ride. While three of them return from Dream Land 2, three more are added in this game too. Each one moves differently, and if you have a copy power at the same time, that animal friend will change the attack that you get to use. They are often used to make traveling in certain environments a little more handy, but most of them have worse range of movement than Kirby does.

In addition, there is an option for a second player to drop in and out of play at any time. With the quick press of a button, Kirby can summon his friend Gooey, who is either computer controlled, or can be used by the second player. What is strange about this option is that calling Gooey will reduce Kirby’s health by 2 points, and having Kirby eat Gooey restores Kirby’s health by 2. Since calling Gooey doesn’t ever kill Kirby, you can call Gooey when at 1 or 2 health and eat him to get to 3 health. In most situations, you can avoid dying with this trick.

KirbyDreamLand3Heart
You get this heart star by not crushing the flowers in this level.

The last feature to point out is the main collectible in the game called heart stars. You need to do something special in each level to gather them. You may need to avoid crushing all flowers, find an object, or get to the end of the stage with a specific animal friend to get these rare items.

I’d imagine that any player that goes through the game the first time would miss most if not all of these items, as the puzzles you have to solve are very cryptic. Yes the game does give off a chime to indicate that there is a puzzle, and a chime if you get it right, but most players might not notice it, or realize what they are for without a guide, or reading the original manual that lets the player know that they are in the game. You then have to defeat the boss of the world to purify the bosses and face the real final battle.

KirbyDreamLand3Map
Get all the heart stars in a world to purify the boss.

Overall, I found this game to be short, yet fun to run through. Kirby’s movements are quite fluid, and can make this game neat to speed run. Is this game perfect? No, but at least there is a fair amount of joy once you realize it isn’t Kirby Super Star. I still like this game, and would recommend it to those who might not have played it. I personally like it the most out of the Kirby games that play this way (as in out of all the Kirby games where each power has only one action). Give it a look, as it comes free with the Nintendo Switch Online subscription through the Super Nintendo Entertainment System app on the Nintendo Switch.

Recommendations:

  • The first time around, play the game normally.
  • Then, gather the heart stars to find the real ending.
  • Play the mini games in the options menu if you liked them. This gets you a new mini game to play if you master them.
  • There is a boss rush mode after finishing the true ending that you can try out if you like. That is about it.

Pros:

  • Neat, crayon-like art style.
  • Calm, dream-like music.
  • Quick, fun action.
  • Has a 2 player option.

Cons:

  • Can only perform 1 attack per copy power or copy power and animal friend combination. (A relative weakness to other Kirby games).
  • Some heart stars are very tricky to find the first time you play.
  • Levels are almost too simple (this is debatable)
  • Game is quite short (another debatable point)

Verdict:

7.9/10 Good, but short and sweet

This game is easily overlooked, but is still worth it for long time Kirby fans. It might not be as fun as many other games in this series, but once you stop comparing it to other games, it can still be quite fun.


And that is what I thought of Kirby’s Dream Land 3. What did you think of this game? Did you like the unique art style? Which heart star gave you the most trouble to find? Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article, then click that like button. To keep up with That’s All Games, you may subscribe via email or through WordPress. Until next time, have fun gaming!

3 thoughts on “Retro Review: Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (SNES)

    1. I believe this is one of those Kirby games on the SNES mini, if I’m not mistaken. This one is not for everyone, but can be good if you don’t compare it too closely to other games in the series.

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      1. Wait, I just looked that up. So Dream Land 3 is a little weaker than Kirby Super Star on the SNES mini. You might not like Dream Land 3 if you didn’t like Kirby Super Star. I personally thought Super Star was the best the SNES had to offer, so you might need to look elsewhere for a good Kirby game.

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