Jumper Shoot, Yuki, Blocky, and.... ?
Kirbys Dreamland 3 was one of the last games on the snes, and what a fantastic note to go out on, it was. Though i felt some frustration playing I still find myself thinking about this game more than most others in the series. Visually, mechanically, and emotionally, it is a very distinct game in the Kirby line that has a feeling to it i dont get from the other games. My favorite thing about Kirby in general is the sense of love despite little to no words being said. How Kirby loves his friends and his planet, the creatures around him, how a lack of that care is shown through the dark and alien-like Zero whose lonely influence corrupts things in its path. Watching the animal friends i have grown to care so much about surrounding Kirby and Gooey as they go to face off against Zero feels very powerful, and i really adore that through the underlying feeling of dread this game presents sometimes, there are also countless moments of bonding with a cast that left me feeling more attached with them than i do playing a game with dialogue.
On the subject of the animal friends, they are absolutely the life of the game. There is no greater drive to get through a level than knowing that at some point youre going to get to ride Rick around or have Nago smash your face into the ground as a rock 5000 times. Mechanically, it is a very smart idea to have these animals have their own versions of Kirby's copy abilities. Theres only around 6 or so in the game, but with your friends it feels like much more than that. Even though i have 100% completed this game twice, i know for sure that theres combinations with them i havent tried yet and things i havent seen. Everything about them is so charming, i love their spirte work and how alive they feel. I will never not feel bad for leaving Kine behind with the face he makes, really just adore these guys.
And visually, Dreamland 3 is one of the best looking games on the snes. All Kirby games have a strong sense of style, but the penciled look of this game is so unique and feels inseparable from its identity. Each area has its own theme that also functions as a gameplay mechanic, water levels and playing in the clouds and all that. What is very impressive is the side missions you have to set out on in order to beat the game proper, helping the inhabitants of planet Popstar by bringing them their friends or just simply having the courtesy to not crush them while progressing through the level. Most feel like a new way to experience the stage, and while some can be very difficult i feel like the concept in general is very sweet and fun.
For a game made in 1997 i feel as though it holds up relatively well, especially with its co-op which is very seamless for the time, but there are a few things i would change. If i could just instantly run without having to double tap the d pad, that would basically flatten out all the frustrations i had while playing. I also wish there was an easier way to gain back health than running through the first level again, but that can be managed. Difficulty wise, this is definitely the hardest game in the entire series and to be honest i probably struggled with it more than i did with most Fromsoft titles just due to the limited movement and the obscurity of the level missions. It is not a good Kirby game to start with for sure, but it is a highlight of the series that i care about a lot.
I love gooey, i love kirby, i love dedede even when hes possesed and has a weird hitbox. There is no greater joy than hopping around in Kine or bouncing on an umbrella with Nago. Even if the levels are tough i think everything else about the game makes up for that plenty, adds to its idenity even. Lots of poor opinions on this game so i thought i would show it the proper respect it deserves, a game with Rick in it cannot be bad. Have a nice day, and make sure not to step on any flowers...